Manuka Honey is a type of honey obtained from the nectar of Manuka trees in New Zealand. It has widely been regarded as a “wonderfood”.

The reason for this lies in its extraordinary, naturally occurring properties that enables it to have a profound effect on a variety of health problems.

Manuka Honey for Skin

Use of honey for healing and nourishing of the skin can be found even in historical records. All kind of honey is good for you, because of the presence of a substance called Glucose Oxidase.

This substance exhibits a germicidal effect. But what makes manuka honey so distinctive is the presence of another substance called Methylglyoxal that is observed to have a germ-killing effect above and beyond what just Glucose Oxidase can accomplish .

Honey is renowned to have great cosmetic applications, and this is doubly true in case of manuka honey.

It is at times a major component of cosmetic formulations, exerting emollient, humectant, soothing and hair conditioning effects .

It has a potent effect on the skin, an effect that includes de-ageing of skin as well as a sharp retardation in wrinkle formation .

But perhaps one of its most important applications is by the virtue of its exceptional anti-microbial effect. Skin infections are generally caused by bacteria, such as Streptococcus aureus, and manuka honey has proved to be efficacious in eliminating such bacteria .

Manuka honey works on a variety of skin infections, be it bacterial or fungal.

In fact, manuka honey has been so effective, that it is now believed to have a potential role in clinical treatments as well .

Honey is also used to treat dermatological disorders such as dermatitis, pityriasis, tinea, seborrhea, psoriasis, dandruff etc. by action of its combined anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties along with the effect of anti-oxidant compounds present in it .

Manuka honey is also very effective against inflammation. There are special kinds of white blood cells that are tasked with the job of response to inflammation within the body called monocytes.

Clinical observations have been made, which suggest that honey stimulates monocytes in the region of inflammation to produce compounds that trigger wound healing . Thus it is evident that honey plays a role in reducing inflammation within the body.

Research has concluded that honey possesses anti-inflammatory activities and produces immune response in wounds. The resultant includes faster wound healing and overall reduction in infection .

There exists a widely accepted rating system that is used to establish the potency of store bought manuka honey. This is called the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) Honey Grading System .

This grading system is based on the amount of Methylglyoxal present in the honey, as well as its purity and quality. Regular honey also exhibits anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Many experts claim that an UMF rating below 10 is as good as regular honey, and has no special effect.

Apart from the already mentioned widely celebrated uses, manuka honey is also useful in a number of specific conditions.

1. Acne 

Acne is an incessant problem that plagues everyone. Acne is caused when pores on your skin get clogged due to deposits of oil and dirt causing bacteria, namely Propionibacterium acnes, to start growing in the said pores.

Manuka honey has natural antibacterial properties and stops the growth of bacteria in the pores . Owing to the presence of methylglyoxal, manuka honey slowly disinfects your skin.

In addition to this, manuka honey has anti-inflammatory effects that helps reduces the size of pimples as well as their redness .

2. Scars 

Scars are formed due to deposition of collagen fibres to seal wounds during the natural process of healing. But though scars are formed during healing, they stay long after its done.

Recent studies show that application of manuka honey on wounds can be instrumental in stopping or reducing scar formation. This has more potential in case of surgical wounds where manuka honey not only causes a reduction in scar tissue formation, but also hastens the rate of healing .

3. Athlete’s Foot 

Most common fungal infections are that of the skin, and a very common one among these is althele’s foot. Honey reduces the rate of growth of fungus and also stops the production of toxin from the fungus . Superficial fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot can be treated readily by the application of honey

4. Impetigo

Impetigo is a very contagious skin infection that is common amongst children of age 5-10. It is mainly caused by two organisms – Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes.

Manuka honey is effective against both of these, owing to the presence of methyglyoxal as an antimicrobial compound  . Hence, manuka honey is an easy and fast remedy for this skin infection.

5. Ringworm 

Ringworm is a form of fungal infection restricted to the skin. The fungus that causes this infection feeds off of a protein called keratin that is present on the skin.

It is extremely contagious and is common among people who play sports that involve a high degree of skin to skin contact. The growth of the fungus is retarded by the action of honey .

How to Use Manuka Honey

There are a lot of different ways to use manuka honey. Using it along with other materials sometimes also help enhance its effect. Here are a few ways that manuka honey can be put to use.

For Fungal Infections

Manuka honey can be used as a home remedy to treat fungal infections of the nail and skin. In such a case, the honey has to be applied topically on the site of infection.

  • Clean the infected nail/area of the skin properly.
  • Apply a small amount of Active UMF 20+ Manuka Honey, enough to completely cover the infected region.
  • Cover it with gauze.
  • Repeat twice daily.

It is also recommended that in case of an infection, manuka honey be also taken internally to help boost the immune system. For this, take 3 spoonfuls a day, ½ hour before every meal continuously for about 2-3 months .

skin

Face Pack

Manuka honey can be used without any supplements as a face pack to rejuvenate skin and fight bacterial or fungal infections. It is a natural humectant and possesses antioxidants that helps in “anti-ageing” of the skin by helping restore healthy cells.

Ingredients: Manuka Honey (UMF 10+)

How to apply:

  • Clean your face with a wet washcloth.
  • Apply a layer of manuka honey directly onto your skin.
  • Leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Gently wash it away with warm water.

If your skin feels dry after the pack, you may use a moisturizer. You can repeat this every 2 weeks for healthy, young looking skin.

Antibacterial Face Pack

External application of manuka honey as an antibacterial is useful to treat conditions such as psoriasis. A face pack can be easily made at home for this very purpose.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 teaspoons Manuka Honey (UMF 10+)
  • Ground cinnamon

How to Apply:

  • Take 2-3 teaspoons of Manuka Honey.
  • Add 2 pinches of cinnamon to it, and mix them together properly.
  • Apply to your face. Make sure to cover the entire area and avoid the eyes.
  • Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes.
  • Gently wash it away with warm water.

Cinnamon is a very good antibacterial agent and aids the action of manuka honey in fighting against superficial bacterial infections. If your skin feels very dry after the face pack, you can apply jojoba oil, or coconut oil to restore the balance.

Moisturising Face Pack

This type of a face pack helps enhance the properties of manuka honey that make it so famous as an ingredient used in cosmetic products. It is a natural humectant, and helps moisturize the skin.

In addition, it is comprised of a number of antioxidant compounds that help keep the skin healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Manuka Honey (UMF 10+)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Few drops of olive oil

How to apply:

  • Mix all the three ingredients together till the mixture acquires the consistency of caramel.
  • Clean your skin with a wet washcloth
  • Apply face pack over clean, wet skin. Make sure to avoid the general eye area.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Wash it off with warm water
  • Follow up with a moisturizer

Manuka Honey Face Pack for Acne

Acne is caused by bacteria and thus manuka honey is effective against it due to the presence of antibacterial compounds. It can be used as a face pack for this purpose, along with turmeric.

Turmeric is widely known for its efficiency when dealing with acne and it is also used as part of homemade face packs for a healthy skin.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons manuka honey (UMF 10+)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • Hot water

How to apply:

  • Take 2 teaspoons of flour, and 1 teaspoon of turmeric until you see a light brown coloured powder.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of manuka honey to the mixture. Dip your spoon in hot water beforehand to keep the honey from sticking to it.
  • Mash all the ingredients together to create a thick brownish-orange paste.
  • Apply to your face, while avoiding the sensitive area around the eye
  • Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  • Wash it away gently with warm water.

The flour in the recipe is used only to help in binding of the paste. Be careful when using turmeric as it stains fabric.

Manuka Honey as Face Wash

Manuka honey can also be used to wash your face. This can be used as a daily cleansing method. This method is not as time consuming as putting on a face pack, but also it not very effective if not practiced with frequency.

Ingredients: Manuka Honey (UMF 10+)

How to apply:

  • Wet your face with water.
  • Take a small amount of honey, just enough to apply a thin layer over the entire surface of the skin.
  • Massage it on the skin in circular motions, and avoid the eyes. Use a little water if you feel that the honey is too thick.
  • Leave it on for about 5-10 minutes for a deep-pore cleansing action. This step is optional.
  • Wash it away gently with warm water.

Precautions

Always check the UMF rating on store bought honey for quality and purity.

You may be allergic to manuka honey, especially if you’re already allergic to bees or pollen.

If you’re using manuka honey for the first time, it is recommended that you get a patch test 48 hours beforehand to ensure that there are no adverse allergic reactions.

Consumption of manuka honey is not safe for children under 1 year, as it may cause botulism poisoning .

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