As the editor of a digital wellness magazine, I’ve had the opportunity to try – and review – a lot of different products and skincare routines. And I mean a lot. From experimenting with hardcore chemical peels in my pre-organic days, through to exploring shiny new natural skincare lines in more recent times, I’ve pretty much done it all. However, as with most good things, it turned out that what I was looking for (smooth, soft, pimple-free skin) was right in front of my eyes … and on the top shelf of my pantry: honey. Yep. Honey.
Now, I don’t mean a pre-made and pre-packaged honey cleanser that you buy from a store, but rather whole, honest to goodness, straight-from-the-jar honey. The type of honey that you put on your toast. The type of honey you mix in with your raw treats. The type of honey that is practically radiating with delicious, skin-promoting goodness.
So, how can honey give you the skin of a goddess?
The health benefits of honey have been recorded as far back as 320 BC by Aristoxenus and between 384 – 322 BC by Aristotle. The ancient Romans, as well as Vedic and Islamic texts jumped on the bandwagon long ago and waxed lyrical about honey’s healing qualities.
Here are some highlighted benefits of using honey as a skin cleanser.
1. Honey is a natural anti-bacterial.
According to Dr. Rowena Jenkins from the University of Wales Institute, “Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time.” Anti-bacterial pretty much means that it will kill any bacteria – like those that clog up your pores and cause pimples.
2. Honey is a natural healing agent.
Did you notice the first half of Dr. Jenkins comment? Honey has known wound healing abilities. This means that any existing pimples or cuts you have may be healed and soothed by applying honey topically.
3. Honey can reduce inflammation.
This goes hand-in-hand with its anti-bacterial and wound healing qualities, which in short means goodbye angry, red, and inflamed skin!
4. Honey is super hydrating.
Science hasn’t been able to back this up yet, but I know from my own personal experience that honey is a lot gentler than most typical cleansers, leaving my skin feeling decadently nourished.
5. Honey contains antioxidants.
Antioxidants are the little guys who fight free radicals — which as cool as they sound, aren’t very good for you. Free radicals have been linked with inflammation and – wait for it – premature aging of the skin. In short, honey supports you in achieving soft, healthy, and younger-looking skin by sending in troops to fight those wrinkle bandits on your behalf.
6. Honey has a low pH.
Studies from the University of Waikato reveal that most honey formulations fall between 3.2 and 4.5 on the pH scale, which is far too low for bacterial species such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Streptococcus to thrive. Our skin also prefers low pH and slightly acidic materials.
7. Honey is a potent acne fighter.
Firstly, because it’s an anti-bacterial. Secondly, because it reduces inflammation. Thirdly, because it contains antioxidants. What a beautiful triple whammy!
How does it work?
Just like your store-bought cleansing products, using honey as a facial cleanser is as easy as opening up the tub, scooping out about between a teaspoon to tablespoon of honey, and then massaging it gently into your skin. I recommend wetting your face and hands before scooping the honey out. As soon as you add water, honey ceases to be sticky.
Please note: honey doesn’t do the best job at removing make-up. So if you need to scrub off foundation or mascara then I recommend exploring some other pre-cleansing options like jojoba oil or argan oil.
What honey should you use?
The more natural, the better. Aim for something that’s unpasteurized, raw, organic, and unfiltered. A lot of honey is heat treated, which eliminates the good stuff like nutrients and enzymes.
#Protip: Try Manuka honey. This is what I used during my honey experiment (to great success). It’s pretty much the star of the honey market. It is more expensive though, so keep that in mind when you’re checking out your options.
But wait, what’s the matter with your existing cleanser?
Good question. And honestly, I’m not sure … mainly because I don’t know what type of cleanser you use. But I won’t lie: there are a lot of good cleansers out there. I’m not totally anti-cleanser. In the same vein, there are a lot of cleansers that are too alkaline and chemical-based too.
If you’re looking for a more natural alternative – or if you’re simply keen to give something new a try – then why not try honey for a few days? At the very least, you’ll give your skin a break from your regular products. As a bonus, you’ll smell deliciously sweet all day long.
Featured photo credit: picjumbo.com_HNCK4959 via google.com.au