Honey is good for more than just eating—it’s a miracle worker when it comes to hydrating and keeping problem skin at bay
Oftentimes we’ve found that a cream, exfoliant or cleanser’s more natural ingredients are also quite delicious—pineapple, orange, pumpkin, raspberry. Well, add to that list the currently trending skincare ingredient of honey, specifically manuka honey, which has proven to be both highly moisturizing and very anti-bacterial and calming. “It’s great for all skin types, including those with acne, rosacea, extremely dry and flaky skin,” says Dallas Port, lead facialist at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. The skin guru uses a honey cleanser specially created by iS Clinical for the spa’s Effervescence Facial. It “warms to the skin,” making it an excellent massage medium.
But using the sticky, natural product on our skin isn’t a new revelation—it’s been used since ancient times, and manuka honey, harvested in New Zealand from two plants, was used for medicinal purposes by early European settlers. Basically, it is very powerful, and thus effective in treating acne-prone and other problematic skin types. Says Pamela McGeough, R&D manager at Ovelle Pharmaceuticals LTD., which produces the Irish brand Elave (featuring a manuka honey-laden cleanser and moisturizer), of the honey’s versatile healing properties, “manuka has been tested in the laboratory against several strains of wound-infecting bacteria and found to be effective in inhibiting the growth of most of them. It is also proven to be effective in helping the natural healing of skin ulcers, burns and cracked skin.” Crazily enough, manuka honey has 10 times the antibacterial strength of toilet cleaner, while being completely safe. So while it may seem like a miracle solution for all skin, there are some people who shouldn’t use products containing it—anyone with bee allergies, pregnant women and children under one year because of bacterial spores it may contain.
Elave, a favorite of celebrity makeup artist Jemma Kidd, isn’t the only brand including manuka honey in its formulas—Arcona’s Hydrating Serum features the ingredient for its excellent moisturizing properties. Additionally, says McGeough, it is a natural antioxidant, has the ability to destroy a large number of bacteria (especially the two types that are common causes of acne), improves cellular regeneration, reduces blemishes, acts as an anti-inflammatory against agitated skin, improves texture and actually contains vitamin C, which promotes collagen production. “Manuka honey is a natural healing and rebalancing agent and can be used in a pure honey mask or as a component in facial products,” says McGeough. But remember it’s not the same as the bear-shaped bottle at the grocery store, so don’t start slathering that on. In Elave’s Oil-Free Skin Balancing Moisturizer, the honey (along with glycerin, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid) is what makes it both super hydrating and able to treat problem skin simultaneously. It’s certainly a sweet solution.