The Latest Buzz: Beauty Treatments Using Honey
Can’t spend the day at a beauty spa? You can still get a sweet treatment. All-natural honey has been used as a beauty product since the days of Cleopatra and it continues to be used today in manufactured and homemade products for skin and hair care. Honey is a natural humectant, which means it has the ability to attract and retain moisture. The skin’s ability to stay moist (or hydrated) is an important factor in its ability to maintain softness, suppleness and elasticity. As skin ages, or as it is exposed to environmental stresses and chemical agents, it loses its ability to retain water; it becomes dry and appears wrinkled. Honey’s natural hydrating properties make it ideal for use in moisturizing products. Because is also suitable for sensitive skin products.
Studies have also revealed that honey has significant natural antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play a role in protecting the skin from the damage of UV rays, and aiding in skin rejuvenation. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause skin damage, premature aging and even skin cancer. The Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association reports that, because chemical and physical barrier sunscreens can cause skin irritation, companies are researching the use of antioxidants, anti-irritants and moisturizers in sun care products. Honey has potentialfor use in these products.
A recent review of medical research documents honey’s effectiveness as an antimicrobial agent. Antimicrobial agents inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. According to Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home, "Honey’s antimicrobial properties make it useful for the treatment of minor acne flare-ups. Also, unlike some acne treatments, honey doesn’t dry the skin." Honey is antimicrobial for many reasons, including its high sugar content, which limits the amount of water available to bacteria for growth; its relatively high acidity (low pH); and its low protein content, which deprives bacteria of nitrogen needed for growth. The presence in honey of hydrogen peroxide, and the antioxidants honey contains, also inhibit bacterial growth.
Honey’s prospects in skin care are looking even sweeter; research is currently underway to develop a process using honey to create alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). AHAs are an important ingredient in many skin creams and moisturizers because they help exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation increases the renewal of the skin cells and gives skin a younger, more vibrant look. Exfoliation can also cause skin irritation, so honey’s natural moisturizing ability makes it a perfect fit for AHA products.
Soothing Skin Clarifier (for minor acne flare-ups)
Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a cotton ball, apply directly to blemish. Maintain pressure with cotton ball for several minutes, to soften blemish. Using a cotton swab, dab honey on blemish; leave on 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Firming Facial Mask
Whisk together 1 tablespoon honey, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon glycerin (available at drug and beauty stores) and enough flour to form a paste. Smooth over face and throat. Leave on 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
Mix 1/2 cup honey with 1/4 cup olive oil. (Use 2 tablespoons oil for normal to oily hair.) Using a small amount at a time, work mixture through hair until coated. Cover hair with a shower cap; leave on 30 minutes. Remove shower cap; shampoo well and rinse. Dry as normal.
The National Honey Board - For more recipes using honey visit www.honey.com