6 Minute Read
- Manuka honey has high MGO levels which can be beneficial for your skin.
- The higher the UMF™ grading, the higher the potency, and the more effects it might have on your skin.
- The humectant qualities in manuka honey help to keep your skin supple.
- Alkaline skin might age prematurely. Manuka honey helps to balance the skin’s pH and keep it more towards the acidic side.
- Manuka honey can help fight against acne.
- It’s also great all over your body; not just on your face!
Honey has been gathered and lauded for thousands of years as a beauty-boosting elixir: it’s mentioned in religious texts, in children’s fables, and in mythology.
Even Aphrodite, the mythological Greek goddess of beauty and sensuality, is said to have bathed in honey and applied honey masks to her face to maintain her flawless complexion.
The scientific community has a really keen interest in honey, too. Researchers all over the world are investigating its chemical properties and how they benefit humankind, including in dermatology.
For the earth-dwelling, blemish-battling non-Aphrodites among us, manuka honey masks may just be one of the sweetest, most nourishing, additive-free supplements we can add to our skincare routine.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Why manuka honey is a potent natural beauty product
- The unique properties of manuka honey that make it great for skincare
- How to choose the right manuka honey for your skin
- Favourite recipes for making manuka honey face masks
Why Use Manuka Honey As A Beauty Product?
All honeys are not created equal (but don’t tell the bees!).
Manuka honey is extremely rare. It’s produced only in New Zealand, from the nectar of the endemic Manuka tree flowers.
The key to manuka honey’s power is the nectar. It contains something called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When honey bees drink the nectar, enzymes in their bodies react with the DHA to create a powerful compound called Methylglyoxal (MGO), present in the honey.
All you need to know about the jargon is that MGO is only found in high levels in manuka honey, and the reason it’s so special is because researchers have proven that it can inhibit the growth of bacteria and microbes.
The higher the level of MGO in a jar of honey, the greater its beneficial effects.
That’s great news for your skin!
Manuka Honey Face Masks: Which To Use And Why
In our guide to finding the right manuka honey for your skin, we discuss what helps keep skin healthy, and how manuka honey has helped achieve this for so many years.
Here, we’ll be using some of those findings to pair up skin conditions with the best-suited choice of honey, and how to make your own mask.
Choosing your UMF™ and MGO
The higher the UMF™ and MGO rating, the more potent the manuka honey, and the more concentrated the potential health benefits.
Read more: UMF™ Honey and the UMFHA
All manuka honey grades have active ingredients, though.
The below is a recommendation for the minimum ratings to go for by skin condition.
The highest grade of UMF™ 26+ Manuka Honey can be used across the board, and will give you the best chance at the most benefits. As you’ll see below, however, you may not need to go that high if you don’t want to.
If you are seeking honey to use for medicinal purposes, always check with your physician first.
Let’s dive into healthy skin signals and how manuka honey could help boost yours!
For each, we’ll supply you with an irresistible face mask recipe to make at home and accompany some candles, perhaps a bubble bath, and a little overdue you-time.
Signs of healthy skin and the masks to help you achieve them
Got your jar of manuka honey on order?
Then let’s start assembling the ingredients for your face mask.
Healthy skin is hydrated skin
Studies have found that manuka honey has humectant qualities, soothing and moisturizing skin on a cellular level:
“Mechanisms of action on skin cells are deeply conditioned by the botanical sources [found in manuka honey].”
Honey in dermatology and skincare, a review.
A quick FYI.
Humectant: a substance that absorbs or helps another substance retain moisture, as glycerol.
Who doesn’t want soft, supple skin cells?
The face mask to hydrate your skin: The pure Manuka Honey face mask.
Sticking to pure manuka honey for your face is great for a little boost of luxury, or for a deeper condition.
Depending on whether your skin is on the dry side, or you’re just looking to retain its natural moisture, we recommend UMF™10+ or higher.
How to do it:
- After cleansing, apply a tablespoon of our raw Manuka Honey to your face.
- Gently spread it with your fingertips and leave it on for about half an hour.
- It may melt a little, so perhaps take a moment for yourself and lie down while you let the mask soak into your pores.
Healthy skin is balanced skin
Manuka honey has been found to balance out alkaline skin, even on chronic wounds
“The acidic pH of Manuka honey makes it a potential treatment for lowering wound pH… The use of Manuka honey dressings was associated with a statistically significant decrease in wound pH and a reduction in wound size.”
- Manuka honey dressings use on surface pH of chronic wounds, a clinical trial.
Did you know?
Alkaline skin: skin with an above-average pH level, which may cause the skin to look flaky and red. Skin usually ranges between pH 4 and pH 7, with the average for adults at pH 5.7. Slight acidity is best.
Skin too high on the alkaline scale has been found to age prematurely, compared to more acidic or, ideally, balanced skin.
Balanced skin is important for optimal skin health(1). And if Manuka Honey can balance out elevated alkaline environments in wounds, then imagine what it could do for less intense environments.
Like, say, our faces.
The face mask to balance your skin: The Manuka Honey and rosewater face mask.
What could be any more indulgent than a Manuka Honey face mask? How about one with added rosewater.
The usage of rosewater can be traced back to the 10th century for everything from medicine to fragrance, tonics, and teas:
“It is a long established product with a history of applications in cosmetics, skincare and culinary preparations.”
Studies have found roses and their extracted oils to have potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, similar to manuka honey.
Plus with the fresh floral aroma of rose, what’s not to like?
How to make it:
- Mix rosewater with a tablespoon of UMF™ 15+ Manuka Honey (or your chosen rating) and a dash of cinnamon, which is rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties.
- Gently spread it over your face and leave it on for about half an hour.
- If you can lay down, relax and enjoy!
Healthy skin is clear and protected skin
The studies into manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are what set it apart from other honey types:
“Manuka honey has been widely researched and its antibacterial potential is renowned worldwide.”
- Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity, a study.
As a result, Manuka Honey has made its way into the acne treatment world.
The potential to rid skin of bacteria and waste build up (from skincare or even hair care products), as well as to reduce inflammation and redness, has interested scientists and acne sufferers alike.
“Manuka honey has been studied as an anti-acne product and found to be significantly more effective than other popular products.”
Hydrated, soft, balanced, clean, and clear?
That all sounds pretty ideal.
The face mask for clear and protected skin: The Manuka Honey and turmeric face mask.
One of our favorite things about using manuka honey in skincare is that, as well as having its own potential health benefits, it’s a great vehicle for other powerful natural ingredients too.
And one of those is turmeric.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin, and this mighty little compound is also a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Curcumin has also been found to help boost brain neuron health, lower risk of heart disease, delay ageing, and even help with arthritis.
This is why it’s a perfect partner for manuka honey.
How to make it:
- Mix a teaspoon or so of turmeric with a tablespoon of your chosen rating of manuka honey.
- Add some yoghurt, (this could be dairy or non-dairy), to help mix the ingredients.
- Apply to the face for a cool pore-cleansing mask to soothe skin, leaving it on for at least half an hour.
Let’s Face It, Manuka Honey Is Good Elsewhere Too
Not just a great natural face mask option, you can use manuka honey on other areas of your body too.
If you’ve already booked some self-care time with your face, why not extend that to your body and hair too?
Check out these indulgent body butter and hair mask recipes for a true at-home spa experience:
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