The golden liquid: How can honey make you look good?

As one of the most valued and applauded natural substances, natural honey has been in use in Ayurveda, traditional and folklore medicine and it also offers a plethora of cosmetic benefits. You can use honey daily for moisturizing, reducing blemishes and curing acne. It is a component of many facial washes, skin moisturizers, hair conditioners and acne products. As an important ingredient of natural cosmetics, honey is a must have on your kitchen shelf!

honey
Photo from Flickr. Honey makes up an integral part of many bath and shower products, body scrubs, face creams, skin lotions, and hair conditioners.

What is honey?
Honey is produced by a variety of bees which suck nectar from flowers and convert it into honey. This honey is then extracted from the honey bee combs. Honey has been classified to be a natural humectant. In its pure form it is absolutely nonirritant and perfectly suitable to be utilized in different skin preparations and even baby products. Honey is enriched with antioxidant properties and can eliminate the harmful free radicals and hence is beneficial in preventing cell damage in the skin. This makes honey an excellent option to be used in skin rejuvenation and protection. The high sugar content of honey also restricts the moisture available for bacterial growth. Honey is known to release hydrogen peroxide when it comes in contact with skin.

The chemical make-up of honey
Honey is a complex mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and a range of enzymes. Honey is made up of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, chromium, and manganese along with vitamins like Vitamin B2, B4, B5, B6 and Vitamin C. Flavonoids present in honey confer antioxidant properties to it. A number of aromatic acids are present in honey. Bee’s honey is free of cholesterol.

The cosmetic benefits of honey
Honey has a wide range of cosmetic benefits and is a part of many skin care products available today. Honey makes up an integral part of many bath and shower products, body scrubs, face creams, skin lotions, and hair conditioners. Honey is beneficial in treating aging and mature skin. It provides moisture to hydrate skin and make it soft, supple and elastic. Because of its antioxidant properties it is used in skin cleansing and rejuvenation. It is an efficient skin cleanser, clarifier, toner and conditioner. It prevents cell damage and is also used to efficiently remove skin blemishes and acne spots. Honey is a very good remedy to treat mild acne and pimples.

It has also been suggested in research studies that honey works best when used fresh and directly on the skin.

Some home remedies using honey
As a skin cleanser: Mix honey with double its amount of finely ground almonds and adequate lemon juice. Rub this mixture on face and wash off with lukewarm water.
As a skin clarifier: After washing face with warm salted water, apply pure honey on the affected portion and pimples, leave it for 15 minutes and then rinse it off water.
As a skin toner: Make a paste of 15 gm. honey and peeled core apple, apply this paste on your face and leave it for about 20 minutes. Wash it off with cold water to clean out the skin.
As skin conditioner: Mix about 5 gm. of honey with 5 gm. of olive oil and 2 gm. of lemon juice. Rub this mixture on dry skin and wash off after 15 minutes.
As skin softener: Honey can be added directly to bath water for softening of the skin.
As hair conditioner: Honey (50 gm.) is mixed with olive oil (25 gm.), and applied on hair. Leave it for about half an hour, then use shampoo to wash off the honey.
For shining hair: after washing hair, pour a mixture of 6 gm. honey in 1 liter of warm water on your hair. Leave it as it is and dry the hair normally.
As a lip balm: Honey is also used as a cure for cracked lips and is applied directly to lips to smoothen them.

Some effective home facial masks from honey

  1. Try these home facial masks for skin rejuvenation and protection.
  2. Mix one table spoon of honey with an egg white, 1 tea spoon of glycerin and ¼ cup of flour and apply this paste on face, leave for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. This is a good facial mask for firming the skin and making it more soft and smooth.
  3. Mix 1 -2 tablespoons of honey with ground oatmeal add a teaspoon of rose water and apply uniformly on clean face. You can leave it from 10 minutes to 1.5 hours and remove with a soft washcloth and warm water. Wash off the face with cold water. This mask is good to retain moisture in the skin and enhance skin softness.
  4. A mixture of 2 tablespoon of honey and 2 teaspoon of milk is applied on the face and washed off after 15 minutes with warm water followed with cold water. This is an excellent remedy for moisturizing the face.
  5. Blend fresh apricot (for dry skin) or extract the apricot juice (for normal skin) and mix well with sour cream and honey. Apply over the face, leave for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash off with warm water. This face mask has excellent properties in reducing wrinkles and relaxing the nerves on the face. This mask also provides lubrication and moisturisation to the skin making it softer.
  6. Blend a ripe banana and add honey to it, blend again to make a thick, milky paste. Apply it on clean skin and relax for 10 to 15 minutes and wash it off with warm water or an infusion of Chamomile.
  7. This facial mask is very beneficial in helping you regain the radiance and elasticity of your skin. It also enriches the skin with nutrients like iron and magnesium and enhances the blood circulation.
  8. It has been evidenced in research studies that regular consumption and topical application of honey imparts many benefits to the skin. It provides healthy nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants, protects the skin from damage and destruction from environmental toxins, sun damage, and aging. Add a dash and dab of honey in your daily life to look beautiful and feel healthy!

References
Darie, S. (2008). Stephanie’s home beauty salon. United States of America: General Pubishing Company.
Dixit, S. (2005, October 4). Honey in cosmetic preparations. Chemical weekly, 164-168.
Ediriweera, E., & Premarathna, N. (2012, April-June). Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee’s honey-A review. Ayu, 33(2), 178-182.

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