Who doesn’t want nourished and moisturised skin? Manuka honey might just be the ingredient to add to your skincare routine.
Using manuka on our skin can be just as magical as it is on our taste buds. In fact, there’s evidence of practitioners harnessing honey’s properties as far back as 2,000 BC!
Let’s explore why you might want to incorporate manuka’s gloopy golden goodness into your skincare regimen — and how best to do it.
The benefits of manuka for skin care
The compounds contained within manuka honey offer a unique combination of properties that can be used on the skin. It’s celebrated as a superfood for the skin, keeping it hydrated.
1. It can help to keep skin moisturised
Because of its high levels of fructose and glucose, honey is what’s called ‘humectant’ — it attracts and holds onto moisture.
Whilst honey’s cosmetic uses are not exactly a particularly recent discovery, many famous faces have been recently making use of manuka for their complexions — even royalty have raved about it!
From Goop creator Gwenyth Paltrow to reality star Kourtney Kardashian and The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, many credit manuka honey as a key component of their radiant glow.
2. It promotes wound healing & helps to keep skin bacteria free
Manuka honey has been widely researched and shown to possess unique wound healing properties. The presence of methylglyoxal (MGO) gives manuka honey particularly celebrated properties; MGO is a special compound that’s only found in high levels in manuka honey.
Our manuka wound honey is made from 100% medical grade honey, sterilised for safe use on broken skin and open wounds. It spreads easily for optimal wound coverage — it has powerful antibacterial and wound repair properties to support healing and help prevent scabbing and scarring, while being gentle on the skin.
When honey bees pollinate the New Zealand-native manuka plant, MGO is created when enzymes in their bodies react with the dihydroxyacetone (DHA) found in the nectar. It’s this MGO content that sets manuka honey apart from regular honey.
3. It contains no chemicals or additives
Many cosmetic skincare products of today are notorious for being packed full of additives, parabens, sulphates and other artificial nasties. With manuka honey, no harmful chemicals are sinking into your pores — just 100% natural goodness.
However, if you have an allergy to pollen, celery, or other bee-related products, it’s safest to not try manuka honey for your skin, or at least consult a doctor or dermatologist before doing so. Make sure to spot test a small patch of skin before using manuka honey — if you experience any sort of reaction, discontinue its use immediately.
How to use manuka honey as part of your skin care routine
So, you now know how amazing it can be for your skin, but how best do you incorporate a bit of manuka TLC into your dermatological regime? One of the best methods, of course, is with a DIY face mask preparation.
These can allow you to bring other ingredients in, further amplifying the skincare benefits. They’re also incredibly natural — no heaps of chemicals, additives or unnecessary nasties, just the goodness and essence of nature!
Let’s explore a few of our favourite face mask recipes. Start each with a clean face and hands (as well as a jar of at least MGO 250+ strength manuka honey too, of course!). These masks can be done daily, or less often as more of a treat.
A pure manuka face mask
The no-nonsense approach to manuka honey skincare. Simply apply it to your face, then spread it evenly with your fingertips and gently massage it into your face.
You may want to slightly dilute the manuka honey with a small amount of water if it’s slightly too thick — don’t worry, it doesn’t become any less effective! Leave the golden goodness to work its way into your pores for around a quarter of an hour.
It can also be combined with a half a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of aloe vera to create a hydrated, toning treatment. To remove, gently wash away using warm water and a flannel or muslin cloth, avoiding any aggressive scrubbing of the skin.
Pure manuka honey can also be used as a cleanser. First, remove makeup, oil and dirt using a cleansing balm or cleansing milk. Then use a small amount of honey warmed in your hands, and massage it into your skin gently wash it off using warm water and a flannel.
For exfoliation: a manuka honey, brown sugar & virgin olive oil face scrub
Whilst they might be bad for your stomach, olive oil combined with sugar is a particularly effective partnership for helping to buff dead skin away — so bring this exfoliating action into a DIY manuka scrub if you’re struggling with a few pesky pimples.
Simply mix together a tablespoon each of manuka honey, brown sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Once the ingredients have formed a scrub-like mixture, work it onto damp skin. Focus, in particular, on the oily T-zone — your forehead, nose and chin — as well as any problem areas. After around a quarter of an hour, wash it off with warm water.
If you’re struggling with troublesome skin, pure manuka honey can also be used as a topical treatment. Using clean hands, apply a small amount to a developing or existing problem area, then let the honey get to work. Avoid repeatedly touching the area or picking at it, as the bacteria on your hands and nails can aggravate the skin.
For people of all ages: A manuka honey & turmeric face mask
This nifty little recipe combines a tablespoon of honey with a teaspoon of turmeric, with a small amount of yoghurt to help mix the ingredients.
This traditional Indian spice is particularly apt for any face mask preparations because it has the well known active ingredient, curcumin. The yoghurt may also help to provide a slight cooling effect — a summer’s day skincare favourite.
For all round skin care: manuka honey, banana & cinnamon face mask
Combine the power of manuka with one of your five a day. This one almost sounds good enough to eat!
For this, mash up half a peeled ripe banana in a bowl and then add two tablespoons of manuka honey and a small amount of ground cinnamon (around half a teaspoon usually works).
Apply this to your face, leave it for around 15 minutes, then gently wash it off and experience true manuka-induced softness!
To hydrate and heal: manuka honey and green tea face mask
Greens are good — but you didn’t need us to tell you that. For a grassy, hydrating and healing DIY concoction, simply mix together a tablespoon of green tea powder with two tablespoons of manuka. If the mixture is too solid, add a few drops of water until the consistency eases up.
What strength of manuka honey should I use for skincare?
Although lower strengths will still provide some benefit, manuka honey products with an MGO rating of at least 250+ are best for use as part of a skincare routine — these are certified to contain more of the renowned compound, methylglyoxal. Those with lower potency are generally more suitable for day-to-day sweetening of foods.
Mānuka Health: for 100% authentic, MGO-packed manuka honey
We’re Inspired Health, the official UK hub of a range of wellness and wellbeing brands. This includes Mānuka Health and their range of certified, genuine New Zealand manuka honey products.
Why not pick up one of their jars of varying strengths and give manuka a whirl as part of your skincare routine? For slightly more pressing dermatological matters, including cuts and abrasions, Mānuka Health even offer 100% medical grade wound honey — sterilised for safe use on broken skin and open wounds!
Manuka’s not just incredible for our skin, of course. For more expert insights about its Maori might, explore The Hive — our hub of expert manuka honey insights.