Manuka honey is produced via bees consuming the nectar of a flowering tree, the Leptospermum scoparium or tea tree. Most of you will be familiar with tea tree oil and its skincare properties. It should come as no surprise that the honey produced from this tree's flowers contains active substances that promote skin health. Combined with other ingredients, Manuka honey can create a soothing, healing balm.
The Chemistry Behind Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is dark cream to dark brown in color and is usually viscous. The trees producing it are native to New Zealand. The honey produced in New Zealand is purity tested, with a standardized test of three key chemical ingredients: methylglyoxal (MGO), dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and leptosperin. The latter serves as a signature compound to certify pure Manuka honey. The former two chemicals are key to its healing properties.
Honey in general is one of the world's oldest remedies dating back to ancient Egypt. Containers of it have been found in the tombs of notable Egyptians, and some of the first medical texts mention it. It was often used as part of a poultice for wound healing.
Why is Manuka honey so ideal for promoting skin health?
The MGO and hydrogen peroxide in Manuka honey have powerful antibacterial qualities. Manuka honey has even been shown to protect against E. coli and MRSA, although large-scale scientific studies are ongoing. Manuka honey is a great way to obtain natural skin protection against germs, without resorting to chemical-heavy and dehydrating alcohol-based products.
Furthermore, it is an effective humectant (moisturizer). Its high sugar content draws water to the skin and locks in moisture.
Essential to Manuka honey's popularity is its wound healing quality - Manuka honey energizes certain cells called fibroblasts. These clever cells secrete proteins which repair other cells. Combined with its antibacterial qualities, Manuka honey is great for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, or dry skin.
The comparatively low pH of Manuka honey (3.4 to 4.5) balances out the much higher pH value of damaged skin, which can be excessively alkaline. The result is a healthier, more neutral pH rating with less irritation.
Manuka Honey in a Nutshell
Nature and history are on your side with Manuka honey. Those industrious New Zealand bees work together to produce an effective substance that soothes broken, irritated or inflamed skin. It protects against infection whilst locking in moisture, which is something very few artificial products can claim.
From Ancient Egypt to present day science, a consensus has formed - Manuka honey is one of the healthiest ways to protect your skin from the stressors of weather, bacteria and injury.
Where Can I Get Manuka Honey?
For effective skincare. Manuka honey can best be found as a natural, active ingredient in skin balms such as Blossom Essentials' Honeybutter, a waterless salve to soothe irritated skin.