They call honey the “nectar of the Gods,” and based on its myriad benefits, it makes perfect sense why. Beyond simply being a natural sweetener for your tea, honey is a decadent beauty elixir with countless healing properties. Specifically, there are particular benefits of manuka honey for skin that go above and beyond. For some quick background: Manuka honey is a stronger, darker variety created by bees that feed on manuka flowers, which are found in New Zealand. Interestingly, the use of honey in skin care dates back to ancient times, according to Chicago-based dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology, Dr. Caroline Robinson. “Ancient cultures around the world have appreciated [honey’s] benefits, and it has been used for skin ailments like wounds and burns since B.C.,” she says. The great news is that you don’t have to rely exclusively on DIY recipes to incorporate it into your skin-care routine; it’s now easier than ever to find manuka honey in elegant formulas. It's been popping up in products like soothing shower gels and nourishing body butters and conditioners, all that are infused with the skin-loving ingredient. More on that below, along with some of the key skin-care benefits we love manuka honey for.
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A Potent Antibacterial
“Manuka honey has many skin benefits, but its main benefit is related to its ability to fight off bad bacteria, fungus, and other microbes that might grow on compromised skin,” says Robinson. Manuka honey, in other words, is an ideal ingredient for a body wash. Just don't rely on it as your sole defense against bacne, advises Robinson. While it does have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, she says it may not be a replacement for traditional acne treatments.
While it’s good for all skin types, those with dry skin will especially love its humectant qualities, which help draw in moisture. “Manuka honey is effective at hydrating the skin, which is why we have started to see this ingredient pop up in many face masks, moisturizers, and body washes,” says Robinson. And while it may not replace a medical therapy for eczema sufferers, Robinson says these patients may actually also benefit from the hydrating qualities of a manuka-honey-infused body wash. We love Kiwi Botanicals Soothing Shower Gel With Manuka Honey, a sulfate- and paraben-free formula that helps relieve stressed, dry skin in seconds. Just lather it up all over, and then rinse.
A Skin Healer
An interesting quality of manuka honey is that it actually helps skin repair itself. “Its potent anti-microbial effect helps wound healing by encouraging the skin’s natural repair mechanisms to work at their best,” says Robinson. This quality makes manuka honey inherently soothing.
There is also evidence that manuka honey has mild exfoliating effects. Its anti-microbial properties help slough away dead skin cells. Try an in-shower body conditioner like Kiwi Botanicals Nourishing Body Conditioner with Manuka Honey & Shea Butter for Dry Skin, which helps renew stressed skin. The added bonus of shea butter acts as an anti-inflammatory. Simply massage all over your skin, and rinse off in the shower.