In skin care products, there are two types of ingredients: the high-tech, lab-made molecules, and natural ingredients from plants. Honey falls under the latter category and it’s been used for both medicinal and beauty applications for thousands of years. Ancient Sumerian tablets indicate that humans used honey in cosmetics as early as 2100 BC. It’s fair to say, then, that honey is one of the oldest natural skin care ingredients.
What Is Manuka Honey?
There are many types of honey, with one of the most prized varieties being Manuka honey. This semi-opaque, creamy honey is made from the nectar of the Manuka plant. Native to New Zealand and Australia, the Manuka bush blooms small whitish pink flowers. Most honey that you purchase is made from a variety of different flower nectars, but Manuka honey is exclusively crafted from Manuka flowers. Because of that distinction, Manuka honey has a rich golden hue and high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In fact, various studies confirm that Manuka honey has a higher pH and sugar content than other honeys, and researchers believe that those attributes enhance the antibacterial activity.
The Antibacterial Properties
In the late 1800s, researchers discovered that honey contains glucose oxidase, an enzyme that converts sugar into a mild, bleach-like antiseptic you probably have at home: hydrogen peroxide. What makes Manuka honey so valuable is that in addition to hydrogen peroxide, it contains methylglyoxal. This compound is an even stronger antibacterial agent than hydrogen peroxide. Some studies suggest that it may fight against strong bacteria like Staphylococcus or E.coli. What does that mean for your skin? The antibacterial activity in Manuka honey may help combat blemishes, infections, and even impetigo.
Keeps Skin Hydrated And Soft
Honey is probably not the first ingredient you think of in regards to moisturizing the skin. Manuka honey may be very effective at battling dry, cracked skin because it exhibits emollient and humectant properties. Emollients fill the spaces between the cracks to promote softer skin, whereas humectants draw moisture from the air into the skin to boost hydration. Manuka honey is also useful for fighting flaky skin and general irritation, both of which are symptoms of dry or dehydrated skin.
May Reduce Signs Of Aging
Manuka honey exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which work to fight bacteria and promote healing. Additionally, Manuka honey provides optimal moisture, which is vital if you want to reduce signs of aging. Dry and cracked skin is more prone to wrinkles, discoloration, age spots, and fine lines. The antioxidants in Manuka honey also promote healing and may even enhance collagen production, which keeps the skin looking younger. Plus, the bleach-like qualities from the hydrogen peroxide in Manuka honey may help clear up skin discolorations.
Manuka Honey Body Butter
- Put the coconut butter, coconut oil, and shea butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep on the heat until fully melted.
- Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a heat-safe bowl. Allow the mixture to sit until it is opaque. You can accelerate this process by putting the mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Once the mixture is ready, use a hand mixer to whip it up. Add the Manuka honey and continue whipping with the hand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Transfer the body butter to a glass container and store in the fridge until ready to use.