- Honey face masks are easy to make, apply and incorporate into a weekly skin care routine.
- Dark, raw varieties such as Manuka honey are antioxidant-rich and support wound healing.
- Honey can be used on its own as a facial mask, or combined with a number of natural ingredients such as lemon juice and aloe vera for maximum benefits.
- Anyone who is allergic to bee pollen or venom, bee-derived products or honey, should not apply this mask.
A honey face mask is a simple, popular natural skin care treatment that is said to rejuvenate and brighten the skin, fight bacteria and combat inflammation. These masks can be made at home with other beneficial ingredients from your kitchen, or purchased.
Do Honey Face Masks Work?
Honey’s role in wound healing dates back to ancient civilizations. It is widely used as a skin moisturizer, mild exfoliant, natural acne treatment and skin rejuvenator. It has scientifically proven anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it an excellent addition to a natural skin care regimen.
It is also a natural, antioxidant-rich skin-brightening treatment, possibly because it contains hydrogen peroxide, a whitening agent.
Face masks help deliver a highly concentrated dose of active ingredients to your skin through a deep-penetrating treatment. Honey also works as a vehicle to drive other face mask ingredients deeper into the skin.
Honey Face Mask Benefits
Using a face mask with honey provides immediate benefits such as softer, smoother skin and noticeably calmer skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to its abilities to heal and soothe inflamed skin, honey contains beneficial antioxidants.
Honey face mask for acne
While some believe honey is an effective anti-acne treatment, this may not be the case. Even though it 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, it is more likely to soothe irritation in an active acne breakout than it is to prevent future breakouts.
However, while honey itself may not fight acne-causing bacteria, research shows that combining it with cinnamon bark may indeed help: One study found this combination to have stronger antibacterial properties than either ingredient alone. This combination was effective against Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis, the primary bacteria that cause acne.
Which Honey Is Best for Face Masks
When honey has been processed, it loses some of its natural antibacterial effects; so for optimal results, raw is best. It is at its most potent and effective when unpasteurized, unprocessed and dark in color; the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant content.
Manuka honey, a type from New Zealand, is a common natural ingredient in face masks. Methylglyoxal, an antibacterial component, is more highly concentrated in Manuka; therefore, it is often recommended as a preferable form in skin care.
There isn’t sufficient scientific evidence, however, to support the idea that Manuka is more effective than other varieties of honey. Some research indicates that Manuka isn’t any more effective than buckwheat or acacia honey.
How to Use a Honey Face Mask
Incorporating a honey face mask into your skin care regimen is simple, whether purchased or made at home. Apply your face mask a few times per week for best results.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
- Gently apply the 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 on its own, but it also combines well with other natural ingredients from your kitchen to make an easy-to-apply facial mask mixture.
You can boost its natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and skin lightening characteristics by combining it with ingredients such as cinnamon, lemon, turmeric or aloe vera.
Because cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to combat acne-causing bacteria, adding it to your DIY face mask mixture might help prevent future breakouts.
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 the two ingredients, 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 skin inflammation associated with acne and sensitivity. Combined with honey’s natural ability to fight inflammation, the two ingredients could be calming 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 believed to minimize the appearance of acne scars. The Vitamin C in lemon juice may inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, which in turn reduces melanin production.
The combination of honey and aloe could also address skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Should You Use a Honey Face Mask?
If you want to reduce acne symptoms such as inflammation and redness, honey face masks could be an ideal 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
To determine any allergy, do a small patch test on your upper forearm before applying honey to your face.
Alternatives to Honey Face Masks
There are natural, DIY and commercial face mask formulations available that can be used as an alternative to honey. You can find masks with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, acne-fighting and soothing properties that are appropriate for a wide range of skin types.
- Cream and gel masks are well suited for dry or sensitive skin; choose a formulation that contains hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture, and niacinamide to address red, sensitive skin
- Sheet masks can moisturize dry skin, and are best for those with normal to dry skin that isn’t prone to acne
- Clay and charcoal masks help to clear pores and remove excess oil, and naturally exfoliate and smooth the skin; when combined with anti-inflammatory ingredients like green tea, these masks can also help address acne-prone skin
- Aloe vera face masks can be an excellent source of skin-healing nutrients
Honey has a wide variety of historical uses related to skin care. It’s a moisturizing natural treatment that is rich in antioxidants, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. It also has mild exfoliating properties and may help lighten skin.
The best type of honey to use for a face mask is Manuka. Its healing properties may be boosted by combining it with other natural ingredients such as cinnamon, lemon juice, turmeric and aloe.
It’s simple to make a face mask from honey and incorporate it into your skin care routine. People who are allergic to bee pollen should not use it. Instead, they should choose an alternative face mask, such as a cream, gel, sheet, clay, charcoal or aloe vera mask based on skin type and concern.
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