Honey is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant-rich. It's a super-healthy ingredient that has been used in medicine for thousands of years thanks to its wound-healing properties. Considering its powerful nutrient profile, it's no surprise that honey is often included in home remedies for many health conditions, including some skin problems.
But can you use honey for acne? Is it a myth, or is there some truth to all the stories?
The typical advice you'll read on many sites usually goes like this: leave out the expensive, ineffective, and abrasive acne products aside and get rid of the acne once and for all using nothing but honey.
To be totally honest, when it comes down to using honey, the research and scientific evidence has made things clear. Like most natural remedies, honey can't cure or heal acne, but it can calm acne and reduce acne symptoms like redness and swelling.
Let us explain better.
It's pretty clear that honey is beneficial for your skin, but does it really cure acne? Let's dig a little deeper.
Honey is an antiseptic that prevents the growth of acne-causing bacteria. The high sugar amount and its acidic properties boost this effect even more. Even though research supports the topical use of honey for its antibacterial properties — mostly for wound care — honey has not been shown to kill bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) which is the major cause of acne.
Think about it like this - applying honey to a fully developed acne lesion can stop the infection in your pore from worsening. Honey's antibacterial activity and anti-inflammatory effects can help decrease swelling and reduce inflammation and redness.
Unfortunately, honey can work only up to a point. This means that if other factors are involved in your acne breakouts, honey might prove useless.
For example, sometimes built-up debris inside the pores may trigger oil production. This, in turn, can provide the right conditions for acne-causing bacteria to grow. Needless to say, if the pore is blocked, honey won't be able to reach it.
Another downside to honey is that it doesn't have the strength to act as the traditional acne treatments, like benzoyl peroxide.
However, the bottom line is that honey might help you, and it's both cheap and safe to use. That makes it worth a try, right?
Have you ever wondered what it means when people say, "I only consume raw honey?" This means you get the same honey the bees are getting.
The process of producing raw honey is quite simple. First, the honey gets extracted from the honeycombs of the hive and is stirred until it's separated from the residue. Then, it's packed u
You have a few more steps before you get to honey as we know it. The two steps are pasteurization and ultrafiltration.
Pasteurization means that the honey goes under high heat to eliminate its yeast content. With this process, the honey loses some of its beneficial properties.
Ultrafiltration is when the honey is additionally processed to look smooth and transparent. But there's one small catch: it'll look good, but it will be less good for you. Pollen, enzymes, and antioxidants are some of the nutrients that get lost during ultrafiltration.
To make things worse, some products come with added sugar. So if there's a chance that honey can help you battle inflamed pimples and acne flare-ups, the odds are that regular honey won't help you solve your inflammatory acne problem. Raw honey is a much better natural remedy.
Manuka honey is made in Australia and New Zealand, and it comes from bees that pollinate the manuka bush. People who swear by it say it can treat wound infections and other skin conditions.
OK, we know what you're thinking - doesn't all honey have the power to help with wounds and nourish the skin? You're right.
But, the antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties of honey depend on the type of honey and other factors - like when and how it's harvested. This is why raw honey has more benefits than traditional honey.
Manuka honey is considered even more potent because, aside from the hydrogen peroxide (the part that gives honey its antibacterial properties), it has even more ingredients with antibacterial characteristics, which sets it apart from traditional honey.
One of these ingredients is methylglyoxal, which is only found in small quantities in traditional honey. However, in the nectar of manuka flowers, it's present in really high concentrations. In addition to that, it has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.
Over the years, manuka honey has been used to promote wound healing. It's also been used for various skin conditions, the prevention of tooth decay, treating scars, and the alleviation of digestive issues.
But is honey good for acne? One study found that kanuka honey (a really similar flower to manuka) is more effective in treating acne than traditional antibacterial soap.
Short answer - yes. Honey is good for oily and acne-prone skin. Don't let the sticky oily-looking appearance fool you. Honey is a great humectant, which means that it draws moisture from the air to the skin. As a result, it can provide long-lasting hydration, which will help the skin balance its oil production.
Because of its humectant properties, it can hydrate skin acne-prone skin without making it oily. This is why it plays a part in many natural home remedies to help treat acne.
But if you're looking for a more proven skincare routine for oily skin, try Misumi's Complete Clear 3-Step System.
Yes, honey is safe for all skin types and won't cause any problems if left on the face for a long time. There are many natural home remedies out there that are made for overnight use.
But the question you should be asking is: is it practical to leave this spot treatment on the face overnight? Think about the mess you'll make in your bed. If you really want to try this method, we suggest applying the honey only to the affected areas. Another great alternative is to apply it during the day while working around the house.
If you're still nervous about trying honey as a spot treatment for the first time, we recommend doing a patch test. In fact, no matter what ingredient you're using (whether that's coconut oil, diluted tea tree oil, processed honey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar), we recommend always completing a patch test. This will lessen the chance of an allergic reaction.
When it comes to acne, honey is safe and even recommended in some cases. Honey is extremely nutritious and usually comes free from chemicals and additives, meaning it won't irritate your skin even if you leave it for a long time or use it every day.
Because honey's antiseptic and healing properties are not as strong as some acne treatment products, you might need to apply it more frequently and for longer periods before you see results. Make sure you apply high-quality honey, preferably unprocessed honey, so you know it has preserved its acne-fighting properties.
The simplest and easiest way to use honey for acne is to apply it on the skin directly and let it do its work. It's considered a safe ingredient, so you don't need to worry about side effects.
The one thing you do need to keep in mind is that not all honey is the same. Go for raw, manuka honey, or natural honey instead of traditional honey. Many regular honey brands add sugar and other additives, which can make your skin react negatively.
Read the package label before buying - your best choice is 100% natural and raw.
The next thing you need to worry about is how clean your face and fingers are before applying the honey. Applying honey with dirty fingers will bring even more bacteria to your face and make your acne worse.
When you apply it, massage it gently on affected areas for a couple of minutes and then leave it to act for another 20 minutes. After this, rinse it off with water.
Use these home remedies in addition to an amazing skin routine, and your acne will calm in no time.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant powerhouse which can do wonders for the skin. All these properties help calm redness, itchiness, discoloration, inflamed acne, and dark circles. It's no wonder that it has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for centuries.
Mix one tbsp of honey with a pinch of turmeric powder and stir well. Be careful not to add too much turmeric, as it can make your face orange. Apply the mixture to affected areas and leave it on the face for 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. This will help you get rid of dirt and dead skin cells.
Olive oil is said to improve the skin's natural elasticity and moisturize it without making it greasy. In combination with honey, it can help lighten acne lesions and make them less visible.
For this mask, you'll need 2 tbsp of raw honey and 2 tbsp of virgin olive oil. Just mix them together and gently apply them to the affected areas. Make sure your fingers are clean before you apply the mixture. Massage the area with circular motions for five to ten minutes, then leave it to act for another ten to twenty minutes. Wash off with water.
Oats are one of the few natural ingredients recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as home remedies. They contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making them efficient in handling a variety of skin disorders like sunburns, eczema, and poison ivy.
Oats are also rich in zinc, which can reduce redness and kill acne bacteria, making them a great acne treatment. Mixing oatmeal with honey can give you a powerful combination that no pimples can stand up to.
Cook half a cup of oatmeal and mix it with two tbsp of raw honey. After the oatmeal is cooled down to room temperature, apply the blend gently on the affected areas of the skin. Wait for 20 minutes, and then rinse off. You can repeat this procedure three to four times a week.
Green tea is associated with many health benefits and is usually recommended as a healthier alternative to coffee. Although the research on this matter is still limited, anecdotal evidence is piling up.
Green tea, with its high levels of antioxidants, is becoming part of many skincare products and home remedies as well. It might be a smart idea to store the tea bags next time you're drinking your tea.
To make this face mask, take the used tea bags, cut them open, and remove the tea leaves. Mix one to two tbsp of honey with the tea leaves to form a paste. Apply on affected areas and let it sit for twenty minutes before washing the face with warm water.
Tea tree oil has unbelievable antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that not only shrink the acne but also reduce the redness and swelling around it. It's also believed to speed up the healing process of acne.
All you'll need for this honey face mask is one to two drops of tea tree oil and one tbsp of honey. Mix the ingredients well and then apply evenly on your face. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with water.
Repeat the procedure three to four times a week. Be careful with how much tea tree oil you use since it's been known to cause rashes and redness in people with sensitive skin.
Sea salt is considered good for acne-prone skin since it's alkaline in nature, giving it the power to balance out the oil. Additionally, sea salt has antibacterial properties, which can help reduce acne and speed up the healing process.
For this mask, mix together one tbsp of both honey and sea salt. Add two tbsp of hot water and stir well. Apply the mixture to the affected areas. Massage the face in a circular motion. Be careful not to use too much pressure and irritate the skin. Wash your face with water after 15 minutes.
Aloe Vera is one of the most famous ingredients used in wound healing. It has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, which has led to its use in treating acne and acne scars. Aloe Vera acts by preventing bacteria and dirt from infecting the pores. Moreover, it also has antifungal properties that are useful in treating inflammation and improving skin health.
It definitely deserves its famous reputation in the cosmetic industry.
At home, use aloe vera in combination with honey to make yourself an incredible remedy for acne. Mix one tbsp of honey with one tbsp of aloe vera gel. Apply the mixture to the areas affected with acne. Leave it to act for 15 minutes, and then rinse with lukewarm water.
As we've proved, it's a great idea to use honey for acne. We've included a bunch of natural remedies for you to try. (Always do a patch test before trying them out to lessen the chance of allergic reactions!)
However, for an easier and more effective way to manage acne (whether that's moderate acne vulgaris or severe acne), always visit your doctor. They will recommend topical treatment products containing ingredients like salicylic acid and hydrogen peroxide or other acne medications. In the meantime, home ingredients like honey can help prevent acne.
Randomised controlled trial of topical kanuka honey for the treatment of acne
A Honey Trap for the Treatment of Acne
Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin