Honey Remedies for Acne
Honey has been used for eons to cure everything from wounds to ulcers to coughs. In her book, "The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us," British food journalist and author Bee Wilson describes the life of a bee from birth to death at the ripe, old age of about 6 weeks. She explains that a honey bee will visit upwards of 10,000 flowers a day when foraging for pollen and nectar. By the end of her life, she will only have produced about a teaspoon of honey.
Blackheads form when the opening to a hair follicle becomes clogged. Oftentimes, the clog is made up of dead skin cells, surface dirt, other debris on skin and sebum, the oil made by sebaceous glands in hair follicles. Keeping skin clean without drying it out is a first line of defense in avoiding new acne breakouts. Janice Cox, who has been making her own beauty care products for decades and who has authored several books on the subject, recommends this honey cleanser:
1 tablespoon liquid soap (she recommends liquid castile soap)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup rosewater
Mix these together and pour into a clean container with a pump or spout. Pour a small amount into the palm of your hand and massage into face. Rinse well and pat skin dry.
At different times in a person's life, such as puberty, during menstruation and menopause, hormonal changes in the body alert sebaceous glands to produce more oil than skin and hair necessarily need. When the skin is unable to excrete the oil quickly enough or a follicle becomes plugged, blackheads, a form of acne, can form. Honey is an effective treatment for blackheads.
The simplest honey treatment for blackheads is given by Janice Cox in her book "Natural Beauty from the Garden." She recommends soaking a cotton ball in warm salt water and holding it to the blackhead for several minutes to loosen the blackhead plug. After the plug is softened and loose, it can be easily expressed by gently pressing on either side of the plug with the sides of two fingers (do not use the tips of fingers because fingernails can tear at skin). After the plug is released, dab a bit of honey over the site and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Ms. Cox points out that this will "draw out impurities and (honey) has natural germ-killing or antibacterial properties." Rinse skin and pat dry.
Free radicals damage healthy skin cells by "stealing" electrons. As skin cell damage increases, skin begins to noticeably age. People normally have antioxidants in the epidermal layer that help to neutralize free radicals before they can cause damage. According to the Acne Resource Center, the topical application of antioxidants can help to treat acne.
Along with its antimicrobial benefits, honey is rich in antioxidants. The National Honey Board reports that darker honeys offer more antioxidant properties. Benefits-of-Honey.com recommends this honey-carrot mask:
2 to 3 carrots
4 ¼ tablespoons of honey
Cook the carrots and mash them into a paste. Cool carrots in refrigerator if necessary. Mix the mashed carrots with the honey and apply to skin. Leave for ten minutes, rinse and pat skin dry.
Basyr Center for Natural Health further points out that honey has a high pH, which kills off bacteria, such as the bacteria involved in acne breakouts.
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