Honey is a readily available product on supermarket shelves, tastes great and is an ideal cooking ingredient. But, there is more to this amber liquid than meets the eye.
Here at Soapy Skin Ltd, we use this fantastic natural ingredient in our goats milk soap. It helps to bring additional benefits to your skin, and especially those who suffer from skin conditions. The benefits of honey work in many different ways, from moisturising the skin, fighting infection and to helping maintain our bodily functions.
HYGROSCOPIC: Honey has a hygroscopic nature (you may also hear it referred to as a “humectant”), which means that it will naturally absorb and retain moisture when exposed to air. These hygroscopic properties have made honey an ideal ingredient for use in cosmetic products as it helps to hydrated, rejuvenate and prevent drying of the skin. It is also used widely in hair treatments to trap and seal-in moisture leaving your hair glossy and healthy. But these benefits are further reaching because when honey is used to treat wounds, it helps to prevent scarring by creating a protective layer to keep the skin moist and also prevents dressings from becoming stuck, thus allowing easy removal.
ANTIBACTERIAL: The antibacterial properties of honey have long been known, and it was often used on wounds to prevent infection and speed-up the healing process by encouraging the growth of new tissues. However, honey fell out of favour when, in the mid 1940’s, antibiotics were developed to treat infections. In recent years some infections have become resistant to antibiotics, which has led to a renewed interest into the healing properties of honey. Clinical observation shows honey’s effectiveness at treating cuts, burns, insect bites, skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. When applied to an affected area, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic agents are slowly released in the form of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This compound is produced from an enzyme within honey, which disinfects the affected area, kills germs and helps to repair the skin.
ANTIOXIDANT: Antioxidants are compounds found in cells that neutralise free radicals, the damaging byproducts of normal metabolism. Experts believe diets high in certain antioxidants (like vitamins C and E) may protect internal organs from a type of damage called oxidative stress, and help prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Honey contains low to moderate levels of antioxidants, but not all honeys are the same. Studies found that the darker-coloured honeys contain higher concentrations of antioxidants than lighter-coloured varieties, and it is also dependent on which plant the nectar has been taken. Honey can provide additional benefits when used topically (applied on the skin). The Skin Care Resource Center reports that current research has determined the effectiveness of honey as a natural form of sunscreen, to protect the skin from the types of sun damage that cause premature wrinkling, a condition that in some people can lead to skin cancer.
Honey should be a part of everybody’s life and the benefits to be gained from such a natural ingredient are enormous. Health and wellbeing are important factors in this day and age, and turning to nature for help with this, I feel, is the right path to take.