Is Honey Skin-Care Sweet Stuff for Your Face?
Kourtney Kardashian puts it in smoothies. Kendall Jenner puts it in her zit treatments. And me? Well, I put it in my tea, and as of late, I find it in my beauty products. I’m talking about honey.
You’ve probably noticed by now—and not just because the Kardashian-Jenners have an affinity for it—that honey has made itself at home in a ton of product formulations. And if you’re like me, you wanted to know why this sticky, super sweet pantry staple has any business living in your eye cream.
It’s always being touted as an anti-inflammatory, healing, and anti-bacterial, but these claims aren’t anything new. Like, at all.
According to Dr. Harold Lancer, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the concept has been popular for more than 5,000 years, however he also states he isn’t aware of any proven medical benefits. With that being said, he mentions there’s nothing wrong with it as a skin-care ingredient as long as it’s a high quality so it doesn’t get contaminated, decay, and then oxidize, causing the efficacy of your product to drop.
"Medical grade honeys, such as Manuka honey and Medihoney, have been used for treatment of conditions such as ulcers and wounds. Although likely fine in most cases to use on the skin for acne and other skin problems, non-medical grade honey may contain viable bacterial spores and manifest less predictable antibacterial properties,” notes dermatologist and founder of Curology, Dr. David Lortshcer.
So what’s even found in honey, besides sugar? "Honey, which contains more than 180 unique compounds, is produced by honeybees from flower nectar and contains phenolic acids, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol, carotenoids, the enzymes glucose oxidase and catalase, organic and amino acids, and proteins,” explains Dr. David Lortshcer.
Now that we’ve got that down, you should know there’s quite a few products out there with the ingredient listed as a main draw. For example, there’s COSRX’s Honey Ceramide Eye Cream ($26; memebox.com), which includes pure Manuka Honey and is intensely hydrating (trust, we’ve tried it), and Farmacy recently launched a honey mask that’s made with what they call GreenEnvy honey, a substance produced by bees that pollinate the brand’s Echinacea Purpurea GreenEnvy flowers, which is supposedly high in antioxidants.
Of course, then there’s the entire line of products produced by Manuka Doctor, a brand that uses manuka honey (FYI, also bee venom) in many of their products!
While skin-care products is one this, Dr. Lancer does tell us we should be careful with DIY honey products, as the other ingredients you mix with it could potentially be contaminated and could end up causing acne or inflammation. Basically, you'll want to chat with your derm about the concoction you're about to create. Always be safe and do your homework!