Thursday, May 26, 2011


I've mentioned before that I have "bad" skin: oily, acne-prone, uneven, large pores...pretty much anything that can go wrong does (including being dry in the wintertime!).  I've been on and off prescription meds for my skin for a decade, and while I've generally got it managed (not great, but not terrible), I am always looking for a way to make it better.  I like to browse the most popular and highest rated things on Makeup Alley when I'm procrastinating, which is how I've come across several more "natural" options for skincare, one of which is honey.

The benefits of honey as skincare are many and varied; it has antibacterial properties, is gentle, easily washes off but doesn't strip the skin, and has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  Many people swear by Manuka honey, which is much more expensive than regular honey, and raw unfiltered honey, which I'd heard could be rough on one's skin, so I decided to start with regular honey: cheaper and less risk of any bad reaction.

I don't really like the taste of honey–too sweet.  I do, however, love its effect on my skin.  I initially ordered some organic honey from a seller on Etsy (Shepherdess, currently on vacation), which took a couple of weeks to arrive, but I thought it was worth it to support a small supplier, and for the security of knowing it was as pure and natural as it could get.  It was thick and sticky, I found I had to put a fair amount on in order for it to be spreadable and not tug uncomfortably on my skin, and it had a tendency to stick to my hair.  In spite of these drawbacks, I simply adored it.  I used it twice daily, often with my Clarisonic (review to come!), and after my oil cleanser at night (ditto), and within a week I saw an improvement in the condition of my skin.  It got smoother, was less reactive, had fewer breakouts, and I found that putting honey on any spots I had made them disappear much more quickly (this is including cystic acne, which is notoriously hard to treat!).  I would usually apply it straight to my dry face and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing off with warm water, but I would sometimes mix it with my prescription Sulfa face wash and apply them in the shower to a wet face before washing with my Clarisonic.  The 8 oz bottle lasted me a month, and since it ran out when I had only a couple of weeks left at school, I decided not to reorder it and instead try some honey from Target (Archer Farms raw organic wildflower honey).

Compared to Shepherdess' honey, the stuff from Target was runnier, less sticky, and less effective.  While it's certainly still helping my skin, and hasn't caused any new problems or anything, I don't find it to be working as well as the other did.  I'm going to keep using it for the time being, but I plan to replace it with organic unfiltered raw honey when I get home, which can be found in most health food stores, and in some bigger supermarkets.  Since I'm from Eugene, home to hippies and health nuts, I don't think it will be much of an issue finding it.  And who knows, maybe someday I'll be flush enough to try Manuka honey (though I wouldn't count on it!).  I've also read that mixing honey with yogurt and applying it as a mask can be a beneficial treatment, which is something else on my to-do list.

What about you?  Have you ever used honey in your skincare regimen?  Do you think it's something you'd want to try?
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