If you have dry or sensitive skin, manuka honey could be a welcome addition to your skincare routine. Here, we quiz a skin expert about the benefits.
This special type of honey, which comes from New Zealand and Australia, is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, meaning it can heal and soothe skin. Add to that its ability to moisturise complexions while helping to combat free radical damage… and it’s a bit of skincare hero.
Here, we asked Emma Coleman, dermatology and aesthetic registered general nurse, everything we need to know about the ingredient that’s gathering a buzz in the skincare industry.
What is manuka honey?
“This is honey extracted from the hives of bees native to New Zealand and Australia, which pollinate manuka bushes (leptospermum scoparium). Unlike other types of honey, manuka is graded both by measuring its natural antibacterial benefits, known as the unique manuka factor (UMF), as well as its Methylglyoxal (MGO) levels, a naturally occurring organic compound known to protect against a number of pathogens.”
What are the benefits of manuka honey?
“It has a pH of three to five, making it acidic and giving the propensity to protect and heal the skin, prevent viruses taking hold and boosting our immunity.
“The benefits of manuka honey have been backed by many clinical trials; there is evidence to suggest that manuka interrupts bacterial cell division in the body, has anti-carcinogenic properties, reduces biofilm masses and has a protective effect on wounds, teeth and even sore throats, preventing infections and actively promoting healing, compared to normal types of honey.”
Can manuka honey help with acne?
“Although acne is almost always caused by hormonal fluctuations, the elevated (acidic) pH of manuka helps to maintain a healthy skin surface microflora/microbiome, which in turn can help to prevent spot formation.
“The highly antioxidant properties of manuka also help to fight inflammation, whilst its antimicrobial action will promote a healthy sebum production and secretion, both of which can affect acne. However, the evidence to support Manuka in acne treatment is inconclusive.”
Which skin types will benefit from products that contain manuka honey?
“There is evidence that manuka is able to inhibit the growth of Candida Albicans [yeast that causes fungal infections] and Staphylococcus Aureus [a type of bacterium] on skin’s surface and in wounds.
“We know that it promotes keratin activity and has high antioxidant content, important in new tissue formation, so manuka is definitely suitable for ageing skin exhibiting loss of elasticity, lines and wrinkles.
“For dry skins, manuka has potent humectant properties, meaning that it is able to seal in moisture. There is evidence that patients with active rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis all benefit from topical manuka honey application, too.”
Best manuka honey products, picked by the Stylist beauty team
Best manuka honey cleanser: Bees Brilliance Manuka Honey Foaming Facial Cleanser
Ideal for normal to oily skin, this cleanser gently sweeps away make-up and impurities that have collected on your face throughout the day.
Best manuka honey face mask: Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
The answer to soft, supple skin in one handy tube. This face mask contains wild-sourced and sustainable manuka honey from New Zealand. It provides a deep cleanse while leaving skin moisturised.
Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask, £26.99
Best manuka honey face cream: Kiehl's Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream
New Zealand manuka honey and Korean red ginseng root extracts combine in this clever face cream. The two hero ingredients work together to promote skin cell renewal while also keeping the skin’s barrier function resilient.
Best manuka honey multipurpose balm: Lanolips Golden Dry Skin Salve
Dry, rough or itchy skin? This rich skin salve can be used all over the body, including your hands, feet, legs and arms. As well as manuka honey, it also contains medical grade lanolin to nourish and heal skin.
Lanolips Golden Dry Skin Salve, £17.99
Best manuka honey hand cream: Nursem Protective Hand Cream
Nursem Protective Hand Cream, £9.99
Best manuka honey sheet mask: 3INA Makeup The Soothing and Nourishing Mask
The perfect addition to any relaxing night in, this sheet mask is soaked in an oil-based formula that contains manuka honey. As well as leaving skin healthier, it’s effective at soothing irritated complexion – even for those with sensitive skin.
Best manuka honey face treatment: Foreo Manuka Honey UFO Revitalizing Face Mask
This mini sheet mask is laced with manuka honey to ward off free radicals and daily stressors, soften skin and provide heaps of moisture. Although, we should add, you need to have Foreo’s UFO, £169, or UFO Mini, £89, to use it.
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Main image: Brands / designed by Matt Phare