How to Use Honey on Face: Benefits, DIY Remedies, And Precautions

Honey can help you say goodbye to acne, clogged pores, blemishes, and signs of aging. Learn how to use honey on your face and improve your skin’s appearance.

Dr. Sravya C Tipirneni
Reviewed by DR. SRAVYA C TIPIRNENI , Dermatologist & Cosmetologist | Written by Chhavi Puri , Skincare Coach & Makeup Expert
Updated on May 07, 2024 | 11:30 AM IST | 258.5K
How to Use Honey on Face: A Complete Guide
How to Use Honey on Face: A Complete Guide

In the quest to achieve clear skin, many people have now started resorting to using homemade remedies made with ingredients that can easily be found on the kitchen shelves. While commercial products deliver quick results, using natural ingredients, such as honey, could prove to be more beneficial for maintaining skin health in the long run. Applying honey on the face is not a new-age practice, people have been using this sweet natural syrup to get healthy skin for ages.  Dr. Sravya C Tipirneni, Chief Consultant Dermatologist & Cosmetologist at Manipal Hospital, mentions, “Honey has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular choice for soothing irritated skin and promoting wound healing. Additionally, its humectant qualities help attract and retain moisture.”

The benefits of honey for the skin comprise antimicrobial and moisturizing properties — when used consistently and correctly, it can help you elevate your skincare routine without sabotaging the skin’s natural microbiome. 

Be assured that once you start using it, you won’t be able to stop! Be it providing nourishment to the skin or healing wounds, honey does it all, effectively! But just like any other skincare product or ingredient, you should know how to use it in the right way, or else it could do more harm than good. 

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After all, despite the good things honey has to offer to your skin, there are certain precautions to take care of when using it directly on your skin. But fret not as here we have with us a complete guide on how to use honey for skin and get the luminous finish you’ve been wanting! 

What Is Honey?

honey

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Used in jams, granola bars, teas, and various other food items — honey is omnipresent! Its prowess goes beyond the culinary world — the various amazing properties of honey make it a superfood for skin care, hair care, and overall health. 

Simply put, honey is a sweet, viscous liquid that bees produce by using nectar from flowers. The color of the honey is hugely determined by the flowers from which the nectar is obtained. Honey is stored in the nest in a honeycomb, and beekeepers extract it, after which, it is strained properly so that no remaining wax or other particles are there. Sometimes, beekeepers heat the honey too, but that doesn’t really affect the texture and composition of this sweet liquid. After all this is done, honey is stored in an air-tight jar or bottle and brought to the people for use. 

Raw honey is packed with amino acids, minerals, enzymes, vitamins, sugar, and water. This natural sweetener has been touted as a beneficial food item and has been used for centuries by the ancient Chinese, Romans, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Greeks for wound healing and treating gut diseases (1). 

Benefits of Honey for Skin

Benefits of Honey for Skin

1. Helps Treat And Prevent Acne

Truth be told, nobody wants to deal with pesky acne and the scars it leaves. It takes away the natural beauty of the face, leaving you with dull skin. Acne manifests in various forms, including whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pimples, and cystic acne. Skin microbes play a crucial role in the onset of acne on our skin — our skin just like our gut contains microorganisms that help boost skin immunity and prevent harmful pathogens from penetrating our skin (2). When the natural skin microbiota is disrupted, it can cause bacteria and other harmful elements to enter the skin, thus leading to acne (3). 

Honey can effectively control and prevent acne, all thanks to its powerful antimicrobial properties that prevent pathogens from entering the skin and wreaking havoc on it (4). Additionally, honey is known to inhibit the growth of microbes responsible for wound infections and other skin concerns, making it a safe option to use for acne.

2. Moisturizes the Skin

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Putting honey on your face will not only help you fight acne but also keep your skin hydrated enough to keep the skin barrier strong. According to a study, the potent humectant and emollient properties of honey make it a wonderful skin moisturizer (5). Optimal hydration paves the way for skin that’s free of wrinkles and is pH-balanced. This makes honey an excellent skin comforter and revitalizer.

3. Helps Calm Dry Skin Conditions

Various dry skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and so on can cause itchiness, scaliness, and roughness that just don’t just go away; they make your skin more vulnerable to damage and trouble you when you want to get a good night's sleep. However, with honey at your disposal, combating these skin concerns becomes easy. Yes — honey with its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties helps fight inflammation and soothe the symptoms of eczema (6). 

4. Promotes Wound Healing

Honey has been used for dressing wounds for ages. It stimulates the release of cytokines, which in turn help initiate and boost the tissue repair process. Plus, due to the presence of bioactivities, it is largely used for wound dressing (7). Dr. Sravya further adds, “ Honey has been used traditionally for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. However, it's important to consult a doctor for any serious wounds.”

5. Provides Anti-aging Benefits

honey on face

Using honey on your skin can help you say goodbye to wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of skin aging. Honey in cosmetic formulations in the forms of cleansing milk, creams, lotions, and lip ointments has been proven to stop wrinkle formation and boost skin hydration (5). Sun-induced damage can cause a lot of harm to your skin, resulting in signs of aging even when you are in your 20s or 30s (8). 

Another study revealed that Greek honey exerts strong antioxidant and photoprotective properties that protect the skin from oxidative damage as well as molecular damage caused by UV rays (9). Honey, by keeping your skin protected from sun damage aids in delaying premature signs of aging and reducing the risk of fine lines, dark spots, age spots, and wrinkles. 

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6. Helps you Get Glowing Skin

With all the amazing benefits honey has to offer, using it is one of the best ways to achieve healthy skin. With its humectant, emollient, antioxidant, and antiaging properties, it does a lot for the skin without harming the skin. Be it hydrating your skin or fighting acne-causing bacteria, honey has all the answers your skin needs. Use it sparingly or as advised by your dermatologist and unveil a radiant glow that’s envy-worthy. 

Now that we have covered all the benefits of honey, here are some tips on how to use honey for the skin. 

How to Use Honey on the Face?

honey on face

There are various ways in which you can use honey on your skin and reap all its benefits, as mentioned below:

1. Honey Face Cleanser: One of the most effective ways to use honey for acne-prone skin is to use it in the form of a facial cleanser. It eliminates dirt, dust, and other impurities from the skin gently without being harsh on the skin. You can either get a store-bought honey cleanser that suits your skin type or simply mix a teaspoon of honey with your regular face wash.  

2. Honey Moisturizer/ Lotion: For those struggling with dry skin problems, it’s imperative they invest in a good body lotion, and what better can be than a lotion that contains honey? Being a humectant, it draws water into the skin, making it soft and supple (10). You can either use organic, unprocessed honey directly on your skin to massage it and get nourished skin or use moisturizers with honey as a key ingredient to add moisture and replenish dehydrated skin. 

3. Honey Face Oil: Facial oils that are naturally sourced are packed with natural antioxidants and other nutrients that help boost collagen production and promote an even skin tone (11). Using a facial oil containing honey or adding a few drops of honey to your normal face oil can help smoothen your skin tone and reduce the appearance of spots and wrinkles. 

4. Honey Face Masks: Raw honey masks — when mixed with other skin-friendly ingredients — can help you elevate your skin health. Honey's facial benefits range from combating dryness to strengthening skin’s elasticity. Below are some homemade honey face packs you can try in the comfort of your home without shelling out a lot of money!

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Best Honey Face Masks: 5 DIY Remedies to Try

1. Honey, Banana, And Rosewater

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 4 chopped pieces of banana
  • 2 teaspoons of rosewater

Directions

Mash banana pieces with a fork to make sure there are no lumps. Mix honey and rosewater in it. Start applying the face mask on your face and neck, massage it well, and leave it on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash the pack off with lukewarm water. 

Benefits

Bananas are anti-inflammatory in nature and help the skin stay protected from acne (12). Plus, they are a good source of vitamins, particularly, vitamins A and C, both of which have time and again proven their effectiveness in shielding skin from sun rays, soothing sunburns, improving symptoms of skin aging, and boosting collagen production (13), (14). Rose petals, too, have great anti-inflammatory effects on the skin and assist in calming inflammation caused by UV damage (15). Anecdotal evidence also suggests that rosewater works great as a toner and helps soothe the skin. 

2. Honey, Cinnamon, And Papaya 

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 4 chopped pieces of papaya

Directions

Take freshly cut pieces of papaya and mash them properly in a bowl. Add cinnamon powder and honey to it and mix well enough to make a paste of smooth consistency. Ensure there are no lumps — massage it in circular motions on your entire face and neck. If needed, you can apply it to your hands as well. Keep the mask on your skin for at least 20 minutes. Wash the pack thoroughly with cold water. 

Benefits

Being rich in antioxidants, cinnamon helps defend skin from free radical damage; plus it possesses anti-inflammatory properties to help your skin fight inflammation and various skin disorders (16). Papaya, on the other hand, helps the skin by treating inflammation, healing the skin, and treating tissue damage (17). Applying honey on the face along with papaya and cinnamon can help you keep inflammatory skin issues at bay.

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ALSO READ: Top 12 Nourishing Papaya Face Packs for Skin Revitalization

3. Honey, Cucumber, And Aloe Vera

honey on face

Ingredients: 

  • 6 to 8 slices of cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel

Directions

Cut six to eight slices of cucumber and grate them. Mix it with honey and aloe vera gel to make a mask-like consistency. Apply this as a face pack and keep it on your skin for 25 minutes before washing it off with water. 

Benefits

Cucumber has potential antioxidant properties that make sure you don’t have to worry about oxidative damage causing harm to your skin. Plus, its soothing properties cleanse the skin gently while also nourishing it. It is a compelling remedy to reduce swelling, calm sunburns, and soothe skin irritations (18). 

Talking about aloe vera, it for sure is one of the most talked about skincare ingredients these days, and why won’t it be — it’s a storehouse of nutrients that help keep the skin healthy. Aloe vera stimulates collagen production, boosts skin elasticity, and soothes symptoms associated with dry skin (19). 

4. Honey, Neem, And Gram Flour Face Pack

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of neem powder
  • 2 teaspoons of gram flour 
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Directions

Gather all the ingredients and pour honey into a bowl. Then add gram flour and neem powder in honey and whisk well to make sure no lumps are left. Scrub this gently on your skin and leave it for about 15 minutes. Wash this exfoliating honey face mask after 10 minutes with lukewarm water. Follow with a moisturizer. 

Benefits

Putting honey on your face is an excellent way to exfoliate the skin gently without stripping its natural oils, and when combined with the goodness of gram flour and neem, it makes for a wonderful exfoliation mask to get rid of dead skin cells. 

Gram flour is known as a natural exfoliator and anti-pimple agent — it controls sebum production and lightens skin tone, paving the way for a healthy complexion (20). Talking about neem — it exhibits antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects, thereby preventing a host of skin issues (21). Furthermore, neem could prove to be highly beneficial for people with acne — a study revealed that using neem face wash helped in the prevention and reduction of acne in adults without any side effects (22). 

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5. Honey And Tomato Face Pack

honey on face

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Directions

Mix honey with freshly squeezed tomato juice and apply this on your face using a cotton pad. Keep this face pack on your skin for 20 to 25 minutes, then wash it with cold water. 

Benefits

Tomatoes are a tasty fruit that not only provide a plethora of health benefits but are good for the skin too! They help build skin immunity to help it fight infections while also preventing transepidermal water loss to keep the skin hydrated all day long (23). In another study, it was revealed that tomato seed extract improves skin elasticity to maintain its health (24). 

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Are There Any Side Effects of Using Honey on the Face?

Although honey is safe to use on the skin for most people, health experts advise using it with caution if you are allergic to pollen, celery, or bee venom. Always do a patch test before incorporating it into your beauty routine. If you experience any discomfort such as allergy, hives, irritation, etc, wash honey off your skin immediately and consult a dermatologist if the symptoms persist. Plus, it is advised to not leave honey on the skin overnight and to wash it off after 20 to 25 minutes. 

Conclusion

Using honey on the face can be a panacea to a lot of your skin woes. It is a natural humectant with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, and it is enriched with essential vitamins that make it one of the most loved skincare remedies to battle dryness, acne breakouts, sunspots, and wrinkles. You can use it alone on your skin or prepare face masks with other ingredients to get the most benefits. While honey for the skin works wonderfully, it is important to do a patch test before using it directly on your face to test for an allergic reaction. 

If you are allergic to honey, seek advice from a dermatologist before adding it to your skincare regimen. Always remember that despite the goodness of natural ingredients, when used in the wrong way, they could harm our skin as well — hence, use it sparingly. Honey face masks when used once or twice a week deliver the best results. In the realm of skincare, less is more — don’t go overboard with these masks to avoid skin irritation. So the next time you want to have clear skin in a jiffy, use honey and say hello to healthy skin.

FAQ's

Can we apply honey directly to the face?
Yes, organic honey is safe to be applied on the face.

Can we apply honey on the face every day?
Honey offers deep hydration, so it can be applied every day if you have extremely dry skin. However, with other skin types, it’s best to restrict the use to 2 to 3 times a week.

Is it okay to leave honey on the face overnight?
Skincare experts claim that honey when left on the skin overnight can attract dirt and dust, making skin irritating or leading to breakouts. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to leave honey on your face overnight.

How should I avoid bacterial contamination when using honey on my skin?
Always buy premium-quality honey that’s organic and keep it away from direct sunlight. Use a clean spoon to take out honey and don’t put dirty fingers inside the jar to keep the honey safe from bacteria.

Should I be concerned about the sugar content in honey when adding it to my skincare routine?
Generally, the sugar content in honey is not really concerning. However, if you are allergic to pollen or sugar-laden products, it’s best to steer clear of honey.

Is it possible to mix honey with other ingredients to reduce stickiness?
When preparing face masks, you can mix honey with neem powder, gram flour, turmeric, or sandalwood powder to reduce its stickiness. But don’t mix honey with other ingredients in the jar as it can spoil the honey.

Is it okay to use honey on open wounds or cuts?
Honey is known for its wound-healing properties but before using it on open wounds and cuts, it’s important to seek the advice of a medical practitioner first.

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About The Author
Chhavi Puri
Chhavi Puri
Skincare Coach & Makeup Expert

Chhavi is a certified Skincare Coach and she's also certified in Makeup Artistry. Her fascination with skincare

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