The Many Skin Benefits of Manuka Honey

Have you heard about the skin benefits of manuka honey? Let's take a look at what sets manuka honey apart from regular ol' honey + how it helps keep skin naturally healthy, clear, youthful, and hydrated. Yes, all that!

Have you heard about the skin benefits of manuka honey? Let’s take a look at what sets manuka honey apart from regular ol’ honey + how it helps keep skin naturally healthy, clear, youthful, and hydrated. Yes, all that!


Miracles do happen, my friend.

And every week or so, I apply a little miracle to my skin: manuka honey.

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. It is used in both traditional and modern medicine (yep!) for its natural antibacterial properties. In addition to containing hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey is high in the antibacterial methylglyoxal (MG). MG is found in most types of honey in small quantities. However, manuka honey contains up to 100 times more MG than normal honey.

Here are a few recognizable bacteria and viruses that MG has been shown to kill when tested in a lab environment:

  • Helicobacter pylori (i.e. H. pylori): The bacterium known to cause many stomach ulcers and “leaky gut” syndrome
  • Staphylococcus aureus (i.e. staph infection) and MRSA: These “super-bugs” are known for their resistance to many antibiotics
  • Escherichia coli (i.e. E. Coli): Known to cause serious food poisoning
  • Streptococcus pyogenes (i.e. strep throat): The bacterium known to cause strep throat

Pretty amazing, huh?

But manuka honey belongs on your bathroom shelf as much as it does in a medical clinic or hospital.

Have you heard about the skin benefits of manuka honey? Let's take a look at what sets manuka honey apart from regular ol' honey + how it helps keep skin naturally healthy, clear, youthful, and hydrated. Yes, all that!


Manuka honey benefits the skin in SO many ways…

Manuka honey helps keep skin clear

Manuka honey works wonders for blemished skin because of its aforementioned natural antibacterial properties.

It is also a potent anti-inflammatory, so soothes inflamed skin while healing blemishes.

In other words: this sticky-sweet substance is your problem skin’s best friend (or worst enemy, depending on which way you want to look at it).

Manuka honey helps slow the signs of aging

MG has been shown to increase collagen cross-linking, promoting the structural growth of collagen in skin cells. Healthy collagen means healthy, firm, youthful-looking skin.

Manuka honey helps skin retain moisture

Manuka honey is a natural humectant, drawing moisture into the skin. Hydrated skin looks smoother and more youthful, and heals more quickly.


manuka honeyNot all manuka honey is created equally.

The bioactivity or strength, so to speak, of manuka honey varies and is indicated by a number ranging between 5 and 25.

  • UMF 5-9: low activity levels
  • UMF 10-15: moderate activity levels
  • UMF 16+: high activity levels

You may have noticed that I’ve been linking you to an organic, raw 16+ manuka honey that comes in a glass jar. This is the honey I own and it checks off all of the boxes (you know how I feel about plastic). Yes, it looks pricey and it is. But this 11.5 oz jar will last a VERY long time, particularly if you are using it for topical use only. Plus, manuka honey has a practically infinite shelf life.


So how can you use manuka honey on your skin?

As I mentioned at the very beginning of this post, I use manuka honey weekly as a face mask. Yes, that’s it!

After washing and gently exfoliating my face, I pat it dry and apply a very thin (probably about a teaspoon total) layer of manuka honey. I let it sit at least 30 minutes, then wash it off with warm water and apply my DIY face oil for oily and acne-prone skin.

When it comes down to it, manuka honey makes for a super simple, all-natural, effective face mask.

Manuka honey for skin || Have you heard about the skin benefits of manuka honey? Let's look at how it helps heal wounds + keep skin naturally clear, youthful, and hydrated!


Sources and further reading

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  1. The 16+ on the jar does not refer to the honey’s UMF rating – that is why it says “active 16+” on the label instead of “UMF.” Wedderspoon explains why it does not follow the UMF system on it’s website. This is a small excerpt, but they got into more detail on their site (http://www.wedderspoon.com/shop/pages/FAQ.html):

    “They are not exactly related to other known trademarks such as products licensed by the Unique Manuka Factor Association since such trademarks are covering medical claims, not supported by the Food and Drug Administration or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and therefore not legally approved for foods and honeys.”

  2. a comment someone left on wedderspoon is as follows…..

    “The results of an analysis performed by NZLabs on two different Wedderspoon products were disclosed yesterday. The analysis included a jar labeled as Active 16+ and another jar labeled as Active 12+, both of which were found to have non-peroxide and total peroxide activity of less than 8.2 which is as low as the test goes. This suggests that the potency of the Wedderspoon Manuka Honey had to be either extremely low or nonexistent. It certainly confirms that the honeys were not of the potency that they were labeled as having.

    “This is not only unethical and dishonest, it’s an absolute disgrace,” says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International which is a U.S. importer of Manuka honey. “This type of inactive Manuka honey will not yield the same medicinal results that people have come to expect.” .

    “Wedderspoon has been able to get away with this deceptive and fraudulent practice because the FDA doesn’t recognize honey of any kind as being an antibacterial agent. Therefore, they do not have a role in regulating the potency level of Manuka honey. Nevertheless, consumers have come to recognize the numbers indicated on the label as the potency level. Wedderspoon has twisted the general public’s understanding of Manuka honey’s antibacterial activity by misleading their customers into thinking that they were getting more than what they paid for”

  3. Nadia,

    Thanks for posting this article. The links you have to reputable sources are very helpful. It’s sometimes difficult to explain to our friends and customers that Manuka Honey isn’t some fad, but actually has verifiable effects on skin health and has been used for a lot longer than most drug and chemical-infused products out there.

    We have been using UMF 16+ Honey in our products, which is becoming more and more difficult as the source price keeps going up. Unfortunately, we have found a TON of counterfeit (or sometimes simply misleading and/or mislabeled) manuka products out there.

    Interested to hear if you did more follow-up on the comment Kelley left?

  4. Collagen cross linking is bad for the skin. It causes loss of elasticity. I’m sure Manuka honey does not encourage cross linking and that is just a typo on your part, but you may want to correct.

  5. Hello dear
    Good info about manuka honey.But a quik question please help me with it.whenever i apply honey on my face its either plain or mixed with something i always always got red pimples.just want to know is it because mu honey is not pure enough or if i try manuka?is it worth spending money for manuka honey.i dont understand if honey is antibacterial how could i get pimples with it?ican i use manuka???i really want to apply honey ony face for its beautifull properties.
    Please help me out.eagrly waiting for ur reply
    Thanks a lot Nadia
    Love ur blog..

  6. No UMF seal on these honey products which verify the proper amount of activity. It needs to say UMF with the number. You can get ripped off wth anything less. A lot of the high dollar stuff has been tested and flunked.

  7. I have a 4 month old baby boy who has Dermatitis of the back, shoulder,s arm,s and knees, would Manuka honey help him and what would be the best way of giving it to him ..Please HELP…

  8. Nadia,

    Did you ever find any information on the UMF ratings of Wedderspoon, or where to purchase quality Manuka? I keep checking back to see if you respond to that comment, as I am eager to purchase some honey. Thank you.

    V

  9. Have you used Manuka oil? I was considering trying this out but wanted to get more information on it and make sure I’m buying from a reputable source.
    TIA!

  10. I have used it before. It’s supposed to be very antibacterial. I personally prefer tea tree, but it may work well for you – if you give it a go, please share your experience with us!

  11. The Wedderspoon website is offering a 20% off discount site wide right now! Hopefully you see this is time. DOn’t know how long the promo will last.

  12. Hi Nadia! I started using vitamin E oil in my face twice a day a few days ago and I noticed that my skin looks very clean and it feels really soft, I also noticed that I started to get little pimples in spots that I never did before. So I’m a little bit confused and wanted to know if you have any recommendations? Also, I saw your article about the best oils according to your skin type mine is blemish, can you mix all the oils you listed for blemish skin or do you have a preference. (e.g. Hemp oil and pumpkin see oil mix together) thanks

  13. Debra, I would suggest using the oils mentioned in that post rather than vitamin E oil. Most vitamin E oil is extracted from soybeans, and most soybeans are GMO so it follows that there’s a very good chance your vitamin E oil is extracted from GMO soybeans.

  14. I was thinking of making your face wash with dark organic honey and manuka essential oil instead of tea tree since they say it has 3x the properties of tea tree, and would add the benefits of manuka. What do you think? Would I use the manuka at the same rate as the tea tree or 1/3 since it’s at 3x?

  15. last summer severely burn on the face from my glass lens reflecting the sun on my face, nothing worked to heal my burned skin, the only thing that worked and did not hurt me like most fancy cream , was putting some manuka honey on my face . it blocked the air and prevented the pain and did repair my skin in 2 days only, for that reason i am completely sold to that miracle powerful God”s given super powerful food

    Isabelle Rajotte Sound healer Montreal, Canada

  16. Hi can we use the manuka honey on my granddaughter who is 8 years she has very bed Dermatitis we have tried every thing and nothing seems to work even the things that the doctor has given her,HOPE YOU CAN HELP !!!!!

  17. I’m really not sure. The highest I’ve tried is 16. But 20 is just a little bit more than 16 😉 If you try it, please report back!