Anti-Irritants , Vitamins , Antioxidants

Substance produced by bees from the nectar of flowering plants. Composed primarily of the sugars fructose and glucose and consumed as food, honey also has applications when it comes to skincare. This is due to its amino acid, peptide, and vitamin content. [1]

The primary research on honey and skin has to do with its multi-faceted role in wound healing: it protects the wound and its sugars serve as an alternative food source for bacteria that may otherwise prolong healing or cause infection. For general skincare that does not involve wounds (and remember, wrinkles are not wounds), honey has anti-inflammatory properties and also functions as an antioxidant. Dark honeys have a stronger antioxidant effect than light honeys. Regular honey is also known as clarified honey or purified honey. [1]

Manuka honey shows up in some skincare products, and is hyped as a special kind of honey. It’s produced in New Zealand from bees that pollinate the country’s native manuka bush. Manuka honey is similar to “regular” clover honey except it’s said to contain more of a chemical called methylglyoxal, which might give manuka honey an antibacterial and, potentially, antiviral advantage. Some research, however, shows that it doesn’t necessarily have an edge; it depends on the type of bacteria present. [2,3,4]

References Cited:

  1. Burlando B, Cornara L. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2013;12(4):306-13.
  2. Lu J, Carter D, Turnbull L, Rosendale D, Hedderley D, Stephens J, Gannabathula S, Steinhorn G, Schlothauer R, Whitchurch C, et al. The effect of New Zealand kanuka, manuka and clover honeys on bacterial growth dynamics and cellular morphology varies according to the species. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55898.
  3. Oelschlaegel S, Gruner M, Wang P, Boettcher A, Koelling-Speer I, Speer K. Classification and characterization of manuka honeys based on phenolic compounds and methylglyoxal. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(29):7229-37.
  4. Rahmasari K, Matsunaga A, Haruyama T, Kobayashi N. Anti-influenza viral effects of honey in vitro: potent high activity of manuka honey. Arch Med Res. 2014;45(5):359-65.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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