Manuka Honey For Skin: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, And More

Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

If you are a natural skincare enthusiast, chances are that you have heard of manuka honey. This star ingredient is making quite a buzz in the skin care circles. From supposedly treating acne to acting as a moisturizing facial cleanser, this ingredient seems to conquer all types of skin woes.

If you, too, have been wanting to get in on the manuka honey beauty trend, this post will help. Read to know more about this powerful ingredient that offers all the goodness of nature and nourishes your skin from the inside out.

What Is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is produced by bees from the nectar of the Manuka bush. It is native to New Zealand and Southeast Australia. Manuka honey possesses excellent storage properties without the need for refrigeration. It is typically mustard-colored and more opaque than its counterparts. It contains sugars, water, enzymes, and vitamins. Manuka honey should contain at least 70% pollen to be called as such (1).

Let us now look at the benefits of manuka honey for the skin.

Benefits Of Manuka Honey For Your Skin

1. Has Antibacterial Properties

Manuka honey has notable antibacterial properties due to the presence of hydrogen peroxide – a natural antibacterial that helps treat wounds and cleanses the skin (2),(3). Honey can effectively make the wound environment less favorable for bacteria (2). Manuka honey can also help treat sore throat, burns, infections, gum issues, Propionibacterium acne (a kind of bacteria associated with acne), indigestion, and gastroesophageal reflux (4),(5).

2. Works As An Antimicrobial Agent

Manuka honey contains antimicrobial ingredients such as methylglyoxal (MGO) and leptosin (2). This inhibits bacterial growth and can enhance wound healing as well as tissue regeneration (6).

3. Has Antioxidant properties

Manuka honey contains propolis, another component of honey, which includes flavonoids and phenolic acids. These contribute to its antioxidant and immuno-stimulant properties (6).

4. Helps Fight Inflammation

Manuka honey soothes the skin and reduces redness. It can also control the activity of neutrophils, which are white blood cells that produce inflammatory proteins (7).

5. May Work As A Natural Humectant

Manuka honey is a natural humectant. It may help draw in and retain moisture, making it an ultra-useful ingredient for moisturizers as well as emollients. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

Let us now look at how you can use manuka honey on your face.

How To Use Manuka Honey On Your Face

Step 1: Make sure your skin is clean before you use manuka as a natural cleanser. This will ensure the manuka honey face mask works better.

Step 2: Post cleansing, gently spread about 1 tablespoon of high-quality manuka honey over your face.

Step 3: Let the manuka honey face mask sit for at least 20-30 minutes to ensure it seeps into your skin.

Note: Your body heat might cause the honey to drip a little. Hence, make sure to wear something that can be washed easily.

Step 4: Rinse off the face mask after 30 minutes. You can use a soft microfiber cloth dipped in warm water to remove the honey.

Step 5: Follow up with a high-quality face serum or moisturizer.

Step 6: Repeat this process at least twice a week for best results.

In the next section, we will look at the top manuka honey recipes that can boost your skin health and glow.

Manuka Honey At Home: DIY Recipes

As A Face Mask

Recipe 1: Manuka Honey And Lavender Face Mask

  • Mix one tablespoon of manuka honey with 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Gently apply to the face and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wipe off with a warm washcloth.

Recipe 2: Manuka Honey And Lemon Face Mask

  • Mix one tablespoon of manuka honey with 1-2 drops of high-quality lemon essential oil.
  • Gently massage your face with this mixture and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash off with a warm washcloth.
  • Ensure you avoid direct sun exposure for 24 hours after using the mask, as lemon oil can make the skin photosensitive to the sun.

Recipe 3: Manuka Honey And Avocado Mask

  • Mix one tablespoon of manuka honey and ½ a ripe avocado.
  • Apply to the face and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash with a warm washcloth.

Recipe 4: Manuka Honey And Almond Oil/Aloe Vera Gel

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of manuka honey with ½ a teaspoon of aloe vera gel/almond oil.
  • You can also add a drop of rosehip oil.
  • After cleansing your face, apply the mask and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Wash it off, pat dry, and moisturize as you generally would.

As A DIY Face Wash

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of manuka honey with a few drops of water or witch hazel.
  • Massage gently onto your face, in circular motions.
  • Gently wash off and pat dry.

As A Spot Treatment

  • Apply manuka honey on the blemish.
  • Cover it with a bandage and leave it on overnight.
  • Alternatively, you can wait until it dries and wash it off.

How Often Should You Use Manuka Honey On Your Face?

Perform a patch test with the honey to see if you are allergic to it. People with sensitive skin may need to take extra care. Apply a small amount to your skin. If you experience any kind of rash or redness, stop use immediately. If you do not experience any kind of irritation, the honey is safe to use.

In terms of the ideal frequency, speak to your dermatologist for proper guidance and care.

Pro Tip: Make sure you purchase raw and unpasteurized manuka honey. Look for an MGO of at least 250, UMF of at least 16+, or K-factor of at least 16. Remember that the higher the rating, the better the quality of the honey.

While manuka honey has many benefits, it is important to be aware of its side effects too. Keep reading to know more.

Risks And Warnings

  • Manuka honey should not be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women in amounts greater than that found in food (2).
  • Do not give manuka honey to children under 12 months of age due to the risk of botulism (2).
  • If you are susceptible to pollen allergies, you may develop sensitivity towards the honey. Speak to your doctor before using or consuming this honey in any form.
  • If you are using oral hypoglycaemic agents or insulin, speak to your doctor before consuming this honey in any form.

Takeaway

Manuka honey possesses a host of healing properties. It acts as a potent antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-biotic, wound healing, and immune-stimulatory properties (4). It is no longer viewed as simple, functional food. It has actual medicinal benefits and excellent moisturizing properties.

Try this all-purpose ingredient and take your skincare game to the next level. Make sure to consult your dermatologist to understand the right frequency of application depending on your skin type and underlying concerns, if any.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Can I use manuka honey on my face every day?

Yes, you can apply it every day if you are not sensitive to it. Make sure to do a patch test.

Does manuka honey remove scars?

Manuka honey can treat wounds. There is no clinical evidence on the honey’s ability to treat scars.

Can manuka honey hydrate my parched skin?

Yes, manuka honey acts as an excellent natural moisturizer due to its high sugar content.

Can manuka honey clog pores?

No, it is not known to clog pores.

Does manuka honey need to be refrigerated?

No, manuka honey does not need to be refrigerated.

How long will manuka honey last?

Natural, properly preserved manuka honey will not expire.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.
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