Article for Fleet Chatter March 2014
Bees & your skin – a positive relationship
Can bees really have a positive effect on our skin, don’t they just sting?
Yes bees do sting but only if provoked, they are far more interested in the plants and flowers in the vicinity than they are you and secondly the beeswax and honey that they have been producing forever can indeed help our skin.
Beeswax has been used in toiletries and cosmetics since Eygptian times and can be used in hair products, lipsticks, face creams, foundation and mascara. A perfect emollient beeswax locks moisture within its structure whilst also providing an effective barrier protecting the skin in all weathers without suffocating and blocking pores. Beeswax is high in beta-carotene, a bioflavonoid that is converted by the body into Vitamin A, necessary for cell regeneration and with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties it is useful in treating wounds and acne as well as dry skin conditions. Beeswax also contains non-allergenic properties that help protect the skin from airborne allergies.
Similarly, honey has been praised for its skin enhancing properties since the Eygptians. Legend has it Cleopatra bathed in honey and milk, as did Poppaea, the wife of Roman Emperor Nero. Honey provides many benefits to the skin and not just through eating it, putting it ON your skin provides a myriad of positive effects. Honey is a humectant, it attracts and retains moisture – leave an opened jar of honey on the side and you’ll soon see this, as it starts to granulate where it absorbs moisture from the air. Using honey based products means moisture is encouraged onto the top layer of the skin which will then penetrate into the skin, encouraging softness, suppleness and elasticity. Its PH level ranging from 3.2-4.5, similar to our skin, makes it very gentle, suitable for even the most sensitive and the antioxidants it contains help skin fight free-radicals that cause skin damage.
Its ability to extract water makes honey naturally antibacterial, denying bacterial microbes the water they need to survive. This antibacterial property and moisture retaining element is why honey is so good on wounds and was used for centuries before the advent of antibiotics.
With our increased knowledge regarding the negatives associated with chemical laden skincare products, antibiotic resistant bugs and increased allergies maybe it’s time to return to the Eygptian style skincare of natural beeswax and honey.