Can manuka honey help you get rid of acne? Yes, in fact it may. Let’s tell you up front that there are no scientific studies confirming this claim. Yet.. But in theory it works. I’ll explain further on in this post.
More importantly, ask people who tried it. Big chance they are positive. Especially if you have tried many things and most didn’t work. That’s the thing with acne right? I think you should consider trying. Only downside? It may get messy. And sticky.
As is the case with so many treatments you are probably inclined to think this is the next so called miraculous natural remedy that doesn’t work. Good for you. A critical mind is a good thing. A pimpled face is less desirable. Most of us know how it sucks when nothing works.
The good news is that there is some evidence, although minimal, and trustworthy reviews showing the manuka honey acne remedy really can be effective.
This post is about the use of manuka honey on acne, the scientific facts, user experiences and more useful information. Read on to find out more.
Why Should You Use Manuka Honey for Acne?
It has been years ago since I suffered from acne and I have never used honey myself in this matter. Simply because didn’t know about it back then. So I don’t have experience with using honey to get rid of acne myself. But I do know a fair bit about honey in relation to skin care.
When writing about manuka honey and skin care I regularly stumble upon experts saying honey really can be an effective acne cure. Also posts on the acne.org forum show this natural remedy really works for (certain) people. Links to the sources further on this page.
Since both clinical findings as well as experiences of people on forums are promising and there isn’t much awareness about this natural solution yet I thought it might be a good idea to look into this. Especially considering the antibacterial,anti-inflammatory, dermal empowering aspects of Manuka honey.
In order to determine if honey really does get rid of acne we first have to take a close look to what acne exactly is. Scientifically that is.
What Exactly is Acne?
acne causes and definition
What exactly causes acne is not quite clear. Hormonal changes during puberty and pregnancy are commonly thought to be causes. Also genetics seem to influence acne.
Acne is simply said clogged pores. These pores get clogged by dead skin cells and a naturally present oil (sebum). A bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes which also naturally occurs in the skin attracts white blood cells. These blood cells produce an enzyme causing inflammation (red bumps) as a reaction to clogging of the pores. A correlation results in an increase of the growth of the bacteria. Ultimately progressing in pimples, severe acne and possibly scars.
Get Rid of Acne with Manuka Honey?
What are the Benefits of Honey regarding Acne?
How certain improvements exactly are accomplished is not fully understood yet but in general getting rid of acne is thought to have to do with 4 criteria: (The best cures provide a combination of these effects)
regulate shedding in the pore to prevent clogging
destroy the ‘Propionibacterium acnes’ bacteria
Manuka honey is the most researched, most powerful medicinal honey known today. It has the ability to penetrate skin tissue and treat infections beneath the skin. Clinically proven to cure wounds, infections, ulcers and other skin conditions. Its antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties are unchallenged. Read scientific reports here.
So apart from conquering inflammation and bacteria, which are two major factors in acne, Manuka honey also has shown to draw out impurities in, even in highly infested, problematic, wounds. So it might have the same effect on acne pimples as well. It also has proven to stimulate the growth of new skin cells and fasten wound closure which helps reduce acne scars.
Being aware of these wonderful properties it could be very legitimate to suggest Manuka honey might be a really good natural acne remedy.
Does Honey Really Get Rid of Acne?
does it kill Propionibacterium acnes bacteria?
Many species of bacteria are destroyed by the osmotic (water extracting) effect of Manuka honey. Also acidity (a low pH value) is a significant antibacterial factor of honey. It must be used topically because when digested it dilutes which decreases or diminishes its acidic action.
Hydrogen peroxide is another powerful antibacterial agent. Although present in all honeys Manuka honey has something extra. Previously called UMF or MGO, now labeled the Molan Gold Standard, this trait is the most powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory aspect of Manuka. (The label indicates the honey has been laboratory tested for its activity)
What might be the most convincing argument for this cure is the fact that scientists doing research on Manuka honey have not found any type of harmful bacteria resistant to Manuka honey’s special antibacterial activity. Although this sounds promising, we want proof. So is there clinical evidence Manuka honey kills the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria?
A look at the Waikato Honey Research website shows one of the researchers of this university’s current interests is a subject called: “Trials of honey to treat acne”. (after the redesign of their website they haven’t made these publications available yet.) So they think it might work and are looking into it but there are no study reports on this particular subject yet.
Sugar in Honey Supposed to Worsen Acne?
what about bacteria feeding on sugar
The statement that honey should not be used for acne because of its sugar content should be invalidated. The thought behind this argument is that bacteria feed on sugar, thus acne would get worse.
Facts are that honey’s high sugar content along with its low Ph makes it an antimicrobial agent, actually inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
How To Use Manuka Honey To Get Rid Of Acne
honey face mask, stipping spots..
For some users it dries out their spots while other people say it only helps even their coloring and complexion. Although not an over night miracle cure but with some time and dedication it may actually work.
Get Rid of Acne with a Honey Face Mask
Just spread a layer of honey on your face. It’s best to use sterile manuka honey without any other ingredients.
Real Active Manuka Honey
I recommend manuka honey with an UMF rating of at least 10+ or an MGO rating of 200+. Always go for reputable brands that have their honey tested for antibacterial activity in certified labs. In my opinion the best brands are East Cape, Manuka Health, Comvita, and Watson and Son.
Pros and Cons of Honey to Get Rid of Acne
might give a tingling, slight stinging sensation
no side effects
really seems to work
Reviews on Acne.org
Reviews of people suffering from acne who started using Manuka honey. Click on the links below to read their experiences.
Stuff works great to fade redmarks and kill bacteria. I’ve tried everything. EVERYTHING! This is the only stuff that actually worked. Only been on it for 2 days, and I can see a noticeable difference.
In conclusion for now, I’ve used the Active Manuka Honey for two days now (no make-up) and had seen some dramatically positive results. Only two days!!! The red blotchiness is almost completely gone, zits dried up and skin tone looking a lot better. Looks like scars are fading as well. I love this stuff.
Manuka Honey Acne Testimonial
I found this testimonial on Tumblr:
” As a typical teenager I too suffered from acne. As I entered my 20’s I expected my skin problems to disappear. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I’ve tried everything from over the counter products to prescription medication. I had heard through a friend that manuka honey could be used for my problem.
With no hope left I was willing to try something new. My very first night I applied the honey to my blemish and covered it with a band-aid. The following morning to my surprised I noticed a dramatic improvement. Not only had the size, swelling and the redness been reduced by I could barely notice that I had a blemish at all! I have finally found a solution to my skin imperfections! Thank you Manuka Honey! “
A Bit About Staph Infections and Acne
2 different things
Staph infections can infect wounds as well as occur on the skin. Little pus filled breakouts will appear which look like pimples. Sometimes this type of skin infection is wrongly thought to be acne vulgaris.
Commonly antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor to treat this infection. However more and more bacteria get resistant to antibiotics. Research has shown Manuka honey to be effective at killing the Staphylococcus bacteria, the cause of this skin condition. Actually this specific bacteria is very sensitive to the antibacterial action of Manuka honey.
“seven species of bacteria most commonly involved in wound infection have been tested for their sensitivity to the antibacterial activity of honey. The results thus showed that these honeys, with an average level of activity, could be diluted nearly ten-fold yet still completely inhibit the growth of all the major wound-infecting species of bacteria… …Manuka honey, with an average level of activity, could be diluted with 54 times its volume of fluid yet still completely inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, the major wound-infecting species, and a species notorious for its development of resistance to antibiotics.”
Studies, Clinical Trials?
Many websites, companies etc. state that clinical trials have shown Manuka honey in fact is an effective way to get rid of acne. I, however, am not completely convinced. I do think it works but I would like to see links to study reports. I can’t seem to find them searching online. But in the near future studies will be done and possible proof will be there. Until that time I think it is a remedy worth investing some money and time in.
So Does Manuka Honey Help Acne?
There has not been done specific research done on the efficacy of Manuka honey on destroying the Propionibacterium acnes. So there is no scientific proof it works (yet).
However considering its cumulative antibacterial properties, the many positive experiences, the abundance of studies showing its efficacy in killing other types of bacteria and infections, all together make this natural remedy a good candidate for the most effective natural get rid of acne solution available. Not sure where to get your jar of manuka honey? Check out this post.