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Are the benefits of honey the bee’s knees for skin?

23 December 2021|2 min read

It’s delicious on toast and it may make that morning cup of tea just that little bit sweeter. But, are there any benefits of honey for your skin? Or should we keep it as a condiment?

We asked Dermatologist, Dr Liz Dawes-Higgs to give us the lowdown on honey and skincare. 

What makes honey the bee’s knees for skin?

Dr Liz tells us “Honey has traditionally been known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties for the skin.”

One of the earliest uses of honey in skincare dates back to the ancient Sumerian civilisation around 3000 BCE.

More recently, some types of honey such as manuka and kanuka honey have been scientifically recognised for their medicinal properties.

The antibacterial activity of some honey has been shown to help reduce acne-causing bacteria on the skin, while their anti-inflammatory properties may help with certain skin conditions. Additionally, honey has humectant properties, which means it helps to retain moisture, making it an excellent choice for skin hydration.

Dr Liz says these properties of honey may promote wound healing as well. But it's not just any old honey that could have the sweetest results for your skin.

“The best type of honey for skin is Manuka honey because it’s been found to have higher antibacterial activity than other types of honey,’ advises Dr Liz. 


Want softer, smoother skin?

Beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder

So how can you incorporate more honey into your skincare?

Add milk into the mix?

Perhaps not. At the moment, the scientific jury is still out on whether there are benefits of drinking milk with honey for your skin. 

Softening skin

Want softer, smoother skin? Research suggests honey has emollient properties, which means it may assist in softening and soothing skin.  


Some types of honey such as manuka and kanuka honeys have been scientifically recognised for their medicinal properties.

Honey and lemon

Dr Liz says skincare products containing honey and lemon are becoming more popular because of the “high antibacterial activity of manuka honey and the vitamin C in lemons, which is an antioxidant,” she explains. 

However, bee aware of allergies (apologies for the pun). Bee pollen and royal jelly may cause serious allergic reactions in some people. Dr Liz also warns that lemon may cause skin irritation and a sensitivity reaction to light in some people.

So, it’s always best to check with your health professional if you have any concerns, especially if you’re taking care of sensitive skin.


Dr Elizabeth Dawes-Higgs is an award winning dermatologist with extensive experience in the world of medicine, business leadership and education. She is passionate about a range of topics including laser dermatology, the treatment of scarring and skin cancer management.

Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board December 2021.


This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have any concerns or questions about your health you should consult with a health professional.