Honey for Face: 5 Benefits and 10 DIY Mask Recipes
The struggle of getting a glowing, acne-free, smooth skin is real. In the process to achieve it we sometimes fall prey to harmful beauty products. But today I am sharing a natural ingredient that would improve your skin health. Any guesses? Yes, it is Honey for Face – the magical natural beauty product.
Article Information: This article is medically reviewed by Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, Dermatologist, MD, FRCPS(C), and written by Nikita Mayuresh, Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist.
The usage of honey in food and medicine dates back to 8000 years the stone age. The myriad of benefits the golden liquid has to offer is widely acknowledged in the therapeutic field as well.
Why use honey for skin?
The complex chemical concentration of honey is enriched with a wide range of compounds like glucose, fructose, phenols, amino acids, peptides, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
Many Ayurvedic texts have evidence of honey being used to treat skin disorders with topical application.
The unique blend of various compounds renders honey a cure to a broad spectrum of diseases with it’s antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Besides, treating cardiovascular and gastric ailments, honey assists in wound healing, treating cold, and cough.
The antioxidative property is a boon for the skin as it keeps wrinkles and other skin disruptions at bay to bestow a glowing complexion.
While honey is available in various shades of amber, the darker hue has an abundance of antioxidants (1).
Honey comes with a bounty of benefits that have been documented in the ancientest medical literature. It is also one of the best foods for glowing skin. Some of the commonly known benefits are listed below.
Antibacterial and wound healing
The broad-spectrum action of honey against pathogenic bacterias aid in wound healing and preventing infections.
A study of antibacterial activity of honey against strains of Staphylococcus aureus from infected wounds showed good results. The use of Manuka honey on wounds helped in its speedy healing (5).
The hygroscopic virtue dehydrates the bacteria, and the osmotic effect of high sugar concentration imparts a bacteriostatic outcome.
Honey has been known to facilitate wound healing as it retains moisture to accelerate tissue regeneration.
The dressing of burns, skin ulcers, surgical wounds, and inflammations use honey to thwart infection and sepsis.
The pH between 3.2 to 4.5, along with hydroxide presence, imparts antimicrobial effect to honey against 60 bacterial strains and some classes of fungi and viruses.
An evidence-based study shows, low pH can reduce wound colonization or infection and help in the wound healing process (6).
The organic acids, volatile compounds, lysosomes, pollens, beeswax, nectar, and propolis found in honey are effective against pathogenic bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella species, S.pyogens, P.aeruginosa, Helicobacter pylori, etc.
Emollient and Humectant
Humectants are the moisture-retentive compounds, whereas emollients offer smooth and supple skin.
Honey has been used as a part of cosmetic and skin health for ages. The hygroscopic nature contributes to its humectant and emollient properties (7). It helps deeper skin layers to lock moisture in the skin.
Emollients serve as an occlusive agent to trap the moisture retained from humectant in the skin, providing a smooth and supple feel.
Honey is a natural humectant, and with emollient, it is used in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products to prevent dry skin.
Although the history of the use of this golden liquid dates back to ancient ages, it has been embraced by modern science as well.
Various studies and experiments have supported the claims of antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cleansing, and moisturizing properties of honey (8).
The rehydration trait is a boon to people with dry skin. It is a great exfoliator when mixed with lemon and coffee.
Besides, moisturization it effectively peels off the dead skin cells and exposes the clear layer of glowing skin.
Honey, unlike other chemical exfoliating agents, is gentle and beneficial for all skin types. A blend of honey and almond powder is a home exfoliating remedy for clear and soft skin.
Benefits for face
The conventional skin disorder treatment methods have put forward some side effects that have led the researchers to dig into natural sources beneficial for skin health.
Honey is an elixir for skin because of its antimicrobial, humectant, and antioxidant properties.
1. Treatment of acne, psoriasis, and eczema
The ancient literature and Ayurvedic treatment mention the use of honey to treat a range of skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, acne, ringworm, etc.
For the treatment of acne, we still depend on limited antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide. A study suggests that controlling the environment around acne (using honey) can help in suppressing the growth of Propionibacterium acnes (9).
Another recent clinical study involving 26 individuals concludes that Manuka honey shows anti-staphylococcal and immunomodulatory activities. It helps in atopic dermatitis and eczema (10).
The liquid has an immunomodulatory effect on skin that promotes wound healing, tissue regeneration, and scar fading.
Tualang honey safeguards against the photocarcinogenesis due to sun exposure (11).
Kanuka honey, when applied topically, traps the effected area and kills the causative agents of acne.
It also provides relief from inflammation at the acne site. The medical-grade of Kanuka honey has shown positive results in treating psoriasis and dermatitis.
2. Improving skin tone and brightening
Some skin issues might create spots on your skin, and even after the skin problem is cleared you might observe scars left behind.
Honey has properties to improve the skin tone, lighten the scars, and brighten the skin.
It not only helps to even out the skin tone but also imparts a luminous glow by removing the dead skin cells and keeping dryness at a bay.
Apart from this, it is also used to treat a hyperpigmentation disorder called melasma. It lightens the skin shade by interfering with the process of pigment transportation from melanocytes to keratinocytes.
Thus, honey is either applied topically or in the form of cosmetics to obtain fair and glowing skin (12).
3. Honey for scar fading
Honey is enriched with antioxidant compounds that are known to reduce scar from wounds.
It has been used for ages to prevent scar formation and form a protective layer on the wound to retain moisture and promote healing (15).
Honey acts as a catalyst for granulation and the generation of epithelial cells to minimize the chances of scab formation.
Honey contains a good amount of hydrogen peroxide that reduces inflammation and scarring.
A study of scar analysis was carried out on 21 patients to evaluate the scar fading property of Manuka honey. Paste with Manuka honey was applied topically on the surgical wound post thyroidectomy for four weeks. The Manuka honey that comes from Leptospermum tree pollen has shown affirmative results in healing wounds, lacerations, burns, and scars (16).
4. Maintains skin pH
The pH of the skin and hydration are inter-related.
Natural skin surface pH varies between 4.0 to 7.0. If the pH balance of the skin is disturbed, it can lead to dry, scaly skin that will eventually lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (17).
Honey has a pH of 3.9 to 4.4. It has an ample amount of essential amino acids and other organic acids that can provide nourishment to the skin.
The phytocompounds, along with a mixture of 18 different amino acids, help to regulate the skin pH level.
You can avail of these benefits by applying honey on your skin or including it in your diet.
With age, the skin loses elasticity and develops wrinkles and fine lines. It robs the skin of its youthful glow, sedimenting the early signs of aging.
The humectant and emollient property of honey helps to keep the skin in the juvenile state and retards the onset of wrinkles.
The antioxidant phenolic compounds of honey also devour the free oxygen radicals, thereby reducing the signs of wrinkles and aging (18).
Honey can be applied in the form of masks, or honey-infused cosmetics can be used to seal the moisture in the skin.
How to use (10 DIY face masks)
You can find honey as a major ingredient in an assortment of cosmetic skincare products like scrubs, masks, face wash, etc.
However, home remedies for the face with honey have no match. Here are a few homes made honey masks and scrubs for glowing skin.
Follow a standard daily skincare routine if you want to achieve the best results in a short period of time.
1. Honey, yogurt & avocado mask for dry skin
Honey acts as a humectant for dry skin. Yogurt nourishes the skin and makes it soft.
Honey, mashed avocado, yogurt
Take a bowl and mash 1/2 avocado in it. Add 2 tbsp of honey and yogurt each. Blend the mixture well and apply evenly on your face.
Direction for use
Apply the mixture evenly and wash off after 10 minutes.
The mask replenishes the skin as avocado acts as a natural moisturizer.
Yogurt, on the other hand, exfoliates the skin to give a smooth touch.
2. Honey, Kaolin clay & lemon juice mask for oily skin
Oily skin is greasy and tends to invite acne. The pore-clogging with dirt is one of the common reasons for acne formation and this mask will help in clearing the skin pores.
You can also use turmeric face packs as they also have good effect on oily skin.
Honey, kaolin clay, fresh lemon juice
In a bowl take 1 tbsp of kaolin clay, lemon juice, and honey. Mix it well and make sure there are no lumps of clay present. It shall look like a smooth paste.
Direction to use
Apply the mixture evenly on your face. Keep it away from your eyes as lemon can cause irritation.
The mark is applied after a gentle scrub and is rinsed after 25 minutes.
This mixture is helpful in removing excess oil, kill bacteria, and unclogs pores.
3. Honey, rice flour, green tea powder, tea tree oil pack to treat acne
Sometimes we want a quick solution to get rid of acne and this pack can work fast on the pimples.
Honey, rice flour, matcha green tea powder, tea tree oil
Take 2 tbsp of rice flour in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of green tea powder and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Blend the mixture well before use.
Direction to use
Apply on your face to form a mask, keep it for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off.
It soothes the skin and prevents the eruption of acne and pimples.
Read my post on natural face packs for glowing skin to know about other face packs options.
4. Honey, aloe vera & lemon juice mask to fade acne scars
Acne scars can rob of the luster of the skin. Here is a simple mask preparation that will help you fade the scars quickly.
Honey, aloe vera, lemon juice
Take 2 tbsp of aloe vera pulp in a bowl. If you can extract it from the plant its well and good if not then use the pulp available in the market.
Add 1 tbsp of honey and 4-5 drops of lemon juice. Mix well and apply evenly on your skin.
Direction to use
Apply the mask evenly on the skin and wash off after 15-20 minutes.
It also lightens the skin tone and helps to fade the acne scars.
5. Honey, banana & lavender oil mask for all skin types
If you are not sure about your skin type, you can use this mask.
Honey, banana, lavender oil
Mash one banana in a bowl and add 2 tbsp of honey. Add 2-3 drops of lavender oil and blend well to form a mixture.
Direction to use
Apply the mask on your face, keep away from eyes. Rinse off after 10-15 minutes with normal water.
This will help you get rid of skin dirt and make your skin soft and smooth.
You can use coconut oil for dry skin instead of lavender oil.
6. Honey mask for sensitive skin
Sensitive skin is vulnerable to acne and pimples. You need to be more careful while using any beauty products if your skin is sensitive. This mask is suitable for such skin types.
Honey, aloe vera, oatmeal
Take 2 tbsp of oatmeal flour, add 1 tbsp of aloe vera pulp to it. Add 2 tbsp of honey and mix well.
Direction to use
Apply a thick layer of the mask and keep it for 20 minutes before rinsing off.
It hydrates the akin while having an anti-inflammatory effect.
7. Honey, milk, almond oil mask to reduce wrinkles
If you are witnessing first signs of aging i.e., wrinkles, this mask is your go-to solution.
Honey, milk, sweet almond oil, rosehip seed oil
Take 2-3 tbsp of milk and add 2 tbsp of honey to it. Add 1 tbsp sweet almond oil and 4-5 drops of rosehip seed oil. Mix it well and use this mixture to massage your face.
Direction to use
Wash your face after 10-15 minutes.
This mixture is good to reduce wrinkles. Use circular motions while massaging your face.
8. Honey, cocoa butter, nutmeg mask for eczema
This mask is great to treat the dry, flaky skin due to eczema. Honey is one of the best home remedies for dry skin.
Manuka honey, cocoa butter, ground nutmeg, vitamin E oil
Take 1 tbsp of cocoa butter in a bowl and add 1/2 tbsp of ground nutmeg powder. Add 2 tbsp of manuka honey and few drops of vitamin E oil. Mix it well before use.
Direction to use
Apply a thick layer and keep it for 20-30 minutes before rinsing.
It provides nourishment to the skin while forming a protective layer to lock moisture.
9. Honey and apple scrub
Apart from face masks, honey can be used to scrub and exfoliate the skin. You can also use apple cider vinegar for skin glow.
Mash 1/2 apple in a bowl and add 5 tbsp of honey to it. Use the mixture as a scrub.
Direction to use
User gentle circular motions to scrub your face with this mixture. Keep it for 15 minutes and then rinse off.
This scrub helps to remove dead skin and provide smooth, supple skin.
10. Honey, pineapple, milk powder mask for instant glow
This honey mask with pineapple helps to regain the lost luster.
Honey, pineapple, milk power
Take 2 tbsp of mashed pineapple paste and add 2 tbsp of milk powder to it. Add 2 tbs of honey and mix it well.
Direction to use
Apply the mixture evenly and keep it for 10 minutes. Wash off with normal water.
This smooth paste provides instant glow and supple look to the skin.
Potential Side Effects
With the countless bounty of benefits that honey provides, there are a few side effects of the liquid on the skin.
However, direct allergy from honey is very rare, but it might cause health issues if you are allergic to pollen grains, bee venom, or any other component present in honey.
People with pollen allergy might face skin irritation and inflammation that is easily visible on the skin.
Processed honey can lead to skin eruptions and acne breakouts.
Honey, owing to its thick consistency and sticky nature, can be a cumbersome task to remove from the face and is likely to attract dust particles and debris.