Since I hit puberty I have struggled with skin issues.  My first visit to the dermatologist was probably in my freshman year of high school to treat acne.  Like most teens, I was given a course of antibiotics and some topical products.   I have been on Accutane twice in my life and have tested and tried just about every skincare product (both over the counter and prescription) known to man.

Finally, with the help of my favorite skincare line Paula’s Choice, I got my skin under control.  With the exception of hormonal flare-ups, my acne was all but a memory.  And then I got rosacea.  Suddenly, I started getting what looked like breakouts over my cheeks, a place my acne never really targeted.  Being all too familiar with traditional acne, I knew this was something different, something I had never dealt with before.

I started using Paula’s Choice Calm product line, which helped minimize the redness to a degree.  However, when I woke up last week with a huge flare-up over my cheeks I was done.  DONE!  Diet playing a huge part in rosacea flare-ups, I was beyond frustrated because I have eliminated all the foods that are known to make rosacea worse, like dairy, vinegar, spicy foods, sugar, gluten, and so on.  I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a drink, another known trigger.  Desperate, I googled “natural treatments for rosacea” and learned about the use of honey.

Honey: The skin care secret hiding in your pantry

I knew I had some honey in my pantry somewhere.  I slathered some over the affected areas of my face and waited thirty minutes to wash it off.  This is how desperate I was.  The idea of doing this seemed so stupid.  I wondered why anyone would recommend putting a sticky, sweet product over the part of the face that needed healing.  But I was willing to try anything.   While washing the honey off my skin, I was no longer confused.  The spots where I had applied honey were soft and supple and less inflamed.  By the next day, the flare ups had disappeared.

How honey heals

Since this miraculous discovery, I researched how honey heals the skin.  The use of honey on as a healing agent as far back as 50 A.D. when it was used to treat infected wounds.  Honey is a broad spectrum antibacterial agent that is so strong it can even kill MRSA from growing.

It’s a natural antibiotic

Honey doesn’t just work on rosacea, it can also work on acne which is caused by inflamed sebaceous glands that get infected by bacteria.  Since learning about honey’s healing properties, I have applied a thin layer to my skin in the morning before my shower.  Not only has my skin been breakout free (and I had my period), I was shocked to notice that all the blackheads on my nose have vanished.  See ya, Bioré strips.

Wrinkle Reducer: It’s loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals

Honey also moisturizes.  Loaded with natural minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, honey will nourish, soften, and hydrate your skin.  The antioxidants will also help slow down the aging process.  From personal experience I can tell you, my skin has never felt more supple and soft than it has since using honey on my face.  Additionally, my skin feels balanced, even and less flaky.  I have also found that my skin more readily accepts the skin care products I use.

It’s a wound healer

Beyond just cosmetic ailments, like acne and rosacea, honey can heal wounds and actually stimulates tissue growth.  Even better, honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide and can also minimize the appearance of scars, hyper-pigmentation and redness caused by breakouts and rosacea, among many other things.  You can even use honey to treat a sunburn.

Honey works as an anti-inflamatory spot treatment

Feel a zit coming on?  That’s what I felt a few days ago as my period was looming.  Determined to stop it dead in its tracks because from the feel of it I knew this zit had the potential of being a whopper, I dabbed a little honey on it before going to bed.  By morning, what would have turned into Mt. Vesuvius was a minor bump that never got red.

Honey helps with eczema

Honey’s powerful healing properties aid with eczema by helping to eliminate the dry patches and regenerate new skin growth. Additionally, honey also has strong antibacterial properties which helps prevents infection when the protective skin barrier is destroyed.

Honey has some benefits on psoriasis

Sadly, honey isn’t the end all be all for psoriasis sufferers.  From what I read, psoriasis can be treated and improved with honey because it will soothe the skin.  However, because psoriasis is not caused by infection and is instead caused by hyperactivity of the immune system, honey’s antimicrobial will not keep psoriasis away.  It will, however, help reduce inflammation by protecting the damaged skin from becoming infected while also helping with dryness, patching, and skin peeling.  Additionally, cracked, bleeding skin can be protected with honey’s antimicrobial and antif-ungal properties.

Since learning the magic of honey, I have become like Gus with the Windex from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Have acne?  Try honey.  Dry skin?  Try honey.  Problem with your taxes?  Dog ran away?  Need to paint your house?  Try honey!

How to use honey on your skin

If you google honey masks you’ll find a ton of different recipes.  You can add things like tea tree oil and lavender, even turmeric.  For the sake of ease, I just slather honey on my face.  It gets the job done with much less hassle.

What is important is the quality of the honey you use.  Manuka honey has been cited as the best because it’s like honey on steroids, but it also comes with a price tag on steroids.  You’ll do just fine with a raw, organic honey.  This means the cute little bottle of bear honey is likely not going to do the job.

You don’t need a lot to get a lot.  The first time I applied honey as a mask I applied too much, despite warnings not to.  So you’ll probably do as I did and apply too much, it will drip and get a bit messy.  The next time you do it, apply a thin layer.  I like to use an old cheese spreader to apply it.  It coats the honey evenly without any drips.

Leave on for 30 minutes.  You don’t have to keep it on this long.  Typically, my routine is, get home from the gym, apply a honey mask, make a smoothie for breakfast, wait 30 minutes and shower.  If you don’t have that much time, 10-15 minutes can work. Something is better than nothing.  You can even try it as a cleanser if you have no time for a mask.  If you want to exfoliate try adding some baking soda.  I have yet to try this and am not typically a fan of abrasive exfoliators.

For spot treatment, I just dab a little honey over the infected area before getting into bed.  I urge you to add the smallest amount you can.  You don’t need a lot and you certainly don’t want to drip or get honey onto your sheets.  Consider covering up the area if you are dabbing honey on a spot that will touch the pillow while sleeping.

Have you ever tried honey for your skin or have your own natural beauty secret?  I’d love to hear it.