Honey for Skin Care
Aside from being a natural sweetener and a coveted food substance since the beginning of time, honey also has medicinal uses and benefits for skin care. One of the most common medicinal uses for honey is treating wounds and burns. Before you apply honey to a wound or your skin, talk with your doctor about the potential health dangers and correct application.
Since before 700 B.C., people have kept bees to produce honey for both food and medicinal remedies, according to WHFoods. Honey has been used since ancient times in embalming, religious ceremonies, folk remedies and cooking. Honey's medicinal uses date back to ancient Greece and Rome, when the physician Hippocrates used honey as a topical treatment for lip ulcers and wound infections, and other ancient physicians used honey to treat diarrhea, constipation and coughs, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Honey contains large quantities of the sugars glucose and fructose, which have antimicrobial actions in high concentrations, explains the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. When you apply honey to wounds or burns, these concentrated sugars could help prevent or treat infections, specifically from Staphylococcus bacteria strains, as well as E. coli and Candida albicans, WHFoods says. Honey may also have the potential to lower cholesterol levels, improve your blood-sugar control, act as a laxative to treat constipation, ease allergy symptoms and reduce alcohol intoxication. Honey appears to have cancer-preventive and anti-tumor actions, as well as antiseptic properties that can help treat or prevent gingivitis and dental cavities, notes the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Honey is sometimes recommended for skin-care purposes like promoting wound healing and preventing bacterial or fungal skin infections, says the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Honey has potential benefits for treating wounds, burns and abrasions, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Manuka honey made from the pollen of the shrub appears to have anti-inflammatory and microorganism-fighting effects that can produce these types of benefits for wounds in your skin. If you undergo surgery, honey used topically in wound dressings may promote healing and prevent infections, points out the University of Maryland Medical Center. Don't apply honey to any wound or broken skin without first consulting your doctor, however.
You might apply honey to the wound or burn by spreading a thin layer directly on the skin area or by applying a dressing soaked in honey to the area, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. These are simplest ways to use honey on minor wounds, scrapes, cuts and burns. But you shouldn't apply honey or a honey-soaked dressing to large, open wounds that are deep or severe, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Honey is very safe, especially when you apply it topically for skin-care purposes. But if you have a pollen or honey allergy, you could have side effects or an allergic reaction, cautions the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. For skin care, use honey topically and don't ingest it. Keep in mind that honey consumption can cause infant botulism in babies younger than 1 year of age, cause elevated blood-sugar levels in people with diabetes and cause chemotherapy drugs to be less effective.
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