Skip to main content

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

  1. blog
  2. > Skin Treatments

Does eating honey benefit skin?

Your taste buds may love honey. But what about your skin?

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 6 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
woodenspoon with honey
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 6 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Ah, honey. It’s sweet, sticky, and delicious in herbal tea. No wonder why so many call it nature’s candy. But its perks don’t stop at your taste buds. Honey is also full of potential benefits for the skin, which is why it’s often used in makeup and skincare products such as lip balm, moisturizers, and masks. When it comes to skin, most studies on honey’s potential uses focus on its topical application, rather than eating it. But what about internally? When it comes to the benefits of eating honey for your skin, there is not much existing research. However, there are some other potential benefits of eating honey. Here we’ll tell you what the experts have to say.

Potential benefits of eating honey 

Honey contains a wide range of micro and macronutrients, including sugar, protein, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and polyphenols.¹ There are many varieties of honey, and it’s often used as a natural sweetener in everything from hot drinks to stir-fries. 

Besides nutrition, honey is used in traditional medicine and as an alternative treatment for some conditions. It has the potential to treat wounds, eczema, fatigue, dizziness, and much more.² Here are some of the potential benefits of honey: 

  • It’s anti-inflammatory: Honey has anti-inflammatory properties and the consumption of honey has been shown to be effective at treating sore throat as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease.³ 

  • It’s full of antioxidants: Honey is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acids, and its phenolic content is correlated with antioxidant activities.⁴ Honey’s antioxidant activity has been linked to the prevention of acute and chronic disorders such as inflammatory, allergic, diabetic, and cardiovascular conditions.⁵

  • It may improve heart and lung health: Honey regulates some cardiovascular risk factors, including blood glucose, cholesterol, CRP (C-reactive proteins), and body weight. One clinical trial found that people who enjoyed honey daily were less likely to experience acute respiratory symptoms.⁶

  • It may improve memory: In a study of postmenopausal people, those who received honey showed improvement in their immediate memory compared to those who received estrogen and progestin instead.⁷

Potential benefits of applying honey on skin 

If you’re interested in applying honey on your skin, opt for medical grade. Unlike most table honey—the type you’d pick up at the grocery store—medical-grade honey is sterilized and can be used as a dressing for wounds and infections.⁸ Some Manuka honey is medical-grade. Many people also prefer to use raw honey for the skin.

An increasing number of studies advocate using honey as a remedy for several skin conditions. The potential benefits of applying honey on the skin include the following: 

  • It is helpful for wound healing: Studies suggest that honey has antimicrobial properties, which can help in the prevention and management of wound infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also help with wound healing. 

  • It may help treat rosacea: According to a 2015 study, medical-grade New Zealand kanuka honey, which has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity, is a potentially effective topical treatment for rosacea.⁹ More research is needed to confirm the link between honey and rosacea treatment. 

  • It has antibacterial properties: Research indicates that honey also has antibacterial properties when applied to the skin.¹⁰ Some studies report that honey has broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties, which, as we’ve mentioned, make it helpful in wound healing. 

  • It’s a natural emollient: Honey is a humectant,¹¹ which means that it helps moisturize and soften dry, flaky skin. This quality makes it an excellent moisturizing ingredient in balms, moisturizers, masks, creams, and more.

Wondering how to use honey for your face? You can apply it to your skin as a spot treatment or mix it with other ingredients, like oats, to make a honey face mask. You can also use a skin or hair care product that contains honey as directed on the package.

fresh fragant honey drips

Possible side effects of honey 

Using honey on your skin has some great potential benefits, but there could be drawbacks, too. The following are a few possible side effects to be aware of: 

  • It may cause allergic reactions: Like any topical ingredient, honey may cause an allergic reaction. While most people find it easy to tolerate, take extra caution if you have a known allergy to bee venom or pollen. If you have any concerns when applying honey directly to your skin or trying out a new product containing honey, you may want to test it on a small area of your skin to see if you have an adverse reaction. 

  • It may contain bacterial spores: Non-medical-grade honey doesn’t have the same kind of regulation, which means its effects are less predictable. It could contain bacterial spores or other contaminants that might negatively affect your skin.

  • It’s not vegan: Honey is made by bees, and some vegans choose not to use it for that reason. There are many vegan alternatives to honey as a sweetener, including agave syrup and maple syrup, but these don’t have the same potential benefits for the body and skin. 

  • It’s not (all) cruelty-free: Ethically sourced honey is available if you prefer to shop cruelty-free, but it may be more challenging to locate. Try looking for small businesses that produce local honey.

Is beeswax good for the skin? 

Beeswax has several properties that can be good for your skin, like moisturization and protection. For example, it contains beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A delays the breakdown of collagen and increases skin cell division, which can help to regenerate your skin after damage.¹² Applying beeswax to the skin has the following benefits: 

  • It moisturizes: Topical application of beeswax reduces transepidermal water loss, which helps the skin stay hydrated.¹³

  • It forms a protective barrier: Beeswax forms a film on the skin’s surface, protecting it from external factors.

Curology is here to help

Curology Skincare Products

Honey may not be able to prevent an acne breakout, but prescription ingredients can. Finding a reliable, research-backed skincare routine doesn’t always seem easy, which is why we founded Curology to offer accessible dermatology services. Our licensed dermatology providers help take the guesswork out of your skincare routine and treat skin concerns like acne, rosacea, and signs of aging.

As a Curology patient, you’ll be paired with an in-house licensed dermatology provider. They’ll examine your skin and prescribe a personalized formula containing effective active ingredients, such as tretinoin and clindamycin, to help you achieve your skin goals.  

Ready to get started? Sign up today! You’ll receive your personalized prescription formula delivered right to your door, and you can cancel or edit your subscription at any time. Plus, our licensed dermatology providers are available to answer any skincare questions you have!

FAQs

what are the benefits of eating honey?

Besides nutrition, honey is used in traditional medicine and as an alternative treatment for some conditions. It has the potential to treat wounds, eczema, fatigue, dizziness, and much more. Here are some of the potential benefits of honey: 

  • It’s anti-inflammatory

  • It’s full of antioxidants

  • It may improve heart and lung health

  • It may improve memory

What are some potential benefits of applying honey on skin?

An increasing number of studies advocate using honey as a remedy for several skin conditions. The potential benefits of applying honey on the skin include the following: 

  • It is helpful for wound healing: Studies suggest that honey has antimicrobial properties, which can help in the prevention and management of wound infections.

  • It may help treat rosacea: According to a 2015 study, medical-grade New Zealand kanuka honey, which has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity, is a potentially effective topical treatment for rosacea.

  • It has antibacterial properties: Research indicates that honey also has antibacterial properties when applied to the skin.

  • It’s a natural emollient: Honey is a humectant, which means that it helps moisturize and soften dry, flaky skin. This quality makes it an excellent moisturizing ingredient in balms, moisturizers, masks, creams, and more.

Possible side effects of honey?

Using honey on your skin has some great potential benefits, but there could be drawbacks, too. The following are a few possible side effects to be aware of: 

  • It may cause allergic reactions: Like any topical ingredient, honey may cause an allergic reaction. While most people find it easy to tolerate, take extra caution if you have a known allergy to bee venom or pollen.

  • It may contain bacterial spores: Non-medical-grade honey doesn’t have the same kind of regulation, which means its effects are less predictable.

  • It’s not vegan: Honey is made by bees, and some vegans choose not to use it for that reason.

  • It’s not (all) cruelty-free: Ethically sourced honey is available if you prefer to shop cruelty-free, but it may be more challenging to locate.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Ranneh, Y., et al, Honey and its nutritional and anti-inflammatory value. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. (2021).

  2. Samarghandian S, Farkhondeh T, Samini F. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Res. (2017).

  3. Pasupuleti VR, et al. Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits.Oxid Med Cell Longev. (2017).

  4. Pasupuleti VR, et al. Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits.Oxid Med Cell Longev. Ibid.

  5. Ahmed S, Sulaiman SA, Baig AA, Ibrahim M, Liaqat S, Fatima S, Jabeen S, Shamim N, Othman NH. Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxid Med Cell Longev. (2018).

  6. Ahmed S, Sulaiman SA, Baig AA, Ibrahim M, Liaqat S, Fatima S, Jabeen S, Shamim N, Othman NH. Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxid Med Cell Longev. Ibid.

  7. Ahmed S, Sulaiman SA, Baig AA, Ibrahim M, Liaqat S, Fatima S, Jabeen S, Shamim N, Othman NH. Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxid Med Cell Longev. Ibid.

  8. McLoone P, Oluwadun A, Warnock M, Fyfe L. Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin. Cent Asian J Glob Health. (2016).

  9. A topical kanuka honey formulation is an effective treatment for rosacea. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2015).

  10. Ahmed S, et al. Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action.Oxid Med Cell Longev. (2018 January 18).

  11. Burlando B, Cornara L. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review.J Cosmet Dermatol. (December 2013).

  12. Kurek-Górecka A, Górecki M, Rzepecka-Stojko A, Balwierz R, Stojko J. Bee Products in Dermatology and Skin Care. Molecules. (2020).

  13. Kurek-Górecka A, Górecki M, Rzepecka-Stojko A, Balwierz R, Stojko J. Bee Products in Dermatology and Skin Care. Molecules. Ibid.

Elise Griffin is a certified physician assistant at Curology. She received her Master of Medical Science in physician assistant studies from Nova Southeastern University in Jacksonville, FL.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary. 

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

Related Articles

20 products our dermatology providers loveFinasteride vs. minoxidil: Which hair loss treatment is right for you?How to remove makeup without makeup remover wipesThe complete guide to face cleansers for every skin typeSkincare tips for dry skin, according to dermatology providers

Popular Articles

Ask Curology: Is my cold breaking me out?Slugging: The dermatologist-approved skincare hack going viral on TikTokTretinoin vs retinol: What’s the difference?How to create a self-care routine that actually sticksYour 2023 skincare horoscope
Try prescription skincare
30-day trial. Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get routine essentials
A display of Curology Custom Formula bottles on a white shelf.

Good skin days ahead

Join the 1M+ patients who’ve tackled everything from acne, to fine lines, to hair thinning with prescription-powered treatments, personalized by a Licensed Dermatology Provider.
Ingredients proven to tackle
  • Breakouts
  • Redness
  • Fine lines
  • Dark spots
  • Hair thinning
$29.95/month
*Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get StartedShop ProductsWhy CurologyGuidesOur StoryCommunity
All Rights Reserved 2014-2024 Curology Inc.
Terms of ServicePrivacy Notice
Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information