[By Macy Lim]
Honey may have “sweet” benefits for our skin as well as our taste buds.
The good old honey we have been pouring over our pancakes may have benefits for our skin as well. On deeper research, I discovered to my amazement that until the early 20th century, honey was a conventional therapy for infection. Honey has long been regarded as one of the best natural wound healers and infection ﬁghters. Recently, honey has started inching its way back into the medical mainstream as incidences of antibiotic resistant skin infections are on the rise.
Here are five ways honey can help you achieve healthier skin:
#1 Honey to treat burns
Besides certain snake bites, debilitating diseases, and/or being run over by a steam-roller, the most disfiguring injuries are made by burns. If you find yourself sporting a burn injury with no viable first aid kit around you, reach for some honey to soothe the skin.
First, cool the burned area down as rapidly as is possible, to stop the flesh from cooking any further. Use cold, running water and cool it to a comfortable level; do not apply ice and freeze it. Pour enough clean honey over the burned area to overlap the wound and cover completely with thin, flexible, plastic wrap. Do not skimp on the honey. Finally, wrap the affected area with plastic wrap, such as cling wrap, being careful to keep a layer of honey between the burn and the plastic. Secure the plastic wrapping with gauze or crepe bandage and leave it until you can seek emergency aid.
#2 Cold sore honey cure
Mainstream physicians usually prescribe Acyclovir ointment or other topical medications to treat herpes outbreaks. But new research shows that nature has a better solution—- honey. But before you reach into your fridge for your tub of honey, do note that not all honey is made equal. Processed, refined honey that you typically find in grocery stores is NOT appropriate for use in wound care. In fact, your average domestic “Grade A” type honey will likely increase infection. Instead, go for Manuka or raw honey. Manuka honey from New Zealand is a specific type of honey that has actually been approved for use as a medical device, due to its healing properties and superior potency. But you could also use raw honey – it’s just not as potent as Manukabut it will still work to an extent.
#3 Honey Lip salve
If you are suffering from dry chapped lips, whip up your own lip salve in your kitchen. Apply a layer of honey to your lips using a cotton bud. You can use this as a lip balm in the day or as a lip treatment by simply applying a thicker layer and leaving it overnight. Voila! You will wake up with softer, more hydrated lips without having to spend a bomb on expensive lip care products.
#4 Honey body scrub for dry body skin
If you have dry rough patches on your body, whip up this delicious honey scrub in your kitchen in under 10 minutes. Combine one cup of honey with half a cup of grapeseed oil in the mixing bowl. Stir in half a cup of unrefined sea salt, mixing completely. Consistency should be grainy and thick. You have just created your very own “honey seat salt scrub”. Apply scrub to skin and gently massage all over body. Remove with warm, damp towels or rinse in shower. This will help exfoliate dead cells to reveal smoother looking skin while honey will moisturize dehydrated skin naturally.
#5 Honey disinfectant for wounds
After decades of turning up their noses at this ancient wound dressing, modern doctors are turning sweet on honey. Novel as this treatment sounds, it would have inspired yawns among doctors in ancient Egypt—Honey has long been used for centuries in Egypt to treat a wide range of medical problems like wounds, burns, cataracts, skin ulcers and scrapes.
Last year, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration — the equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — approved honey as a medicine. Honey helps wounds in several ways; its viscosity provides a protective barrier, the hydrogen peroxide it contains is kills germs in the wound and it contains anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Researchers first smeared honey on gauze and used it to dress the burns of 52 patients. Another 52 patients got the same treatment but with silver sulfadiazine in place of the honey. In the 52 patients treated with honey, 87% healed within 15 days, compared with 10% of those treated with silver sulfadiazine. The honey-treated patients also experienced less pain, leaking of wound fluid, and scarring.
If you have a wound, make sure you gently wash it under running water to ensure it is clean. Dry it gently, then coat it with either Manuka honey or raw honey. Clean and reapply the honey on the wound daily, until it has healed.
With the increasing threat of antibiotic-resistant infections and drug over-use, the return to honey as a natural, multi-purpose healing therapy is certainly a welcome alternative.
Disclaimer: The above views are the opinions of the writer and should not be substituted for medical advice. Individuals with any health issues should seek professional medical advice from their healthcare provider.