We all know that honey is one of nature's most delicious treats, but did you know that there are many topical uses for honey as well?

Honey is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which are wonderful beauty aids that nourish the skin.

Honey is high in vitamin C, a variety of B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid, as well as minerals such as potassium. It is rich in amino acids, the basic building blocks of life, essential to our very existence.

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 and anti-aging. 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. It helps disinfect and speed the healing process in wounds, scrapes and burns.  In addition to the enzymes found in honey, which may help the healing process, honey also contains antioxidants and flavonoids that may function as antibacterial agents. Pinocembrin is the most abundant flavonoid in propolis, and has been proven to have antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

A 1999 study conducted by the University of Wales Institute found that unpasteurised honey produced an antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria found readily in our environment that can cause infections, especially in open wounds. Other reports indicate that honey is effective at inhibiting Escherichia coli and Candida albicans

 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. Like other humectants, honey binds moisture to the skin and helps it stay hydrated.So it not only smooths dry, rough, wrinkled skin, but honey also makes skin supple and plumps up wrinkles. Honey is a valuable moisturizer for your face as well as your body.

Disclaimer: The information presented herein  is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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