- Honey face masks are easy to make, apply and incorporate into a weekly skin care routine.
- Dark, raw honey varieties like Manuka honey are antioxidant-rich and support wound healing.
- Honey can be used on its own as a face mask, or it can be combined with a number of natural ingredients like lemon juice and aloe vera to maximize the mask’s beneficial properties.
- Anyone who is allergic to bee pollen, bee stings, bee-derived products or honey should not apply a honey face mask.
A honey face mask is a simple, popular natural skin care treatment that is purported to rejuvenate the skin, fight bacteria and combat inflammation. Honey face masks can be made at home with other beneficial ingredients from your kitchen, or masks that contain honey can be purchased commercially.
Do Honey Face Masks Work?
Honey is widely touted as a skin moisturizer, mild exfoliant, antioxidant powerhouse, natural acne treatment and skin rejuvenator. It has scientifically proven anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it an excellent potential addition to a natural skin care regimen.
Honey’s role in wound healing dates back to ancient civilizations, and it works as a vehicle to drive other active ingredients from a face mask deeper into the skin. Face masks’ purpose is to help deliver a highly concentrated dose of active ingredients to your skin through a deep-penetrating treatment, so honey could be an ideal way for some people to treat their skin.
Honey Face Mask Benefits
Using a face mask with honey may deliver immediate benefits like softer, smoother skin and noticeably calmer skin tone due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Honey has been found to heal burns and help prevent scar tissue from forming.
In addition to its abilities to heal and soothe inflamed skin, honey contains beneficial antioxidants. The darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant content.
Honey face mask for acne
While some believe honey is an effective anti-acne treatment, that may not be the case. Even though honey has been studied and shown to kill multiple types of bacteria, it hasn’t yet been proven to kill the type of bacteria that causes acne. In terms of results, honey is more likely to soothe irritation in an active acne breakout than it is to prevent breakouts in the future.
Although honey by itself may not fight acne-causing bacteria, some studies show that combining honey with cinnamon may help combat it.
Which Honey Is Best for Face Masks
Honey is at its most potent and effective when it’s unpasteurized, unprocessed, and dark in color. When honey has been processed, it loses some of its natural antibacterial effects; so if for optimal results, raw honey is best.
Manuka honey, a type of honey from New Zealand, is a common natural ingredient in face masks. Methylglyoxal, an antibacterial component found in honey, is more highly concentrated in Manuka honey; therefore, Manuka honey is often recommended as a preferable form of honey to be used in skin care.
There isn’t sufficient scientific evidence, however, to support the idea that Manuka honey is more effective than other varieties of raw honey. Some research indicates that Manuka honey isn’t any more effective than honey from buckwheat or acacia.
How to Use a Honey Face Mask
Incorporating a honey face mask into your skin care regimen is simple, whether commercially purchased or made at home. Apply your honey face mask a few times per week for best results.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser prior to honey face mask application.
- Gently apply your honey face mask to your skin.
- Leave on for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse off and continue your skin care routine.
DIY Honey Face Mask Ingredients
Honey can be used as a face mask by itself, but it also combines well with other natural ingredients from your kitchen to make an easy-to-apply face mask mixture. You can boost honey’s natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and skin lightening properties by combining it with ingredients such as cinnamon, lemon, turmeric or aloe vera.
Cinnamon has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to honey. Because cinnamon has also been found to combat acne-causing bacteria, adding it to your DIY face mask mixture might help prevent future breakouts.
Honey is touted as a natural skin-brightening treatment, possibly because it contains hydrogen peroxide, a whitening agent. Combining honey with lemon juice, a melanin inhibitor, could help you achieve a brighter, rejuvenated complexion. And, like honey, the Vitamin C in lemon juice is a natural exfoliant; the combined exfoliating action of honey and lemon, plus honey’s ability to moisturize, should leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, has proven anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the skin associated with acne and sensitivity. Combined with honey’s natural ability to fight inflammation, the two ingredients could be a calming powerhouse for your skin. Use turmeric powder with caution, however, since its bright orange hue can stain skin.
Aloe vera is another powerful natural remedy with soothing, healing benefits for the skin. It is also known as a skin lightener and, along with lemon juice, is frequently used to minimize the appearance of acne scars. The combination of honey and aloe could be a powerful weapon against skin conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Should You Use a Honey Face Mask?
If you want to reduce acne symptoms like inflammation, redness, and even lightening acne scars, honey face masks could be a great choice for you. Honey is suitable for topical use on all skin types, including sensitive skin, and should be safe for most people to use.
People who are allergic to bee pollen, honey, bee stings or other bee-derived products should avoid using honey topically, as it may cause an allergic reaction. Bee pollen allergies are rare, but they can cause serious–sometimes fatal–allergic reactions.
Symptoms of honey or bee pollen allergy may include:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Asthmatic symptoms like wheezing
- Excessive sweating
- Stinging upon topical application
If you’re unsure whether you’re allergic, do a small patch test on your skin before applying honey to your face.
Alternatives to Honey Face Masks
There are natural, DIY and over-the-counter face mask formulations available that can be used as an alternative to honey. You can find alternative masks with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, acne-fighting and soothing properties that work well for a wide range of skin types.
- Cream and gel masks work well for people with dry or sensitive skin. A formulation that contains hyaluronic acid can replenish moisture, while niacinamide goes to work soothing red, sensitive skin.
- Sheet masks can moisturize dry skin, and are best for people with normal to dry skin that isn’t prone to acne.
- Clay and charcoal masks help to clear pores and remove excess oil from the skin, thus smoothing the skin’s surface. When combined with anti-inflammatory ingredients like green tea, clay and charcoal masks can also help to combat acne.
- Aloe vera face masks formulated without honey can also be an excellent source of skin-healing nutrients.
Honey has a wide variety of historical uses related to skin care. Recent scientific studies support the idea that honey is beneficial in treating a large number of skin issues by applying a face mask made with honey. When combined with other healing ingredients, honey could be an especially beneficial natural skin treatment.