It’s probably not news to you that skincare is a vast field of expertise and knowledge that’s expanding with every passing day. More and more ingredients are being tested for potential benefits for the skin, and some of them are indeed showing results. In the past, we’ve covered the benefits and uses of a number of fruits and vegetables, as well as ingredients such as rosehip oil, witch hazel, coconut oil, tea tree oil, and even milk and aloe vera. But while we’ve also covered the benefits of honey, we’ve never explored the amazing skin benefits of beeswax - until now.
To be fair, the addition of beeswax into our modern skincare industry is fairly recent. However, that’s not the case when we look back to humanity’s past. Beeswax has a long tradition of cosmetic use, with even the ancients using it to remove hair from the skin. But that’s not all - beeswax was also the first ingredient in the history of mankind used as a plastic and serving as a waterproofing and lubricating agent. Additionally, beeswax has been used as a polishing substance for leather, wood (especially in shipbuilding), as an additive in artistic paints as well as, of course, in the production of candles.
Today, the palette of beeswax use in skincare is being increasingly broadened. Skincare products that employ beeswax today come in different shapes and perform different purposes. Beeswax is used in quality moisturizers, various skincare gels, creams and ointments, and last but not least, many makeup products. However, beeswax remains an unlikely, fringe product, which makes many people oblivious to its use and benefits.
As we mentioned above, beeswax (also known as cera alba) has a long history of use by humans. It is naturally produced by honey bees, or technically known as the genus Apis, but you already know that. What you probably don’t know is that beeswax has a very specific chemical structure, belonging to the category of chemical substances known as esters. Esters, or also referred to as wax esters (because there are other kinds of esters), are made up of fatty acids and additional long-chain alcohols.
Beeswax can be purchased almost anywhere, including over-the-counter. It is also edible, but it is not digestible by our digestive tract. Even if you eat beeswax, it will just pass through your system and won’t get resorbed. And these chemical and molecular properties of beeswax provide it with specific skincare benefits.
In short, beeswax can reinforce the skin’s natural barrier and offer additional protection from the environment. This also makes beeswax an efficient covering material for the already present water molecules within your skin and on top of it. That helps our skin retain its moisture and protect it from drying up. However, this protective layer of beeswax over the skin is particularly good for preventing acne, since it doesn’t clog up our pores.
In short, these are some of the main benefits of beeswax:
But that’s not all - in fact, it’s far from everything. Beeswax offers a ton of additional benefits. So let’s take a better look at the benefits of beeswax for skin.
I bet we all know the feeling when we light a candle, and the hot, molten wax drops on our fingers. Have you noticed how it behaves? I mean, besides the burning of course. Beeswax is almost like safe, moldable plastic - once it cools, it forms an impermeable barrier over whatever it touches.
Well, when it comes to beeswax, what you see is what you get. It has the same properties when implemented into skincare products, providing the benefit of covering the skin with a thin film of protective barrier. When used like this in creams and gels, beeswax protects the skin from random environmental pollutants such as microscopic dust, smog, and cigarette smoke. These substances often contain so-called free radicals, which are a class of chemical compounds that have an especially deleterious effect on living tissue. Free radicals can enter our cells and damage their DNA, causing our cells to age prematurely, or even develop dangerous, cancerous mutations.
Generally speaking, antioxidants make short work of free radicals, but this is also where beeswax joins the rescue. By covering our skin, beeswax provides an impermeable barrier, preventing any free radicals from affecting our skin. Additionally, beeswax is often referred to as noncomedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog your pores and will let your skin breathe freely.
It goes without saying, but honey and beeswax are very close cousins. So, it only makes sense that these two substances share some of their beneficial properties. Beeswax possesses the same anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that honey has, which can help keep your skin clean and soothed.
These properties of beeswax are excellent in keeping bacteria and fungi at bay. By fending off bacteria and fungi like that, beeswax keeps inflammations and infections at bay. These properties of beeswax are also useful for people who deal with chronic skin disorders, such as psoriasis, eczema, and other common skin disorders.
But that’s not all. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of beeswax make it a good ally when it comes to treating acne too. Its combo of both protective, restorative, and antiseptic properties prevent further infections, but also soothe your skin and slow down the progression of acne. Additionally, beeswax contains a lot of Vitamin A, which has restorative effects on the skin and speeds up its regeneration processes. Vitamin A is also beneficial for making the skin softer and more flexible, which in turn has the added effect of making scars less prominent.
Last but not least, this makes beeswax useful in treating temporary skin conditions such as ringworm (also known as jock itch or crotch rot). Ringworm is caused by a fungal outgrowth, and as we said, beeswax has antifungal properties too. So, if it itches down there, don’t wait. It’s just a short trip to the local cosmetics store until you get your hands on some good beeswax.
As we briefly mentioned in the introduction, beeswax can moisturize our skin because of its isolating property. By providing a watertight layer over our skin, beeswax locks our water molecules close to our skin, helping it remain hydrated and moisturized. All of this makes beeswax one of the best DIY moisturizers, making our skin softer, more flexible, and more supple.
This is especially useful to know because some cosmetic, and even makeup products can make our skin extremely dry. The worst offenders include makeup products that come in the form of powder, as well as overusing some exfoliating and cleansing substances (such as BHA and the various AHAs).
Additionally, combining beeswax with oils such as castor oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil, and ideally with Vitamin E, can be even more effective at keeping your skin flexible and prevent drying. Applying this mixture before going to bed is ideal, since it will give your skin ample time to absorb all the good nutrients from the oils and repair itself.
Cold winter days or hot summer days, the effects of these two temperature extremes on our skin - and our lips - are the same. But even if you’re fairly sheltered, you’re probably still spending a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms, which can dry your lips as well. And not only that, dry lips quickly turn into chapped lips, and no one wants that.
But this is yet another scenario where beeswax comes to the rescue. Maybe you already know, but beeswax is one of the main substances used in lip balms, and for good reason. As we mentioned above, beeswax can protect our skin and provide a protective layer over it. In doing so, it keeps our skin both protected, calm, and hydrated. The same applies to our lips too.
If you’re out of lip balm, maybe you can consider other, homemade options. For example, you can prepare your own homemade beeswax lip balm. All you need is some beeswax, combined with some coconut oil, olive oil, or some Vitamin E oil. If you prefer a specific aroma, you can also add some essential oils, such as orange, lemon, peppermint and so on. As for flavor, adding some honey to this mixture will ensure that it tastes a bit sweet too. In the end, put this mixture into a clean little box, close it with a lid, and use it whenever you need to provide your lips with some refreshment.
The benefits of beeswax don’t stop there. We briefly mentioned that beeswax shares a lot of the same beneficial properties like honey. That means that beeswax possesses anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties too. All of this means that, when it comes to acne, beeswax can alleviate a lot of its symptoms, as well as stop further inflammations and infections in their tracks.
Additionally, Vitamin A is one of the most beneficial substances when it comes to helping skin rejuvenation and boosting its ability to repair itself. Karotens, retinoids, such as retinol, Retin A, and even the most powerful anti-acne medicine, Accutane, are all derived from Vitamin A. In short, Vitamin A and its analogs are great at combating acne, boosting our skin’s self-repair capabilities, and even ironing out scars and wrinkles. And beeswax is just brimming with it.
People with sensitive skin need not look any further - they have a good friend in beeswax. Why? Because there is yet another benefit of beeswax, that very few people know about. Beeswax is known for its ability to soothe the skin and relieve itching. This is especially important for people who have suffered burn injuries, or people who suffer from chronic skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. In all those cases, the changes to the skin and the nature of the injuries produce a strong, often uncontrollable urge to itch. The problem is, however, that scratching that itch will almost surely make the injuries, the psoriasis, or the symptoms of eczema much worse.
For these people, scratching one itch means scratching a ton of others too, and they’re caught in a loop of itch-ception. But this is where beeswax comes to the rescue. By being anti-allergenic and providing our skin with a gentle, but efficient protective cover, beeswax significantly reduces, and sometimes even completely eliminates itching. In fact, beeswax has a history of use when it comes to treating burns, and modern medicine has concluded that it was for a good reason. Applying beeswax on burn injuries, eczema prone skin, or an outbreak of psoriasis can provide instant - and much sought for - relief.
Pregnancy, or other causes for rapid weight gain can cause one of the most dreaded changes to the skin in modern times - the notorious stretch marks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but often, that beholder is us, staring at our thighs in front of the mirror. Feelings of embarrassment are not rare when it comes to having to hit the beach and you notice that, one, ever so slight stretch mark. Thankfully, the skincare and cosmetics industry stepped up their game, and are offering more, and better products that seek to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
And is it surprising that beeswax is a common component in those skincare products? And for good reason. Beeswax contains a lot of Vitamin A, which, as we mentioned earlier, is one of the most efficient vitamins when it comes to helping our skin rejuvenate itself. Stretch marks form when the body increases in volume, and the skin can’t keep up with the changes due to lessened elasticity. See, our skin needs to have enough collagen and elastin in order to be flexible and stretch without suffering any injuries. But, when we don’t have enough collagen and elastin, and our body expands due to pregnancy or gaining weight, our skin suffers damage due to it being stretched too much, and this damage presents itself in the form of a stretch mark.
But, beeswax, being super rich in Vitamin A, can definitely alleviate some of those problems and make stretch marks less prominent. Additionally, you could consider combining beeswax with other soothing ingredients that will make your skin more flexible and elastic, such as coconut oil, royal jelly, shea butter, grapeseed oil and so on. Combine any of these ingredients into an ointment, apply it two times a day, and you will see changes after a period of time.
Did you know that some makeup brands have come up with makeup products that contain beeswax? Regardless, you’re probably wondering why that is. Including beeswax into makeup seems odd and counter-intuitive, but there are very good reasons for it upon further inspection.
As we pointed out in the introduction, the chemical, molecular structure of beeswax is very specific. Beeswax belongs to a class of naturally produced esters, and esters have been used for a variety of purposes. Most of these are protective, or isolating, and when beeswax is added to makeup, these effects become transferred to the makeup product. What does this actually mean?
Well, it means that for one, your makeup is now more resistant to water or sweat. It also means that thanks to the beeswax, the layers of makeup won’t crease up, and they won’t dry your skin. Additionally, since beeswax doesn’t clog pores (unlike other types of makeup), applying makeup that contains beeswax is also a good way to prevent the formation of acne. And on top of it all, makeup that contains beeswax provides a better looking, silky, creamy-smooth texture to your skin. All of this translates into achieving a better look - and a better staying power of your makeup.
Earlier in this article, we mentioned that beeswax can help people with eczema by making the temptation to scratch that incessant itching more bearable. But that’s not where the benefits of beeswax for eczema end. See, beeswax possesses antiseptic, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. I won’t even add that it has antifungal properties, because let’s just say that’s not really relevant for people with eczema. However, beeswax has hydrating properties as well, which makes it even better for these kinds of conditions.
See, when people with eczema, and even psoriasis, experience their bothersome symptoms, their skin actually gets damaged, dry, flaky. But applying beeswax onto the affected area of skin can be beneficial in lessening, and sometimes even eliminating these symptoms. The best results can be achieved by mixing beeswax in some olive oil, or honey, and applying it over the affected areas in question. It will soothe any inflammation, and prevent bacterial infections from forming.
All of the above should have made this conclusion predictable, right? Beeswax has so many positive properties for our skin that it’s almost miraculous. It is antibacterial, but also antifungal. In addition to that, beeswax is also anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic. Furthermore, beeswax doesn’t clog our pores, and keeps our skin protected and moisturized by keeping water close by, and preventing it from escaping.
All of this means that beeswax can stimulate our skin’s own, and natural, regenerating abilities. As we mentioned above, beeswax can reduce the itching for people with severe burn injuries, or people with eczema, psoriasis, or other chronic skin disorders. However, it also works to repair the damaged skin, since it is overflowing with excellent Vitamin A. When all of these beneficial properties become summed up, it all amounts to beeswax helping our skin heal faster than usual. If you have any minor bruises, or cuts, you can test it out on yourself too. Just apply some beeswax over the injured skin, and the wound will close up faster. And that means a lot smaller chance of ending up with a permanent scar, or any scar, for that matter.
And finally, there is one more little known beneficial property of beeswax, useful for the most part for the gentlemen. I am sure there are men reading us too, so you’ll be glad to know this guys. Beeswax is one of the best, and safest ingredients you can use in order to shape your beards and mustaches. There are already a number of beauty products out there that offer this service - a wax for your beard and facial hair. And do we need to mention that it smells so, so good?
Additionally, styling products that contain beeswax can also be used to “wax” your beard and mustache, and even your hair. By giving your beard a slightly silky, smooth appearance, beeswax can make you ever so slightly more popular among the ladies (well, the gentlemen too). And not only that - beard waxing products that contain beeswax can also be used for styling your hair too. Remember, it’s natural, and it’s beneficial for your skin, so it doesn’t hurt to try. Now go, and be charming. You owe it to yourself.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.