Mānuka Honey & Acne: Do The Benefits Live Up To The Buzz?

By Activist
February 05, 2023

Shani Hillian, Holistic Esthetician uses ACTIVIST Manuka Honey Mask

Written by Shani Hillian ~ @shanihillian

Shani Hillian is a friend of the brand and someone we trust with skincare advice, so when we needed help answering some common questions related to Mānuka and skincare she was the first person we turned to. Shani is a Holistic Esthetician, Writer & Mother based in New York City. Below she brings her expertise to the topic of Mānuka and acne.

The notion of pantry skincare is nothing new — as people have been partaking in this practice for thousands of years. From utilizing coconut oil for both cooking and moisturizing your body to dowsing your hair with olive oil to strengthen strands, when hearing Mānuka honey is the acclaimed “newest” buzzing beauty ingredient for acne-prone, dry and inflamed skin — I wasn't the slightest bit surprised. As a holistic esthetician and practitioner, I have used Mānuka honey for many years within my practice, in my home and have raved to everyone of its powerhouse benefits. But before I get too deep into the sticky depth of Mānuka’s sweet benefits — let's begin at the beginning.

What Is Manuka Honey?

Mānuka honey is a type of honey that is made by bees that pollinate the Mānuka bush Native to New Zealand. This rare honey is produced for just a few weeks every year when the Mānuka is in flower, making it a limited resource. When bees pollinate from the Mānuka bush, they make honey that is mightier than ordinary honey bee honey due to the more elevated concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO) — which is a compound derived from the nectar of some plants and offers its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Mānuka has been seen to possess said properties in substantially high concentrations.

Benefits Of Mānuka Honey On Skin

A spoonful of honey has been a staple in my home since adolescence for remedying colds, flu, and even seasonal allergies. But in recent years, it has gained popularity for its skincare benefits — and science is backing up these claims. In a 2017 study, research was shown that honey has antioxidative, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, particularly high in Mānuka honey which serves as the best blemish blaster, skin soother, and bacteria killer. It contains natural hydrogen peroxide that kills off acne causing bacteria while mildly lightening acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It’s also a natural humectant due to the sugar component which is phenomenal for drawing in and retaining moisture in the skin — perfect during the colder months.

Top Benefits To Combat Blemishes

Honey has been used as a medicine throughout history — one of the most common and ongoing therapeutic uses has been wound dressing. This is almost certainly due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The same benefits ring true when treating acne as honey naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi by reducing their development on the skin surface — and the benefits don’t stop there. Mānuka honey is also:

• Antibacterial
• Gently Exfoliates
• Soothes Skin
• Is Rich in Vitamins & Mineral
• Provides Natural Hydration
• Retains Moisture
• Contains natural hydrogen peroxide
• Contains DHA omega 3 acid
• Low pH (acidity)

Further research indicates the anti-inflammatory properties decrease local inflammation within acne blemishes, leaving fewer bacteria to further infect pores and/or other areas of the skin that could potentially cause additional acne in the future.

As an esthetician for 15+ years and an active honey user, I’ve seen first hand how magical Mānuka can be on acne-prone skin. I’ve witnessed many client's reduction of blemishes within days and a complete skin clearing, ridding face of all blemishes within a matter of weeks with constant use. And, it doesn’t end at just topical use as the ingestible benefits to Mānuka honey plays a significant part in the skin’s overall health as well.

How Can Mānuka Honey Benefit Health Internally?

The key to healthy skin is a healthy gut biome and spoonful a day will surely keep the toxins away. Mānuka honey is a powerhouse ingredient that rids the body of unwanted toxins and has the strength to balance the digestive system, protect against bacterial infections, and is able to fight them swiftly if infection is active. In addition to being a phenomenal soother for sore throats, it can improve your oral health and and even treat gastric ulcers by reducing the inflammation on the stomach lining and increasing natural enzymes that prevent oxidative damage.

Final Thoughts

The possibilities are endless and the benefits run deep. Yes, the price is higher than other raw honey that you may find on the market — but for good reason. As you’ve read above, the healing properties are more potent and you’re receiving top tier benefits. Mānuka Honey is one of the most rigorously tested ingredients on the market to check its authenticity, so you know with every purchase you are receiving a premium grade product. If you ask me, it’s total body wellness in a jar that’s amazing for internal and external use. There’s nothing better than having a multi-purpose, multi-functional product at your disposal at all times.

Pro Tip: As an esthetician and holistic practitioner, I implore you to test the magic of Mānuka yourself. Take 1 tablespoon of Mānuka daily internally and indulge in a Mānuka mask a couple of times a week and document your journey for 7-14 days. You will look like an entirely different person — for the better.