It’s the late 1700s and somewhere in Europe, I imagine myself performing a street magic show. A compact stage with obstructed views, the crowd of 500 or so women desperately push each over for a peek at the highly anticipated act. “Ladies, ladies, here it is! The moment you’ve all been waiting for”- I whip off a chic mad hatter-esque hat from my freshly spun, pink cotton candy updo and pull out a glistening object. The crowd gasps…
*Insert Comedic Record Scratch*. Alright, I’m not on a stage and this is no magical performance (by me atleast). However, as my #1 skincare staple, what I’m about to reveal definitely “performs” some noteworthy miracles. For practically every skin problem out there, I recommend using this secret weapon to hit them with a bang. And if bees didn’t sting, I’d give them lots of lovin’ for all they do. Cause dry, oily, or in between- we can all benefit from this powerful weapon.
Processed Vs. Raw
Back when I was in high school, my hormonal breakouts often found me raiding the kitchen cabinets in a desperate attempt to concoct a “no budget required” face mask. I’d find oats, strawberries, lemons, greek yogurt, you name it. And in particular, honey always found its way into my masks. Problem was, it just wasn’t doing it for me.
Then- several years down the line I began to research a solution for the aftermath Accutane left me with (aka horrible scars and hyper pigmentation). And somehow somewhere, I stumbled across the solution on a topic board. The answer was raw honey. Even better, Manuka honey. So fast forward to now and I literally walk around with this stuff on my face for hours on end. It works.
So what was the problem in high school? I simply wasn’t using the right kind of honey. Because gal, the honey in the bear is not actually honey but usually… fructose corn syrup. And let’s say you do have a batch of real honey at home. Is it processed? Because if it is, most likely it won’t do much for you either. Unfortunately, most of the nutrients in honey get lost when processed due to pasteurization. So for this reason I highly stress you use raw, unfiltered, and organic honey (preferably thick and crystallized), which is filled to the brim with these potent nutrients and will work wonders on your skin.
First, at $6-10 bucks a jar, raw honey is ridiculously easy on your wallet, and if it doesn’t work out, in your tea it can easily go. What makes it so great is that it’s a natural antiseptic, anti-inflammator, emollient, and humectant. Rich in amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, enzymes and B-complex vitamins, below is a list of what it’s nutrient-dense properties do:
- From the number of B-complex vitamins it contains, Niacin (B3) in particular assists with improving rosacea, eczema, acne, dermatitis, hyper-pigmentation, sun damage, and dry skin. Missing any major skin problems here? I think not.
- The long list of amino acids it contains build collagen while increasing moisture by surrounding your skin cells with a watertight film. This film is what protects your skin from sun damage and pollutants. More specifically, amino acid Glutamine reduces scars, redness, and dryness by assisting your skin with repairing damaged cells.
- As if honey wasn’t already packed with enough nutrients, it’s mineral content includes calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Some of which effectively fight acne bacteria (zinc) and provide honey with it’s humectant properties (magnesium).
- Plus- honey creates a healthy environment for your skin to thrive in as it maintains a proper pH balance, promotes tissue healing and regeneration- all while making it difficult for bacteria to survive on your skin.
If you thought raw honey had medicinal benefits, Manuka honey is where it’s at. What makes it so special is that it’s only produced by bees who pollinate the Manuka bush in New Zealand. And although it’s more expensive ($16 bucks or more), it can contain up to 4 times the mineral content of raw honey. This includes beneficial compounds such as methylglyoxal and hydrogen peroxide, which aid in healing infections. In Manuka honey, MG (methylglyoxal) comes from the conversion of compound dihydroxyacetone– found in high concentrations within the nectar of manuka flowers. This makes MG 100 times higher than that in raw honey. And, the higher the concentration, the better the collagen turnover and antibiotic effect is on the skin. Plus- with higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, Manuka honey effectively lightens and cleanses wounds without damaging skin cells.
Now with that said, not all Manuka honey has the special Manuka compound Leptosperin, which is a stable chemical found only in unadulterated and authentic Manuka. This is where the global rating, Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) comes in. The UMF measures the potency of Leptosperin along with MG to come up with a rating between 0-16+ (meaning undetected to high grade). In order to experience the optimum effects Manuka honey has to offer, it is recommended to use UMF 10 or higher.
Below are some notable benefits Manuka honey has over raw honey:
- Manuka honey is able to get rid of difficult strains of bacteria, even curing skin infections such as staph or MRSA.
- It soothes and heals wounds, burns, scars, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis much quicker than raw honey with little chance of infection.
- It also more effectively treats breakouts caused by both propionibacterium and vulgaris acne by drawing out bacteria, bringing down redness, tightening, and reducing pore size.
- It’s antimicrobials referred to as- inhibines, continue working even after the honey has been cleansed off. And because Manuka honey doesn’t create resistant microbes, it has no side effects.
How To Use
Either honey you choose to use can replace your usual face cleanser, granted you are not removing any makeup. I normally keep my honey tightly closed in the bathroom drawer and us a teaspoon amount to cleanse my face with. It can also be effectively used as a spot treatment by dabbing with a q-tip on blemishes, scars, sun-spots, or hyper-pigmentation and keeping it on for at least 30 minutes. However, honey really shines when used as a face mask as it not only treats problem spots and gets rid of grime, but it also gives you a noticeably glow and might I add, dewiness. I make sure to at least apply the honey all over my face and neck at a minimum of 3 times a week for 45 mins to over an hour. It is best to do this on damp skin, or even better, right after you shower so your pores are still open from shower steam.
If I have been picking at my skin (because 99% of us do), I also like to use it in conjunction with Himalayan sea salt to reduce inflammation (this is especially important if I plan on going out). If you ladies have had experience using either types of honey for your skin, please share below in the comments your results!