Honey, Honey: A Closer Look at the Buzz-Worthy Ingredient

Honey, that celebrated natural sweetener, has long been one of our favorite condiments. While the amber nectar does wonders drizzled into a steaming cup of tea or added to a stir fry sauce (seriously—yummm), we love it even more for its sweet effects on our skin. Cleopatra is said to have taken milk and honey baths to keep her complexion supple, and now science has given us a wealth of reasons to follow suit. Behold, the many skincare uses of this precious nectar.

Moisturizer

Honey is a natural humectant, meaning the sugar-rich substance attracts and traps moisture in the skin. Loaded with nourishing vitamins and amino acids, it cranks up skin’s elasticity and soothes irritation (and can do the same for parched hair—keeping strands both hydrated and lustrous). Manuka honey in particular can be found in treatments for eczema and other dry skin woes. You can apply honey directly to your skin as a hydrating mask—or, avoid a sticky situation and reach for Bee Kind’s Body Lotion, made with real honey and none of the bad stuff.

Healer

Honey’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties are well documented, making honey a legitimate treatment for burns and other persistent skin wounds. Not to get all Grey’s Anatomy on you, but when an open wound comes into contact with honey, the nectar releases an enzyme that can effectively fend off infections and allow the sore to fully heal. Not only does it function as an antiseptic, but the golden goo creates a breathable, skin-like veil over cuts, acting as a kind of natural BAND-AID. (Only problem is, you can’t wear it under pantyhose.)

Skin Savior

With its high concentration of antioxidants (think: vitamins E and C), honey works as a natural after sun gel, soothing sunburn à la aloe vera while helping skin regenerate healthy new cells. And while we’re not saying to go ahead and reach for that bear-shaped bottle instead of your daily SPF, it never hurts to have this health-giving food working overtime to repair UV damage and help your skin recover. So the next time you experience sunbather’s remorse, ease your woes (and conscience) by slathering on some of Pooh’s favorite semi-solid.

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