Honey – Does This Sweet Ingredient Irritate Acne?

Friday 10th Dec 2021 |

There is no doubt there are a plethora of interesting acne treatments out there, with many alluding to natural or homemade acne remedies.

These can range from putting toothpaste on spots to using lemon juice or even ice cubes to alleviate acne symptoms.

However, not all of these treatments work and in fact, some of them can be harmful to the skin, causing it to become sensitive and leading to burning or hyperpigmentation. One home remedy for acne that is gaining some traction in recent years is honey. But does honey work to alleviate the symptoms of acne or can it in fact irritate acne further?


Why is honey used in acne home remedies?

One of the reasons honey is such a powerful ingredient is that it contains high levels of sugar, although this in itself can be known to dry out the skin. Acne is caused by bacteria that flourish on oily skin. Excess sebum or oil is removed from the skin by drying it, leaving the pores clean and hydrated.

Honey’s antibacterial benefits may be due to its high glucuronic acid concentration, which is converted to glucose oxidase. Then the oxidase is at a later stage converted into hydrogen peroxide on the skin. Hydrogen peroxide works in the same way as other acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, do.

Acne is routinely treated with benzoyl peroxide. It acts as an antiseptic, reducing the quantity of germs (bacteria) on the skin’s surface. Many popular skincare brands often provide products containing benzoyl peroxide, albeit at a lower concentration. These can be purchased through pharmacies, supermarkets, and retail stores.

What makes honey stand out?

It is Antibacterial:

Well, for starters, the research conducted by the Journal of Antibacterial Chemotherapy showed that honey, when taken in concentrations of 2.5% to 5%, is effective in combating harmful bacteria. This has been further solidified by evidence gained from experts, and dermatologists alike, who have praised honey for being an outstanding component in removing acne caused by bacteria.

Raw honey is the main component:

The most popular brands that sell honey provide both the processed and the unprocessed (raw versions). Of course, if you are considering the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial notion, then raw honey is what you may be looking for.

Research has proven that raw, natural, and unheated honey does wonders for the skin without any additives. It helps prevent acne flare-ups and can be used as both a night and a day mask during any time of the day.

Putting an end to a few myths concerning Honey

1. “Honey doesn’t lead to irritation as it is all-natural”

Every natural product does have chemicals. However, it eventually boils down to whether those chemicals are good for your skin or not. For instance, honey has compounds such as minerals and polyphenols. When applied, it is converted into Hydrogen Peroxide, a chemical that can harm the skin.

2. “Raw honey delivers miracles!”

While Manuka Raw Honey is undoubtedly great in exhibiting results, the primary factor which determines whether honey is your saviour, or on the contrary, is contingent upon where it is sourced from. Scientists have agreed that the place where the honey has been harvested, the season, as well as how it is stored all have an impact. The best honey is one that has minimal exposure to light and air.

3.”It beats post-acne marks instantaneously!”

This again is subjective. Our normal skin cycle is 28 days, where the skin replaces itself. But, of course, healing depends on the individual, on the brevity of their condition, and their skin. What works for one may not deliver the same results for the other! Perhaps, topical treatments are better for one individual in eliminating post-acne marks, whereas honey is for the other. Therefore, there is no way to ensure that honey is the “one size that fits everyone.”

“Honey works best for inflamed pimples”

Let us clarify that if you have inflamed pimples, honey acts as a calming agent. However, this doesn’t mean that it removes bacteria from the skin. Furthermore, if you talk about cystic acne or closed comedones, then honey may not do the job at all. Here, only a doctor is the best authority you should be seeking help from!

The Bottom Line: Not Everything Works For All:

Whilst honey does have a lot of benefits for the skin, this ultimately depends on the person that is using it as all of our skin is different, as well as the type of honey that is being used and the components within it.

Honey is a common home remedy for acne and can be effective in reducing acne without inflaming the skin, but if you have tried multiple home remedies and are still concerned about your acne, or if it’s impacting your confidence, we suggest seeking advice from an Expert Dermatologist in Acne Treatments who will be able to advise on the best course of action for you.


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