Honey for Holistic Skin Care
Cleopatra, admired for her beautiful skin, apparently bathed regularly in honey and milk. Honey has helped beautify, protect, heal, disinfect and cleanse the skin throughout the ages. Using honey as a holistic skin treatment offers the perfect solution for children as well as for those with weakened immune systems and multiple skin disorders. Repeated use can enhance and improve the texture of skin, adding a radiant glow to a dull complexion.
Prior to the advancement of antibiotics, honey was utilized for its healing properties. Honey contains antimicrobial agents that slow down bacterial growth and hydrogen peroxide-producing enzymes that lend to the antimicrobial action, making it useful in treating burns, cuts, wounds and skin infections. Honey contains vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants, all of which provide nourishment to the skin.
Hygroscopic in nature, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air when exposed to it, honey helps the skin heal faster when treating wounds by encouraging regeneration of skin cells and preventing scar tissue from developing. This humectant quality assists to beautify the skin, keeping it soft, supple and hydrated.
New Zealanders have enjoyed the healing benefits of active unique manuka factor (UMF) honey for decades, and its use has become increasingly popular in treating various ailments and skin conditions. Active UMF honey also has the ability to eradicate antibiotic resistant staph infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), due to its powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. A 2006 Sage Publications report presented positive results of using manuka honey to cure MRSA. A 59-year-old patient who tested positive for MRSA was cured after 15 days of applying manuka honey-soaked dressings to the infected site.
Eczema and Psoriasis
Honey can effectively treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Its inflammatory and antibacterial properties ease irritation and clear infection while the humectant action moisturizes dry, flaky and crusty skin associated with these conditions. A 2008 article published in "Dawn" magazine presented the results of a trial in which two groups of patients suffering from psoriasis and eczema applied either a topical steroid cream or a mix of honey, beeswax and olive oil to the skin. Eighty percent of the eczema sufferers and 63 percent of the psoriasis sufferers found significant relief using the honey mixture in comparison to those applying the steroid cream.
Honey makes an excellent acne treatment. Commercial acne treatments can dry out the skin, but honey, with its cleansing properties, absorbs oils and impurities deeply embedded in the pores, clearing acne, providing moisture and nourishing the skin. Regular use of honey in treating acne can help diminish unsightly scars and improve the skin's texture. Mix honey with Dead Sea salts for a face mask to keep the skin looking clear and healthy.
A report published by The University of Waikato highlighted the benefits of using honey to dress wounds, drawing attention to the way in which it provides a moist environment for healing and prevents further invasion of bacteria. As well as having anti-inflammatory properties to bring pain relief and reduce swelling, honey disinfects and encourages outflow of lymph, improving circulation and nourishing the wounded site.
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