Honey, as we all know it, is a natural sweetener that our favorite cartoon bear loves to relish in. Apart from being a delicious treat, though, it's also widely known for its many health benefits and medicinal purposes. And if that weren't enough already, honey also has a slew of skin care benefits as well.
Honey can be found in all types of skincare products, from exfoliants and cleansers to body lotions and face masks. It's one of those natural ingredients that plays nice with all skin types and other active ingredients, making it the perfect addition to any skincare routine. What's more, even if you don't want to purchase another product, you can still use raw honey on your skin to get results.
To understand more about honey benefits for skin, how to use it, and when to err on the side of caution, we tapped three experts to share their knowledge and answer all our most pressing questions. Their answers, below.
What types of honey are used in skincare?
There are 300 unique types of honey, but some are more beneficial for your skin than others.
"Raw honey is preferred for skincare because heat from pasteurization reduces many of the beneficial properties," says Barbara Close, founder of Naturopathica. "If you have spent time visiting a farmers market, you will discover there are many varieties of honey due to the flowers that the bees choose to pollinate from such as clover, lavender blossom, orange flower, acacia (technically Black Locust trees) and even buckwheat."
Different types of honey will have different benefits. For example, Susanne Kaufmann says her eponymous brand uses blossom and acacia honeys sourced from regional beekeepers as "they are rich in minerals, amino acids, vitamins and trace elements that are gentle on the skin." Another popular option is Manuka honey which has incredibly high antibacterial properties.
What are the benefits of honey in skincare?
"Honey is a natural moisturizer and a humectant that binds moisture to the skin providing intense hydration, creating a softer, plumper complexion," says Tata Harper, founder of her eponymous beauty brand. "Honey also contains anti-bacterial properties that speed up your cells’ healing processes which reduces inflammation and shortens the length of breakouts, making it great for people with problematic skin."
Furthermore, Close explains that it's also an excellent pre-biotic as it's rich in sugars for the good bacteria on the skin to eat, which therefore helps the skin microbiome stay strong. And while we typically talk about topical skincare, honey benefits the skin when ingested, too. "It's proven to stimulate the metabolism; it promotes detoxification and supports the regeneration of skin cells to help minimize fine lines and wrinkles — it's a real collagen booster," confirms Kaufmann.
Who will benefit the most from using honey in their skincare?
Honey is one of those natural ingredients that everyone can use, but some will reap its benefits more than others. "Any skin type can benefit from the moisturizing and anti-bacterial properties of honey, but those who suffer from skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and acne will most likely see the greatest results as the healthy bacteria in honey activates your immune system, improving inflammation and redness while fighting off blemishes," confirms Harper.
Are there potential side effects of using honey-infused skincare?
Honey is pretty safe for all skin types, but as with any new active ingredient in your routine, it's recommended to do a small patch test to make sure your skin reacts well to it. Furthermore, Kaufmann says that allergies to bee venom or pollen can possibly cause an allergic reaction to honey, so consider speaking to your doctor beforehand if you suspect you may have an allergy.
What's the best way to use honey in your skincare routine?
Since honey has so many benefits and uses, it can be used different ways. For starters, Kaufmann says you can use raw honey as an exfoliant to gently buff away dead skin cells while moisturizing the skin. Close says you can apply honey on your skin or can use a skincare product infused with the ingredient.
"Since honey is a powerful humectant, try using honey-based products such as cleansers or masks in the shower where moisture from the air can be easily pulled to the skin. Alternatively, apply a warm compress over a mask to enhance the hydrating benefits of honey," she suggests.
From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.
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