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Why Honey for Acne is a Bad Idea

Honey as medicine, including for the skin, dates back many centuries to ancient times; still, it may not be the skincare solution it's often advertised as.

Skincare benefits that are commonly associated with honey include the ability to fight and kill bacteria alongside anti-inflammatory properties, but there isn't evidence to suggest that it's good for treating acne. Honey simply isn't enough to get rid of or prevent acne.

Instead of using honey for acne, opt for products that target bacterial overgrowth, manage inflammation, and thoroughly cleanse or soothe the skin. Here at Exposed, we create products that combine the best of what nature and science have to offer to ensure you can take advantage of these sorts of benefits without doing your skin a disservice.

Is Honey Good for Acne?

Honey is often touted as "good" for acne because it's believed to balance bacteria levels on the skin, promote healing, and lower inflammation, but there is no evidence to suggest that honey alone can get rid of acne.

While certain properties of honey have anecdotally helped some people calm and soothe their skin, it most likely won't cure your acne, and it probably won't do anything to change the long-term health and vitality of your skin.

Honey for acne

Like many natural remedies out there, honey has been used for ages to try and prevent acne and remove blemishes that already exist.

This creates the misconception that things like honey face masks, honey spot treatments, etc. are sufficient treatment options for managing acne.

But the simple truth is that trying to use honey for acne won't get you far, even if it does potentially have a few things it brings to the table. This is because acne is complex; it's not caused by bacteria alone. Rather, an overgrowth of certain bacteria is only one of the causes of acne.

Instead of spending time, money, and effort on finding the best honey-based treatment solution for your acne, it's far wiser (and easier!) to turn to products, including those offered here at Exposed, that have been formulated to do far more than what honey alone can offer.

Let's take a deeper dive into some of the most commonly-referenced benefits of honey for skin and analyze to what extent they're true, what risks they may pose, and what alternatives you can use instead to accomplish the same goal.

Battling Bacteria

The bacteria primarily associated with acne, called P. acnes, always live on our skin and consume the oil we naturally produce as a food source.

Not all bacteria are bad for you, but when too much is present, the balance that usually exists on healthy skin is disrupted. As a result, products that can limit or halt the overproduction of bacteria tend to help promote clear skin.

Some research suggests that honey does have an inhibitory effect on approximately 60 species of bacteria and is bacteriostatic (the ability to stop bacteria from producing), which means it, in theory, can help promote a healthy balance.

But simply putting honey on your face isn't enough to get rid of your acne, even if it does manage to kill some of the extra bacteria on your skin.

Instead, you need products that don't just kill bacteria, but also cleanse your skin, soothe it, and protect it. Our Acne Treatment Serum is a great option to do so, as it combines benzoyl peroxide (to kill bacteria), green tea extract (to heal and protect), and tea tree oil (to disinfect and treat blemishes) all in one.

 

The Exposed Skincare acne treatment serum
Killing excess bacteria and regulating overgrowth, in addition to caring for your skin, is what our Acne Treatment Serum does best.

Fighting Inflammation

Also significant is honey's ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent, which many believe makes it a great choice for keeping your breakouts at bay. However, again, inflammation is merely one piece of the puzzle; something that calms down redness simply isn't enough to treat your acne.

Honey's ability to lower inflammation doesn't carry the same long-term benefits and changes to your skin that specifically-formulated acne treatments, including the Basic Exposed Skincare Kit, do.

Manuka Honey for Acne

You may discover that manuka honey is even more heavily pushed as an acne treatment option than "regular" honey is, and there's a good reason why.

A thick stream of honey being lifted from a dish.
Manuka honey is more commonly advertised as an acne treatment option, but when it comes to getting rid of acne, it has the same limitations as any other honey.

Manuka honey comes from bushes similar to those used for tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is one of the most popular essential oils for acne, and it is commonly integrated into acne treatment products, like our Acne Treatment Serum, because it reduces P. acnes bacteria.

Manuka honey has been shown to have powerful antibacterial properties. But, like all honey in general, manuka honey isn't going to get rid of your acne. Its potential anti-bacterial properties aside, it's not going to do enough to manage inflammation, cleanse your skin of other pollutants, shrink your pores, etc.

Does Honey Make Pimples Worse?

Honey should not make your acne worse unless you have an allergy to it, but that doesn't mean it will make things any better. Honey is a low-risk natural ingredient, but because it doesn't clear up the skin, it's easy to perceive it as doing more harm than good.

If you're interested in using honey for the skin to keep it clean and hydrated, consider instead using products that accomplish these goals and more.

The Exposed Skincare Basic Kit
Where honey fails, a comprehensive skincare routine, like the one outlined in our Basic Kit, rises to the occasion.

Several of our best products, like our Facial Cleanser and Clear Pore Serum, contain salicylic acid, an acne-fighting ingredient that gently exfoliates the skin and reduces oil buildup.

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