Honey: A Natural Spot Treatment
If you’re after a natural spot treatment, look no further than your kitchen cupboard! Over the past few months I’ve been experimenting with honey as a natural spot treatment and have been pleasantly surprised by the results.
Why go natural? For years my spot treatment consisted of benzoyl peroxide (i.e. Clearasil) that often caused more problems than it fixed (and bleached all our towels… if you’ve ever used benzoyl peroxide you probably know what I’m talking about!). The major problem that I found with benzoyl peroxide (and similar harsh spot treatments) is that they dry and irritate the spot and often cause damage to the surrounding skin – setting the stage for more acne! Though honey may work on some of the same levels as these treatments, I find it to be more gentle and compatible with the skin – and highly effective!
Related: How to Get Clearer Skin, Naturally
Honey: A Natural Spot Treatment
You may have heard that honey is a natural antimicrobial. This property makes it perfect for controlling P. acnes (the bacteria on our skin that causes acne) – but there’s more to it than that!
Studies hypothesise that water availability in our skin follicles contributes to the growth of P. acnes (1). Certain sugars (such as those found in honey!) are known to draw water out of the skin – effectively preventing microbe growth in your pores! Despite this moisture drawing effect, I haven’t found honey to significantly dry my skin as many harsh treatments did. This is great for avoiding that dry, flaky look that can draw even more attention to a nasty spot! ?
Honey also maintains a pH of about 4.4, making it compatible with the acid mantle of our skin (2). If you haven’t heard of the acid mantle before, this is basically a slightly acidic film that sits on the surface of the skin and acts as a barrier to certain bacteria. Skincare that disrupts this barrier can make the skin vulnerable to colonisation and infection (ew!). The slightly acidic pH of honey has also been shown to support and speed up wound healing. Honey may also assist in wound healing by stimulating and activating fibroblasts – the cells responsible for collagen production in the skin (3).
Aside from its healing properties, honey also has the perfect tacky consistency to seal open wounds and contain infection. Not a super glam subject to talk about – but I find that it’s especially effective if you’re prone to clusters of acne as it prevents bacteria spread. The stickiness is also a useful deterrent if you’re a face-toucher or tempted to pick (never a good idea!).
Honey as a Spot Treatment: How To Use It?
Simply apply a dab of honey on the end of a q-tip to a developing spot or an open infection. I like to apply it at night about an hour before bed – it’s not so good for your pillow case, but when we sleep the real magic takes place! By morning, I find that much of the redness and inflammation has subsided. It also works well to bring stubborn acne spots to a head, speeding along the recovery process!
And A Touch Of Magic!
There’s also an extra element of magic to honey. Unlike synthetic products, honey is abundant in phytochemicals – many that have not yet been pin-pointed in the scientific literature and which may have therapeutic effects. What’s more, honey varieties vary from region to region, changing their composition and healing properties! Traditional cultures also knew of the skincare benefits of honey – with some records dating its use in skincare to 3000 B.C. and earlier (2)!
As an endnote: Try to get your hands on local organic/ raw/ unrefined honey – the least processed you can find the better!
What has been your experience using honey as a natural spot treatment? Comment below!