Honey has long been a tasty, low-calorie sweetener for foods and beverages ranging from toast to tea. With three dozen skin-friendly vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it has been used in bath and beauty products as far back as ancient Egypt's Pharaoh Cleopatra. Applied directly to the face, honey promotes a clear and healthy complexion, making it skin-care's liquid gold.
Provides Essential Moisture
One of the best ways to provide deep moisture to the complexion is with a mask, which is a treatment that is applied to the entire face, left on for a specific time and then wiped or rinsed off. Honey is a natural humectant, meaning that it helps attract and bind moisture to the skin. Keeping skin adequately hydrated promotes a healthy, radiant complexion, and when you're suffering from dry, flaking skin, a honey mask can come to the rescue. Massage about a teaspoon of honey onto the face, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water or a cotton ball dipped in grapefruit juice, which acts as a mild astringent.
Fights Bacteria, Fungi
Acne, a frustrating skin condition, often is caused by bacteria and fungi that get trapped beneath the skin's surface, clogging pores and causing the formation of pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. Enter honey and its natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties -- these make a honey mask good for preventing and treating acne. And, unlike some natural and synthetic skin-care ingredients that can be harsh and irritating, honey is soothing and can help reduce redness caused by inflammation.
Delays Signs Of Aging
The antioxidants in honey help it to delay visible signs of aging because of its hydrating and firming effects. Environmental pollutants cause bad skin, and honey acts to widen pores, allowing them to be cleansed and unclogged more easily. Skin loses collagen through sun exposure and natural aging, causing it to sag. Honey is a good firming mask by itself, and it has added benefits when teamed with potassium-rich banana. Combine a teaspoon of honey with half a mashed banana, smooth the mask over your face and allow it to dry completely. You may actually feel your skin tightening. Use a washcloth and warm water to remove the mask. For a quicker honey treatment, blend a tablespoon of honey with a small, peeled, cored and chopped apple, apply it to the complexion, and leave it on for about 15 minutes before washing off. Have less time but want a firming lift? Mix one egg white with a tablespoon of honey, apply and leave on for 10 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
Tips and Cautions
Use organic, higher grades of honey as close to the natural state as possible, as additives can alter honey's naturally beneficial properties. Honey is easiest to use for masks when it has been stored at room temperature, rather than when it has been refrigerated or heated. Although honey is also beneficial for moisturizing dry or chapped lips, you generally want to keep a mask or any other skin-care treatment away from the mouth and eyes.