Honey are not all the same, and, depending on the methods used to process them after extraction, each type of honey has its own peculiar properties and benefits to health and skin. Raw honey benefits for skin are many, and certainly more than can be offered by other types of honey. Why? This article contains the answers. Read on and find the answers. But first things first:
What Is Honey
According to Wikipedia, honey is a sweet, thick and sticky, edible substance produced by bees and some related insects. Furthermore, that honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose and has the same relative sweetness as sucrose.
Bees make honey from the sugary secretion of flowering plants called nectar. Nectar consists of dilute sugar and glucose which are both simple sugars. Bees extract nectar from flowers which they store in their “extra stomach”. While in their “extra stomach”, the nectar mixes with enzymes which catalyze the breakdown of the sucrose into glucose and fructose.
Upon returning to their hive, the bees pass the nectar to other bees through the process of regurgitation who in turn deposit it in the honeycomb where it is fanned by the bees using their wings to get the water out of it. Once most of the water evaporates from the honeycombs, the bees seal the combs with a liquid secreted from their abdomen which eventually hardens into beewax.
With the help of the beewax, the honey is stored as food for the bees in the cold winter months. It is this bees food, which is packed with healthy plant compounds possessing various health as well as skin benefits that we humans collect for our use.
What Happens To Honey After It Is Collected From The Combs?
There is a process that honey goes through beginning from when it is collected from the honeycomb to the time it ends up in the grocery store. This process, called pasteurization, involves heating and filtering of the honey. Various reasons have been given for pasteurizing and filtering honey. They include the desire to kill bacteria and yeast, to reduce and delay crystallization, to remove extraneous solids in it after extraction, and to make it look more appealing to consumers.
In the process of pasteurization, honey losses most of the properties which makes it valuable. The natural enzymes and nutrients in it are destroyed by the heat to which it is subjected in the process. Most honeys found in grocery stores are pasteurized honey.
On the other hand is honey which is in the state in which it is collected or extracted from the beehive. It has not been subjected to any process of heating or filtering as its other counterpart. This type, which is in its natural state, is called raw honey.
About Raw Honey.
Raw Honey, as I stated earlier, is honey in its natural state. It is honey that has not been subjected to any process involving heating, safe for the 95 degrees F which is the normal temperature of the beehive, nor filtration. The National Honey Board describes raw honey as “honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat.”
Raw honey is honey in its natural state as collected or extracted from the beehive and has all of its nutrients ( natural vitamins, enzymes, and other nutritional elements ) preserved. It is not ultra-filtered to the point that pollen and organic materials, which are the essence of honey, are removed.
Characteristic Of Raw Honey
Knowing the difference between raw honey and the pasteurized honey is important especially if your intention is to use it for medical or skin care purposes. Here are some little facts that differentiate raw honey from the regular type
- Raw honey has the tendency to crystallize and granulate with time. This, however, does not affect its quality other than the change in color and texture, rather it works to preserve it. The crystallization can appear in various forms and shapes depending on the type of honey that it is.
- Raw honey has all the beneficial properties of honey like actives, living enzymes, vitamins, minerals, pollen and a host of other beneficial substances intact.
- Raw honey is thick, milky and cloudy in appearance due to the presence of impurities – dirty looking particles, pollen and bee body parts. In fact, that is the assurance that it is real raw honey.
Beneficial Properties Of Raw Honey
Raw honey is very high in nutritious ingredients that makes it very healthy and wonderful for not only medical uses but for skin care purposes as well.
Enzymes In Honey
The main enzymes in honey are diatase(amylase), invertase and glucose oxidase. Other enzymes like catalase and phosphatase can also be present depending on the type of flower source of the honey. Glucose oxidase produces hydrogen peroxide, a known antiseptic which contributes to the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of honey.
Antioxidant Properties Of Honey
Honey contains several antioxidant compounds each of which contributes significantly to the antioxidant capacity of honey though they work together. The most important antioxidants in honey are:
- Polyphenols (flavonoids flavonols, phenolic acids, catechins, and peptides)
- Vitamins (C and E)
- Enzymes (catalase, peroxidase and glucose oxidase)
- Organic acids
- Amino acids and proteins
It is these substances in honey (also found in wine, fruits, and vegetables) that are most responsible for its antioxidant profile and therefore the healthy image of these foods. The quality and quantity of antioxidants found in honey is a reflection of the floral source as well as the variety of the particular honey.
Also, the color of honey influences its antioxidant content, thus, darker honeys are stronger antioxidants than lighter ones, according to an article published here.
Phytonutrients, also called phytochemical, are compounds found in plants. Phytonutrients provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which help you to be healthy. Honey also has phytonutrients because it is made from plant. These valuable nutrients are unique to raw honey but are destroyed when heavily processed.
Vitamins In Honey
Raw honey contains an appreciable number of vitamins and a high concentration of B-Complex vitamins. They include Vit B1 (thiamine), Vit B2 (riboflavin), Vit B3 (niacin), Vit B5 (pantothenic acid), Vit B6 (pyridoxine), and Vit C (ascorbic acid).
Other Compounds In Honey
Other beneficial substances in raw honey include proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates
What Benefits Does Raw Honey Offer The Skin?
Raw honey is high in several nutritious, health-promoting properties. And, just as they are beneficial for your health, so do they offer your skin a lot of benefits, and for this reason, it is wonderful in skin care. Raw honey offers your skin benefits in the following ways:
Honey is a natural humectant. What this means is that it moisturizes the top layer of your skin. It draws moisture to your skin and makes it hydrated and smooth reducing wrinkles and fine lines. The antioxidant properties of honey help fight free radicals that cause cell damage leading to aging signs.
A Natural moisturizer
The humectant properties of honey help to draw moisture to your skin. Coupled with its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, you have got a smooth, soft, and supple skin.
Treatment Of Acne
Due to the antibacterial property of honey, it is wonderful for treatment and prevention of acne. Raw honey is high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, healing, and cleansing properties make it a wonderful product for the treatment of acne.
The application of raw honey, which is a calming agent, on acne reduces the swelling and kills the acne-causing bacteria. Raw honey owes its antibacterial capacity to the enzymes in honey which produce hydrogen peroxide. Honey also helps the skin to heal faster and prevents acne scars.
The enzymes found in honey promote healthy skin cell production and provide a natural glow to the skin. Treating acne with honey helps to keep your skin blemish-free. Its moisture content makes your skin soft and supple giving it a youthful appearance.
Honey For Cleansing
Honey is acidic just like citrus. Its cleansing properties are due to its acidic nature and the antioxidants naturally found in it. Honey is a gentle cleanser and for this reason, it cannot be used as a makeup remover, so, you would have to take off your makeup before washing with it. It is also for this reason that it is suitable for all skin type
Honey for exfoliation
Honey contains gluconic acid, a mild alpha hydroxy acid which clears the pores of grime and brightens the complexion. It is excellent for exfoliation as it gently sloughs off dead skin cells leaving your skin looking fresher and younger.
Best Honey For Skin Care
Both the pasteurized and raw honey are gentle on the skin. However, raw honey possesses more nutritional properties and would offer your skin more nutrients.
Pasteurized honey is bereft of all the good enzymes and naturally occurring beneficial properties of honey as a result of the heating that it undergoes. For skin care purposes, therefore, raw and unfiltered honey is better.
It is important to note that all honeys are not made equally, and depending on the floral source, certain honeys may contain a higher quality and quantity of antioxidants and other nutrients than others. Manuka honey, for example, is said to contain 4 times the amount of nutrients found in other honeys.
Similarly, honey made from nectar sourced from the avocado flower is bound to offer the skin better benefits as avocado is an excellent skin care ingredient.
The color of honey also influences the quality and quantity of nutrients that it contains. Studies have shown that darker honeys have more nutrients than their lighter counterparts
When purchasing honey, in order to be sure of purchasing the original raw honey, look for labels that have “Raw”, “All-Natural“, “Organic” or “Pure honey” written on it.
Where To Purchase Raw Honey
How do you ensure you are buying real raw honey? It is by buying from local beekeepers which you can do easily online. You can also buy here
Although allergic reactions to honey are rare, it can happen if the pollen an individual is allergic to is present in honey. Also, honey eaten right from the comb could be harmful to those with pollen allergies
Honey is high in valuable nutrients which make it very useful for medicinal purposes. And due to these nutrients contained in honey, it is very excellent for skin care purposes as well. This benefits, however, can be found only in raw honey. There are several ways that you can incorporate raw honey into your skincare regimen for a better, long-lasting youthful look.
What are your views or experiences with this wonderful food and skin care product? Share with us by dropping a comment or question below and I will gladly get back to you.