Honey For Acne: 18 Best Ways To Use It For Maximum Benefits

Its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties may be the key to banishing that pesky acne.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS Dr. Zeel Gandhi Dr. Zeel GandhiBAMS
Written by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 3 years

You must have heard a lot about the beneficial effects of using honey for acne – a widely preferred DIY remedy for quick relief. But, while honey may have a soothing and skin-softening effect, does it really help minimize acne? Well, there are possibilities. However, if you are allergic to pollen, you might be allergic to a few types of honey, and in that case, you have to be careful.

Honey does not interact with other acne medications you might be using. Therefore, it is safe for topical use but do a patch test to avoid side effects. This article explores why honey is effective against acne, how it works, and what type of honey you must use for best results. Keep reading.

  • Raw Honey

Raw honey (or any natural honey) is flower nectar and is produced by bees after they collect the nectar from the flowers. Raw honey contains propolis, a substance that the bees use to seal their hive, which has antimicrobial properties. In vitro studies have concluded that honey has medicinal usage and is effective on dermatologically relevant microbes (3). However, none of the studies are conclusive and need further research.

Honey is rich in antioxidants (flavonoids), vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and certain enzymes. It is non-comedogenic, which is why it is recommended for acne treatment. Its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial antioxidant, healing, and cleansing properties make it useful in managing acne (4).

  • Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is prepared by bees that gather pollen only from the Manuka trees found in Australia and New Zealand. It is a non-peroxide type of honey, which means the enzymes present in it do not produce hydrogen peroxide when applied to the skin.

Manuka honey possesses antimicrobial properties. This activity can be attributed to its low pH levels and high sugar content. Apart from this difference, Manuka honey shares the other qualities of raw honey. It also helps to heal infections and wounds. Its antioxidant content is also similar to raw honey (5).

Morgan, a blogger, shared her amazing experience of using manuka honey for her cystic acne. Discussing her results, she writes, “The cystic acne that had been big, sore, red lumps on my neck had gone down and were no longer raised and my skin felt better than it has done in the last six months. I seriously couldn’t believe how effective such a simple thing as honey could be on my skin. From that day I have been hooked on Manuka honey as a skincare product and it is now all that I wash my face with in the mornings (i).”

According to a study, naturally darker honey contains more antioxidants (4). Now you know which honey to buy for your skin. In the next section, we have discussed the ways you can use honey for managing acne at home.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Besides treating pimples, honey may help reduce scars caused by acne due to its wound healing properties (4).

How To Use Honey For Acne

Before you proceed, keep in mind that just because the treatment is a natural remedy doesn’t mean it’s safe. You may be allergic to a lot of natural ingredients. While one or two of the natural remedies may work for you, and some may even have research backing, do not experiment with DIY remedies for acne. Your first point of contact should be your doctor.

1. Turmeric And Honey

Turmeric and honey for acne
Image: Shutterstock

Turmeric has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for centuries for its antiseptic and healing properties. It has therapeutic benefits and can improve skin conditions, including acne. However, further studies are required for a better evaluation of its efficacy (6).

In combination with honey, it forms a potent mix to deal with acne. To use this, mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder with honey and apply it on your face. Wash it off after 20 minutes.

2. Honey And Cinnamon Face Mask

Cinnamon possesses anti-inflammatory properties. A study done of 20 patients with mild to moderate acne found that cinnamon gel helped reduce acne lesions (7). Together, with honey, it can help calm acne and provide skin irritation relief.

You can mix a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with honey and use it as a spot treatment.

Precaution: Cinnamon may cause skin irritation. While minor irritation is common, do a patch test before application.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar And Honey For Acne

Apple cider vinegar and honey for acne
Image: Shutterstock

People cannot stop raving about the effect of ACV on their skin and acne. It probably works by altering the skin pH level, which eventually kills the bacteria. However, there’s no research backing this fact.

You may dilute a teaspoon of ACV with a teaspoon of water and mix it with honey. Apply the mixture to your face and wash it off later.

4. Oatmeal And Honey For Acne

Colloidal oatmeal (boiled oats) has cleansing properties as it contains saponinsi  Naturally occurring compounds found in all the cells of legume plants, especially in soapwort, soapbark tree, and soybeans. that help remove all impurities from the skin. It soothes the skin and reduces inflammation (8).

You can boil oatmeal, mix it with honey, and apply it as a face mask. Keep it on for a minimum of 15 minutes and then wash off.

5. Honey And Sugar Scrub For Acne

Honey and sugar scrub for acne
Image: Shutterstock

Ground sugar is an excellent option for a natural scrub (due to its coarse texture). You can mix it with honey and use it on your skin. It helps to clean dead skin cells by gently exfoliating them. However, make sure to rub it on your face gently. Harsh skin exfoliation and rubbing can irritate the skin and aggravate acne.

6. Honey And Nutmeg

Nutmeg is another popular DIY ingredient used in homemade masks and scrubs. It might have a slightly exfoliating effect.

You may try using it with honey, which balances its exfoliating effect and helps with skin moisturization. Mix a teaspoon of nutmeg powder with honey and use it as a spot treatment or a face mask.

7. Sea Salt And Honey For Acne

Sea salt helps to improve the barrier’s skin repair function (9). Along with honey, sea salt may help soothe your skin, boost skin hydration, and prevent inflammation and acne.

Mix a teaspoon of honey with sea salt. You may dissolve the salt in hot water and then add honey to it. Apply the mixture to your face and let it dry.

8. Coconut Oil And Honey For Acne

Using coconut oil (extra virgin coconut oil) can be tricky because it doesn’t suit all skin types, especially oily skin types, and may aggravate acne. However, it has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is beneficial for inflammatory conditions like psoriasisi  A common, chronic skin condition that causes flare-ups, resulting in itchy and scaly patches on the skin. and atopic dermatitisi  A chronic skin condition that causes irritation, dryness, inflammation, and red rashes on the skin. (10).

Mix a teaspoon of extra virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil with honey and massage on your face. Wash it later.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also try other carrier oils like sweet almond oil, argan oil, and rosehip seed oil instead of coconut oil with honey.

9. Tea Tree Oil And Honey For Acne

According to a study, 5% of tea tree oil can help reduce mild to moderate acne (11). However, make sure that you are not allergic to it. Also, dilute it with some carrier oil before using it on your skin.

You can mix 2-3 drops of diluted tea tree oil with honey and massage on your skin. Wash it off after some time.

10. Green Tea And Honey For Acne

Green tea may have a lot of health benefits when consumed. However, its topical treatment benefits are not well-studied. People mostly use it for its skin-soothing effects.

You can mix freshly brewed green tea with honey and then apply it to your skin.

11. Honey And Lemon Mask

Honey and lemon for acne
Image: Shutterstock

Citric acid is the primary AHAi  Alpha hydroxy acid; a class of organic acids that occur naturally in fruits, milk, and sugar cane. naturally found in lemon. This AHA may aid skin rejuvenation by improving the skin renewal rate (12). However, people often use lemon for its astringenti  The property of a substance that helps draw out water from the tissues, causing them to shrink. effect on the skin.

Mix a few drops of lemon juice with honey and apply it to your face. Wash it off after some time. Be cautious while using lemon. As it is rich in Vitamin C, it may make your skin photosensitivei  An abnormal reaction of the skin characterized by certain symptoms or conditions due to exposure to the UV rays from sunlight. . Use sunscreen while going out after using lemon.

12. Tomato And Honey For Acne

Tomato is said to have a toning effect on the skin. It contains lycopene that protects the skin from photodamage (13).

You can puree a small tomato, mix it with honey, and apply it on your skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing it off.

13. Neem And Honey For Acne

Neem has been used for ages in Ayurvedic medicine and home remedies. The extracts of this medicinal tree have antimicrobial properties and are effective against S. Aureus bacteria (those cause pimples and boils) (14).

You can mix neem leaves paste with honey and apply it to your face. Wash it off after it dries.

14. Red Sandalwood And Honey

In Ayurveda, red sandalwood or rakta Chandan is used for treating inflammation and promoting wound healing (15). People often used it in home remedies for its healing effect.

If you want to use red sandalwood for acne, mix a teaspoon of red sandalwood powder with a teaspoon of honey and apply it to the affected area. Wash it off after 15-20 minutes. Remember to do a patch test to check if you are allergic to it.

15. Honey And Olive Oil Face Mask

In rat and mice studies, topical application of olive oil promoted wound healing, reduced oxidative damage, and fostered dermal reconstruction. In a controlled trial, a mixture of olive oil, honey, and sesame oil was found to prevent infection in burn wounds. However, olive oil can also hamper the skin barrier function when tested on both humans and mice (16).

If you want to use olive oil, you may mix it with honey and then massage it on the affected area. Let it stay for some time and then wash off.

16. Honey And Milk Mask

Milk has been used from time immemorial to cleanse the skin. It contains lactic acid and is thought to have a gentle cleansing and exfoliating effect on the skin.

You can mix milk and honey and then apply with cotton pads on your skin.

17. Aloe Vera And Honey For Acne

Aloe vera and honey for acne
Image: Shutterstock

Aloe vera has an anti-acne effect. It also stimulates the fibroblasts in your skin that produce collagen and elastin. This improves skin quality and health (17).

You can mix freshly squeezed aloe vera pulp and honey and apply it as a face mask. Keep it for some time and then wash it off.

18. Aspirin And Honey For Acne

aspirin and honey for acne
Image: IStock

Aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate acne symptoms when used topically. However, scientific research on its effectiveness is limited. While some anecdotal evidence also supports its use for spot treatment, more rigorous studies are needed to establish its reliability as an acne remedy.

Crush 2-3 uncoated aspirin tablets into a fine powder and mix it with 1 tablespoon of honey to form a paste. Apply the mask to your face, focusing on acne-prone areas, and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat your face dry. You can use this mask 2-3 times a week, but discontinue if any irritation occurs.

These were some easy home remedies you can try at home for pimple prevention. However, you have to be careful while using natural remedies. Make sure that the honey that you are using is raw or unadulterated. You can even use manuka, honey.

Also, natural remedies may cause side effects, especially allergic reactions. Hence, you must do a patch test before using any ingredient.

Acne management is all about maintaining a healthy skincare routine, both externally and internally. While you use acne medication and try these remedies to take proper care of your skin from the outside, also make sure that you are eating healthy. A holistic approach is what you need to manage acne effectively.

Infographic: Tips To Prevent Acne

Though it may seem that everyone needs to deal with acne someday or the other, a few tips and precautions can help you reduce the frequency of its occurrence. Maintaining basic hygiene, healthy eating, being aware of your skin type, and using suitable skin care products can go a long way in maintaining skin health and staying acne-free. Check out the infographic below to get a clear idea.

tips to prevent acne (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Honey is a popular ingredient in home remedies. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and skin cleansing properties of honey make it beneficial in treating acne breakouts. You may use honey for acne-prone skin by preparing face masks and scrubs. To reap maximum benefits, you can combine honey with other ingredients like oats, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The list of remedies mentioned above may help you solve your acne breakouts and prevent them from occurring again. However, always do a patch test if you use these ingredients for the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of honey should be used on the face?

Raw, unadulterated, and manuka honey.

Does drinking honey help acne?

Drinking honey helps in maintaining a healthy body and skin.

Can you leave honey on your face overnight?

That won’t be much comfortable.

Does honey get rid of spots?

No, you need to consult a dermatologist.

Does honey help with acne scars?

Scar management needs proper treatment and a good skincare routine. Consult a doctor for this. Natural remedies may not be that effective.

How long does honey take to clear up acne?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that using honey every day can help clear acne in a few months. However, there is no scientific study to confirm this.

Does drinking honey cause acne?

There is no evidence suggesting that drinking honey mixed in water or other beverages can cause or worsen acne. On the contrary, it is popularly believed that honey can benefit the skin due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties (1), (3).

Should I wash my face with soap after applying honey?

No, washing your face with soap is never recommended as soap can strip away the natural skin oils and reduce skin moisture. Ideally, wash your face with lukewarm water after using honey.

Key Takeaways

  • Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey help manage acne.
  • A face mask made of honey and cinnamon can help reduce and calm acne.
  • Saponins in oatmeal have cleansing properties and, in combination with honey, help soothe and reduce inflammation.
  • The lactic acid in milk gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin.
honey for acne

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to use honey to treat acne and for clearer skin! Watch the video to discover the natural benefits of honey and how it can help your skin regain its glow.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin, Central Asian Journal of Global Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research, Pharmacognosy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  3. Honey: A realistic antimicrobial for disorders of the skin, Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, ScienceDirect.
  4. Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee’s Honey – A review, Ayu, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  6. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence., Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  7. Efficacy of topical cinnamon gel for the treatment of facial acne vulgaris: A preliminary study, Biomedical Research and Therapy, BioMedPress,
  8. Colloidal oatmeal: history, chemistry and clinical properties., Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  9. Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin., International Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  10. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  11. The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study., Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  12. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin, Molecules, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  13. Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial., The British Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  14. The antimicrobial activity of Azadirachta indica,Mimusops elengi,Tinospora cardifolia,Ocimum sanctum and 2% chlorhexidine gluconate on common endodontic pathogens: An n vitro study, European Journal of Dentistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  15. Therapeutic Potential of Pterocarpus santalinus L.: An Update, Pharmacognosy Review, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  16. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  17. Aloe Vera: A Short Review, Indian Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
Was this article helpful?
Dr. Zeel Gandhi is an Ayurvedic doctor with 7 years of experience and an expert at providing holistic solutions for health problems encompassing Internal medicine, Panchakarma, Yoga, Ayurvedic Nutrition, and formulations. She graduated as a top ranker from Dr. D.Y.Patil College of Ayurveda and Research Centre , Navi Mumbai, and is a specialist in Panchakarma therapies. She believes that Ayurveda...read full bio