Acne is an utterly annoying skin problem. If not properly treated, acne can cause permanent marks on your face that is difficult to remedy by merely using over-the-counter medicines. But here’s the good news: in the recent years, skin experts have already conducted various researches to formulate effective treatments for acne. One of these is the use of Manuka honey. This article briefly outlines the use of Manuka honey on acne. It also discusses the therapeutic qualities of this type of honey, its benefits, and drawbacks.
What is Manuka honey?
Manuka honey is produced when bees pollinate the Manuka bush or Leptospermum scoparium, an indigenous plant from New Zealand. A lot of research works and hospital trials have been conducted to investigate its usefulness as a medicine.
Honey has a component called hydrogen peroxide that is known to have an antibiotic property. But research shows that some types, such as the Manuka honey, also have additional components that possess antibacterial qualities. The major antibacterial element is referred to as methylglyoxal (MG). Although most types of honey have this compound, they contain only very small amounts of it. Depending on the potency of its antibacterial quality, the Manuka honey can be used to treat a wide range of both internal and external illnesses and conditions. The “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF) is a gauge for potency of the Manuka honey. It is a concentration of rare antioxidant phenols that directly impedes the growth of bacteria and progresses healing.
Natural Benefits and Drawbacks
Back in the ancient times, people used honey to dress wounds. It is only during the last decade that its possible clinical benefits have been acknowledged and taken seriously. Honey is now considered as the first-line treatment for skin surface illnesses. It is also reported—although there is limited evidence to it—to be effective in treating stomach ulcers and other digestive ailments because of its anti-inflammatory and probiotic qualities. Its antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties also render it to be a potent remedy for colds, sinusitis, sore throat, acid reflux, acne, heartburn, and ringworm. Another aspect that warrants further work is Manuka honey’s possible effect on people with diabetes.
One should note that other varieties of honey do not have the same antibacterial properties like those found in Manuka honey. Different honey types have varying effects on different bacteria.
Why Use Manuka Honey for Acne
Although there have been no definitive studies that can validate the effectiveness of this type of honey for treating acne, it is widely accepted as having antibacterial and wound-healing properties. Because of this, it is still safe to assert that it is a great treatment for acne.
Acne is caused when the pores clog due to dead skin cells and sebum, the oil that the body naturally secretes. It is caused by a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. Manuka works by combating such type of bacteria. It can penetrate the skin tissue to treat underlying infections and has the ability to draw moisture out from an affected area, hence, killing the bacteria.
Manuka honey is also known to purge your pores of impurities, which can lead to bacteria getting trapped underneath the skin— the leading culprits of infections and inflammation. Moreover, it is free of irritating agents, and is therefore safe for sensitive skin. It also nurtures, moisturizes, and protects the skin. Because of these, the skin pigmentation caused by spots heals rather quickly.
Pros and Cons
Since the Manuka honey is natural, it is guaranteed to be safe for your skin. It has the ability to moisturize and soften dry and rough skin, making it smooth and supple. Furthermore, it is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals. The downside to it is it is sticky and quite messy to administer. It might also give you a tingling and slightly stinging sensation. Reviews also say that there is an initial purging phase that lasts about a week depending on skin types where more pimples may break out. But it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm since after this, the acne head will come to surface and eventually dry out. Users relate that it takes some patience before one gets to see the results.
How to Get Rid of Acne with Manuka Honey
Here is a suggestion for a facial mask to fight acne. You will need 2 to 3 tablespoon of Manuka honey and 3 to 4 tablespoon of cinnamon powder. Mix them together to form a smooth mixture. Apply it directly on the affected areas before sleeping. You can also apply it on the entire face if you like. Leave the mask on your face during the night and wash it with warm water in the following morning. This will quickly make your acne dry out and heal.
How to Choose the Right Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is slowly climbing to the pinnacle of popularity. That is why it is not difficult to find them in stores and supermarkets. In choosing the right Manuka honey though, look for the official UMF trademark to verify the brand’s legitimacy. There is an independent body that tests and certifies this type of honey—the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association. Look for its official logo whenever you buy Manuka honey.
Known as the major antibacterial component found in Manuka honey, Methylglyoxal (MG) gives the honey its antibacterial potency. Choose the Manuka honey product that has the highest content of MG as shown by its UMF rating. One that has at least 10 UMF is considered to be powerful enough to be therapeutic. Those that are at or above that level are sold as “UMF Manuka Honey” or “Active Manuka Honey.”
Named after the highly-acclaimed expert in Manuka honey—Professor Peter Molan—the Molan Gold Standard is embodied in a certification mark, which signifies the bioactivity of Manuka honey brands. It is the successor of the UMF rating system.
Given these facts, it is easy to see why Manuka honey is gaining popularity around the world. Nonetheless, consumers must be cautioned that the type used for treating wounds is the medical-grade active Manuka honey, and not the one you commonly see in store shelves. It is vital to know that for acne, one must choose the most effective brand to use for acne facial mask. Just look for that with the highest UMF rating or one with a Molan Gold Standard, and you can be sure your acne will vanish in no time.
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- Therapeutic Uses of Active Manuka Honey
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- Jonathan Benson, 2012, How to properly use manuka honey (and where to find it)
- Healthy Living, 2011, Molan Gold Standard Manuka Honey
- Suzanne S. Wiley, 2011, Information on manuka honey