Bees are absolutely tiny, adorable powerhouses. From gathering pollen on their fuzzy little bottoms to pollinate plants across the globe to creating delicious honey, these precious winged friends work constantly to benefit not only themselves, but inadvertently humans.
Many of the things we use every single day contain honey, including skin care products! Manuka honey has become a hot product within the beauty community lately due to its many, seemingly almost magical benefits. From antiaging to acne fighting, manuka honey is truly a powerful partner in the fight for stunning skin.
Manuka Honey for Wounds
Manuka honey is produced by bees in New Zealand, where manuka bushes naturally grow. It has historically been used in the surrounding areas to heal wounds and make medicines but has only recently hit mainstream popularity for its incredible skin benefits.
In the 19th century, it was discovered that honey possesses natural antibacterial properties and that it stimulates cell recovery in areas damaged by infection or injury. Honey naturally produces hydrogen peroxide; manuka honey has an extra dose of effectiveness due to it also producing a secondary antibacterial component known as methylglyoxal, which is known as MG for short.
MG is created during the conversion of the nectar from manuka flowers to honey. The component in the nectar, dihydroxyacetone, is converted to methylglyoxal as it becomes honey, infusing the secondary antibacterial into the finished product. MG levels in manuka honey are not always equal, leading to honey producers to create a scale to rank the effectiveness of the antibacterial factors in each batch.
The Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF, gives each batch a number ranking based on the MG levels within the container. For skincare purposes, a UMF level of 16 or more is recommended. 16+ UMF honey is a little more expensive than its lower level counterparts but much more potent, making it worth the investment.
Manuka honey can work to balance out your skin’s PH and slough off any dry, dull dead skin that may be hanging around. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties will help to reduce redness and soreness within your existing acne spots while the anti-bacterial aspects will control and heal the breakouts while preventing new spots from forming.
How to Use Manuka Honey on face
Honey is also an excellent emollient, meaning it keeps the skin moisturized, allowing dry, irritated patches to heal quickly and effectively.
There are many ways to utilize manuka honey with the most popular being as a mask. Mix equal parts honey, dried oats, and lemon juice into a mask and apply it to your entire face. Leave the mask on for fifteen minutes before rinsing, using your fingers to exfoliate with the oatmeal.
Alternatively, you can do a thirty minute mask with only the honey. Be sure to tie back your hair and avoid any facial piercings while using a mask made from honey to prevent discomfort. Be careful not to lay on pillows or bedding, as the honey can stain cloth and leave residue behind.
You can also use manuka honey has a spot treatment by only applying it directly to acne spots as they appear or as a cleanser by massaging it into your skin for several minutes before rinsing thoroughly and following with a moisturizer of your choice.
What Is the Best Manuka Honey to Buy?
When shopping for manuka honey, make sure yours is labelled as “natural”, “organic”, “raw”, or “unfiltered”. The honey should be manufactured and packaged in New Zealand and have labelling to indicate that it is active honey. There should also be a mark on the labelling indicating the UMF levels.
Some non-reputable vendors will sell mislabelled manuka honey at a lower cost. If the price seems too good to be true, it likely is. It is better to spend a bit more for actual manuka honey than to be scammed into a product that will not be as effective.
The labelling should be clear about where the product was produced and what levels are in the product; anything unclear or possibly fake should be avoided. Fake products increase the chances of a rare allergic reaction so proceed with caution and trust your gut.