Honey for Skin Care
When you think of honey, what do you see in your mind? Do you see that little bear container filled with the amber syrup? Or, do you see the little girl on the jar of Sue Bee honey that I remember as a kid? Most people have some memory attached to honey. Honey however is proving to be worth so much more than a comfort food-memory maker.
The honey of most of our youths, the one we came to know and love, was a light amber color. Yet, like most things in our lives today, we have more choices available. Now we can find honey ranging from almost colorless to very dark, almost black. This wide range of color is dependent on what nectars the bees have available to forage.
Full of amazing properties, you may have heard that honey was found in the pyramids-preserved and edible. So it has an amazing shelf life! Beat that!
It is making its mark in the skin care, beauty, and healthcare industries. Not just those wanting organic and natural products, it is proving itself to be a valuable tool in the mainstream also.
Let's focus on skin to begin with. In the simplest terms, honey is a natural humectant. This is the ability to attract moisture and hold it. People with oily skin conditions especially find this helpful, moisture without oiliness.
Honey is a wonderful ingredient in facial masks and in other beauty products. Here are a few recipes to get you started and leave your skin feeling pampered and healthy.
Oatmeal and Honey Cleanser
1 tablespoon Honey
2 tablespoons Oatmeal (If you use Old Fashioned Oats, Whirr for a moment in coffee grinder or food processor
½ teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (I like Bragg's Organic)
Optional: ½ teaspoon Oil (Sweet Almond, Emu, Jojoba, Rice Bran, Grapeseed, Olive, etc) this is really nice if your skin is dry. Omit if you have oily skin.
Mix together and massage gently over face. If you desire, leave on for 5 minutes or so. Rinse with warm water. For a really delicious experience, warm the mixture slightly prior to massaging on face.
Here is a nice one from the National Honey Board http://www.honey.com/
Honey Blueberry Facial Mask
½ cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup Honey
½ cup Plain Yogurt
Rinse blueberries and place in blender or food processor. Add the honey and yogurt, blend until smooth. With fingertips and a light touch, smooth over face. Let remain for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and a damp cloth.
Here is one that is easy and leaves you feeling so silky.
Oatmeal Honey and Milk Bath
¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Buttermilk
¼ cup Oatmeal (ground for a bit in blender, food processor, or coffee grinder)
Just add to the bath and soak. If you like you can add another ¼ cup of a skin loving oil. Just take care as this will make the bath tremendously slippery. If you want to make it more luxuriant add a few drops of a skin safe essential oil like lavender. Cleopatra was a lover of honey and milk baths. Do we need to say more?
In the health care realm, honey is being tested on burns, pressure sores (aka decubitus ulcers), surgical incisions, acne, and more. It has had amazing results. Honey has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of wounds of all kinds. We are now showing scientific studies to back up what the ancients were putting into practice.
It seems the type of honey with the most antibacterial activity is Manuka Honey. This honey, from New Zealand, has an antibacterial activity referred to as "Unique Manuka Factor". You will sometimes see a "UMF" number on this honey. That means that it has been laboratory tested and assigned this number, assessing its potency. The higher the number, the higher the antibacterial activity.
Honey is being tested by placing it directly on wounds, or on the dressings for the wound. The results have been remarkable. It has even been effective against the pathogens MRSA (Methicillan Resistant Staph. Aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci)-very nasty, tough bugs. It is also showing that it can reduce scarring and pain in burns.
Sweet in more ways than the obvious. Honey, it's not just for toast anymore.