Manuka Honey For Skin

Manuka Honey for Skin: Tremendous Benefits for Healthier Skin

Why buy expensive skincare products or undergo skin treatments when you’ve got an alternative? There’s an amazing all-natural skincare ingredient that can be applied by itself, added to your own DIY skincare recipes, and tailored to your skin type.

As you may have guessed by the title, I’m talking about Manuka honey!

I know you’ve heard all kinds of things about honey in general, but how does Manuka honey differ from other kinds of honey in general?  Well, we’ll address the below questions and more as we learn about this amazing and natural remedy.

– Does Manuka honey actually work?

– Where does Manuka honey come from?

– How is it being used to improve skin?

What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is produced by bees that feed on the manuka shrub (Leptospermum scoparium) that grows throughout New Zealand. The shrub can actually grow into a moderately sized tree, anywhere from 7-16 ft tall (source).  

Its scented flowers are usually white or pink colored and, at first glance, appear to be identical to Kanuka flowers (Kunzea ericoides), which grow on a tree that reaches upwards of 30 feet tall.

Manuka Flower
Manuka Flower.

The honey produced from the Manuka plant is more effective and has more health benefits when it’s raw and unheated. Plus, it has better therapeutic properties than other kinds of honey overall. Interestingly, it’s said that earlier settlers considered the plant an invasive shrub, which proved a frustration because it would keep growing after they cleared their lands of it.

However, nowadays, the plant is used in revegetation efforts and on bare or otherwise eroded slopes.

To make this wonderful honey, it’s really just a matter of location for the beekeeper.  In order to be sure their honeybees pollinate Manuka plants as opposed to other flowering plants, the beekeepers place themselves and their bees in close proximity to areas where the Manuka plant grows.  

Their bees then gather nectar and pollen until enough honey has been produced in the honeycomb.

Manuka Honey Properties

Manuka honey has anti-inflammatory properties that are great in eliminating inflammation and redness of acne breakouts, cysts, and pimples. All around the world, and especially in New Zealand, the best manuka honey is often called “medical manuka honey.”

Medical Manuka honey is useful for the treatment of burns, wounds, and infections. One property of this honey is that it seems to enhance immune activity at wound sites where it’s applied due to the arabinogalactan proteins it contains.

Further studies show that the honey releases other anti-inflammatory proteins known as cytokines as well. (Source)

Manuka honey also exhibits antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus Aureus (that resists many antibiotics) and Helicobacter Pylori, which causes stomach ulcers. In 2008, Thomas Henle, a professor at the University of Dresden, discovered that it was Methylglyoxal that gave Manuka honey its antimicrobial activity.

Lab Equipment

Therefore, research is promising in regards to Manuka honey being used as a functional food treatment for various kinds of wounds and ulcers (source).  With the ever growing body of science in regards to this special honey, more and more exciting beneficial properties are discovered one after another.

How Has It Been Used in History?

The first medicinal reference to honey we see in history was found in an ancient writing on a Sumerian tablet dating back to 2100-2000 BC. It mentions the use of honey as a kind of drug and also as a beneficial ointment.

Even Aristotle (384-322 BC) described more pale variations of honey as being “good as a salve for sore eyes and wounds”. 

For centuries, Manuka honey has been used as a natural wound dressing because it aids in the fast healing of wounds and prevents bacterial infections.

Honey has been used medicinally for quite some time.

Also, due to technological advances, this honey can now be more efficiently produced in a humane manner without harm to the bees.  

Not only have we been able to enhance the production methods of Manuka honey, but we are also now able to study the chemical makeup of honey in general so that we can differentiate specific properties from one kind of honey to another.

Tremendous Benefits for Healthier Skin

Manuka honey is pretty amazing at improving skin health for a multitude of reasons. It generally makes skin youthful, clearer, and more hydrated because of its hygroscopic properties. Among its specific skin benefits, here are a few:


Collagen is an important part of skin cells. Healthy collagen makes for healthy and youthful-looking skin. Manuka honey is known to increase the cross-linking of collagen, thus improving its structural growth. It also contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of collagen.

Skin Cleansing

Have you tried many skincare products and treatments, none of which work to repair your blemished skin? If that’s the case, you probably also experienced your skin becoming worse due to certain products. How about trying Manuka honey instead?

Since it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, Manuka honey soothes inflamed skin and heals blemishes. This sticky substance may not be your best option when it comes to texture and feel, but it’s one of the best all-natural remedies for keeping the pH level of your skin optimal, as well as for sloughing away dead skin cells.

After using this honey consecutively as part of your healthy skin regimen, your skin will look clearer and brighter.

Hydrates Skin

Again, Manuka honey draws moisture into the skin because it’s naturally hygroscopic, meaning that it naturally absorbs and retains water from the air. Because of this hydration, it improves skin elasticity and cell regeneration. It also helps hasten the healing of any skin blemishes and irritations.

How to Nourish the Skin with Manuka Honey

There are many other ways you can use Manuka honey, depending on your purpose. However you use it, remember, it’s honey.  That means that it’s very sticky. So, try to keep it out of your hair. The following will guide you on how to use Manuka honey for a couple of specific uses:

Manuka Face Mask

Manuka honey as a face mask:

  1. Wash your face with your regular cleanser first in order to get the best results.
  2. After washing and drying your skin, wet or mist it a bit in order to make the application of the honey easier.
  3. Apply one tablespoon of the honey evenly over your entire face. Leave it there for 15 to 20 minutes. During this time, the antibacterial activity of Manuka honey takes place.
  4. Wash it off with warm water and pat dry.

Overnight Scar Treatment

If you’ve got a special occasion the next day and you have accidental or unwanted scars on your face, your best friend for the night is Manuka honey. It’s great for soothing redness and treating scars.

Plus, it keeps skin moisturized. Nothing will instantly heal your skin, and as always, real results happen over time. 

Be sure to make Manuka honey part of your regular beauty regimen because it quite effectively assists in skin healing.

To use it overnight:

  1. Apply a thin layer of honey to the moistened face and gently massage it into the skin for further skin absorption.
  2. Now, I’m sure you don’t want to mess up your pillow or bedding, so just cover them with a towel or old cloth.
  3. When you wake up the next morning, wash your face and remove any remnant of honey.
  4. Once your face is clean, pat dry.

Skin Cleanser

Manuka honey makes a great natural skin cleanser since it helps to eliminate bacteria. If you don’t have the time to apply a face mask or let the honey remain on your skin overnight, you can use it as a quick facial cleanser as well.

Even though you may not have as much time to let the honey remain on your skin, you can increase the amount of time by simply spreading the honey on your skin before you floss, brush your teeth, or do anything else that’s part of your morning routine.

That way, the honey will nourish your skin the entire time as you get ready to jump in the shower.

Use it as a skin cleanser:

  1. Apply honey to moistened skin before getting a shower
  2. Thoroughly massage honey into the skin.  If the honey is too thick, add more water.
  3. Jump into the shower and rinse.

Acne and Pimple Treatment

As you may know, other anti-acne facial cleansers have ingredients that can worsen your skin’s condition. On the other hand, Manuka honey is a natural and easy remedy for reducing inflammation and speeding up the healing of acne and pimples. It can even be combined with aloe and other natural ingredients known to help with acne.

To Treat Acne:

  1. Apply a thin amount of the honey to the affected area. For single pimples or blemishes, apply the honey to a small band-aid.
  2. Cover it with a band-aid to restrain the spread of the honey while keeping it in contact with the affected area.
  3. Leave it on overnight for faster healing. You can also leave it on for at least 30 minutes if you don’t want to do the overnight solution.
  4. Remove the band-aid with warm water and rinse off.
  5. Repeat this application until your acne blemishes and pimples fade away.

*Note: In order to keep your skin moisturized after cleansing with any of the above methods we mentioned, just add a bit of this honey into your favorite all-natural moisturizer.

How to Buy Manuka Honey

When purchasing a bottle of Manuka honey, it is important to read and understand its bioactivity or “strength,” as indicated by numbers ranging from 5 to 25 (NPA/UMF) or MGO (Methylglyoxal). Let us take a look at these two classifications below.


Usually, Manuka honey bottles have measurements of their bioactivity notated as “UMF” (Unique Manuka Factor). UMF is a grading system that measures and identifies whether the honey is unadulterated by testing for “non-peroxide activity” (NPA).

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


The MGO notation refers to the actual amount of methylglyoxal contained in the honey (parts per million/ppm). There is a relationship between non-peroxide activity and Methylglyoxal (MG). As noted earlier, methylglyoxal is the antibacterial compound that gives this honey its uniquely beneficial properties.

*To see how UMF relates to MGO quantitatively, click here.

Decoding Manuka Honey Product Labels

Honey Jar
Choose UMF 16+ / MGO 500+ Manuka Honey

As usual, these ratings can be quite confusing!  If you’re searching for the best Manuka honey to buy and are presented with either of the above rating methods, you can check out this handy UMF/MGO calculator here in order to see the equivalent value in the opposite rating method.

In any case, the research is solid. Manuka honey is indeed packed full of benefits! Therefore, be sure to include Manuka honey as part of your beauty regimen to experience healthier skin.

*Note: Choose UMF 16+ or MGO 500+ Grades of Manuka Honey For the Best Results

Manuka Honey FAQs

What makes Manuka honey beneficial for the skin?

Manuka honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are what make it particularly beneficial for skin health, helping to soothe irritation and potentially reduce the occurrence of acne.

How can Manuka honey improve skin health?

Its hydration properties and ability to promote wound healing can lead to clearer, more moisturized skin.

Can Manuka honey be used on sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin can often tolerate Manuka honey, but it’s always best to perform a patch test before applying it more broadly.

How do you use Manuka honey on your face?

Manuka honey can be used as a face mask by applying a thin layer, leaving it on for 15-20 minutes, and then rinsing with warm water.

Is Manuka honey good for acne-prone skin?

The antibacterial nature of Manuka honey makes it suitable for acne-prone skin, helping to cleanse pores and reduce bacteria.

What skin types can benefit from Manuka honey?

Oily, dry, and combination skin types can all enjoy the moisturizing and soothing effects of Manuka honey.

Can Manuka honey help with skin aging?

The antioxidants in Manuka honey may help protect against oxidative stress, which is beneficial in managing the visible signs of skin aging.

How often should you use Manuka honey on your skin?

While it can be used daily for general skincare, more intensive treatments like masks are recommended 2-3 times a week.

What should you look for when buying Manuka honey for skincare?

A high Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating is key as it indicates the level of beneficial active compounds.

Can Manuka honey be mixed with other ingredients for skincare?

Yes, it pairs well with other natural ingredients like oatmeal or aloe vera to enhance its skincare benefits.

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