Acne Treatments - Honey Mask

Using honey or raw honey to treat acne |

Honey is a natural antiseptic and many people use it as mask to help soothe and heal their skin. However, if you are allergic to bees, it's probably not a good idea to use this mask.

Honey is superb for healing burns and small cuts. It's also a humectant, which means it helps keep your skin moisturized. Because of all of these amazing qualities, honey is thought to treat acne as well. I mean, it's antibacterial, it helps with wound healing, and it even keeps your skin hydrated. What more could you ask for?

But of course, there is always a catch.

Honey will help clear your skin if your acne is from bacterial problems, but if your acne is from hormones, irritation, or any of the other numerous causes of acne, then honey probably won't do much at all. It could help soothe existing breakouts and heal irritated skin, which could help improve your complexion, but it won't make acne disappear and never come back.

Different Types of Honey

Honey Mask for AcneThere are many different types of honey. Manuka honey is supposed to be the best one out of all of them, followed by raw honey. They are both much more expensive than regular honey (around $7-$10 per jar at health food stores or online), but their benefits are worth the extra dough.

I've never used manuka honey before, but I have tried regular honey and raw honey. Having compared the two, I've got to say, raw honey is much better than regular honey. It just feels more soothing, nourishing, and "smooth."

Raw honey also looks different from regular honey because it's unfiltered. It's thicker and has an opaque color to it instead of being translucent. Additionally, there are bits and pieces of grainy things in it, which are rumored to be bee parts and other miscellaneous things (poor bees!). Some places sell "unfiltered" honey, but if it doesn't have the word "raw" written somewhere on the bottle, it's safe to assume that it's not raw honey.

How to Use Honey to Treat Acne

Using honey for your acne is pretty straightforward. You just scoop some out of the jar and apply to your face like you would a mask. Since honey is a bit thick, it helps to dampen your skin or to apply the honey with wet hands to help it spread better. (Sometimes, people like to add honey to home-made recipes, like the aspirin mask or apple cider vinegar toner.)

If you're using honey for the first time, spot test a small area of your jaw line to make sure you're not sensitive or allergic to the honey. You can pretty much leave the honey mask on your skin for as long as you want, but it depends on how your skin reacts. Most people wash the mask off after 30 minutes. I actually like to keep it on for an hour and on days my skin is feeling especially shoddy, I even go to sleep without washing it off. If your skin tolerates honey well, you should be able to use it as frequently as you wish. I tend to use a raw honey mask once a month to give my skin some extra oomph.

Honey masks are a little bit tricky though because unlike most masks, honey doesn't dry up. It'll sort of slip and slide all over your face, so you want to make sure you don't apply too much honey. Otherwise, the warmth from your skin will liquefy the honey even more and cause it to run or drip.

Besides using honey as a mask, you can also use it as a spot treatment or Neosporin-replacement. I find that if I put a blob of raw honey on a would-be pimple, it sometimes brings it to a tiny head by the next day. For my mom, raw honey is especially handy around the kitchen for whenever she gets burns.

A fun way to use honey is to slather it on and then keep patting your face with the palms of your hand. This will create a bit of a suction feeling and as you pat all over, it will help improve the circulation in your skin.

My Experience with Honey and Acne

I have used both regular honey and raw honey before and there definitely is a big difference. Regular honey never does anything for my skin, but raw honey makes it look brighter and less red. Raw honey doesn't make my skin feel more moisturized, but it does make it feel more soothed. It's also easier to wash off with water.

Whenever I feel a pimple coming, I dab a bit of raw honey on it to either 1) bring it to a head or 2) shrink it before it has a chance to get big. On some days, I even sleep with the honey mask on. Keeping your pillow cases, hair, hands, and sheets honey-free is quite a daunting task, so if you plan to sleep with a honey mask, lay down a towel over everything.

Before, I thought I could just smear a teeny, tiny bit of honey on my face and go to bed, but even the slightest traces of honey would run all over the place. I can't tell you how many mornings I woke up with honey down my neck and in my ears. Not to mention, having my hair and pillow cases all glued to my face!

But the secret to preventing honey from running while you sleep is not to just use tiny amounts of it, but to use tiny, diluted amounts. Diluting honey helps it stick to your skin instead of to other honey particles so it doesn't spread and run everywhere. I usually take a pea sized amount of honey, mix with some water, and then pat on with the palms of my hand. I guess instead of a honey mask, it's more like a honey toner. But, I wait for the honey-water mixture to dry a bit before going to sleep.

Another method a helpful reader kindly pointed out is to apply honey directly to your skin and then lay a piece of paper face mask on top to keep the honey in place. If you live in Asia, these paper masks (dry ones are usually sold as little pellets that you have to rehydrate) are found at stores like Watson's, Cosmed, or Sasa's. If not, you might be able to find them at your local Asian grocery and/or cosmetics store. But, a paper towel (with holes cut out for your eyes, nose, and lips) could easily do the trick!

Unfortunately, although raw honey seems to soothe and heal existing skin irritations, it does not prevent acne from forming in the first place (which is my main problem). But, give it a try. You'll never know how much you may love it if you never try using it.

Bottom line: If you can afford it, give the honey mask a try. However, don't expect any miracles when it comes to acne. Honey is more for soothing skin than it is for clearing acne.

Last updated: May 7, 2013

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