Honey + Skin - A Matchmakers Dream Come True

For centuries (about 8000 years to be a little more exact), honey has been gathered and used by humans. It has filled many purposes: food, medicinal – and even religious. Ancient Egyptians not only used honey for food and medicine, they included the sticky-sweet substance in their embalming mixtures. In ancient China, the art of beekeeping was practiced and documented with recommendations on how to ensure the most fruitful and beneficial crop – right down to the ideal choice of wood for the man-made hive.

What's in Honey

Honey has a sufficiently high sugar content to inhibit fermentation, making it suitable for long-term storage, but that's just the beginning of honey's plusses.

The specific composition of any batch of honey depends on the flowers available to the bees that produce it, but the main composition of honey is pretty much the same in all types:
- About 90-95% carbs: fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose
- Vitamins: including B6, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid
- Minerals: such as copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, phosphorous
- Many types of acids: including gluconic acid (a mild AHA), amino, and organic acids
- Enzymes: such as glucose oxidase (more on this in a minute)

Raw and Cold Processed Honey is Richest in Actives

Heating honey kills off many of its desirable antibacterial components. Therefore – raw and cold processed carries the highest amount of 'goodies'.

And Now They Know Why 

From a historic perspective, it's only relatively recently that science has been able to explain and document honeys antisceptic and antibiotic properties. Manuka honey in particular has undergone thorough testing as a wound healing substance and has repeatedly come out with flying colors (links below).

Every Day, Honey

Honey is not only safe enough to be applied to the skin on a daily basis, it does the skin a world of good. When I tried a daily 2-minute honey mask for an extended period, I experienced nothing but benefits. Everyone I know who has tried it tells the same story.

Why Honey and Skin are a Match Made in Heaven

To understand why honey is such an ideal ingredient for skincare, we need to take a closer look at one of its components – the enzyme listed above – glucose oxidase. With its naturally low pH level (average of 3.9), honey is forced to keeps its glucose oxidase 'at the ready' until the right conditions come along.

It is the glucose oxidase enzyme that causes the sugars in honey to catalyse (read: a chemical reaction happens) and thereby produce a substance that facilitates healing: none other than hydrogen peroxide.

But before any of this catalysation can happen, honey requires certain conditions:
- moisture
- a certain amount of sodium
- a higher pH level

Enter human skin – all the right conditions! Our skin naturally contains every one of the elements needed to trigger off honey's healing magic.

And There's More

Besides helping speed up the healing process, honey has even more to offer. With its ability to penetrate the endocuticle region, honey helps to strengthen and moisturize hair.

The Honey Benefits For Skin and Hair Goodie List

  • Mildly antisceptic
  • Promotes hydration
  • Promotes new tissue growth and collagen production
  • Mild exfoliant
  • Increases elasticity
  • Accelerates healing
  • Improves circulation
  • Soothes and calms irritation
  • Softens and moisturizes skin
  • Moisturizes dry, damaged and brittle hair
  • Helps prevent split ends
  • Scavenges free radicals

LisaLise and Honey

Besides using 'straight up' raw honey as a mask and cleanser, I have been working with concentrated powdered honey in a new cream (there's an upcoming post soon). After 4 months of testing (and abstaining from my regular raw-honey-wash-2-minute-mask for the duration), I can say it has lived up to all of my suppliers claims. 


Anonymous said…
I do really, really, really love honey! It helps me with my skin problems a lot! I use it on my hairy skin on head (you know what I mean?) any time it gets irritated (I might have psoriasis) and that helps me so much! I add some water to honey and massage my head quite gently with my fingers soaked in that mixture and leave it for some time. Than I just simply wash my hair as usual and that's all - I really recommend it to all the people with some skin problems:)
LisaLise said…
You are spot on Foster. Honey is very good for skin, but just as beneficial for hair. I'll have to do a honey hair mask one of these days.
Unknown said…
Thx you so much for sharing your knowlege Lise
LisaLise said…
Why thank you kindly, Unknown! :D
Emi Kaz said…
I love honey, i don't use 100% raw honey as a mask, instead i formulate a honey serum by using cold process emulsifier which i the honey content is 50% and few other oils and humectants, i find honey is more powerful than hyaluronic acid and at the same time its reduce my redness on my skin.
LisaLise said…
Hi EMi - thanks for sharing -- I do believe I agree with you about honey's powerful positive effects on skin. I have worked extensively with HY acid and am now interested in doing some side by side testing.