EWG SCORE: 1What is EWG?

Honey is an ingredient that nearly everyone is familiar with due to how commonplace it is in everyday lives, particularly as a deliciously sweet and flavorful food item.  It is a substance produced by bees in partnership with the plants and flowers they harvest from, which means that the types of honeys out there can be very much as diverse as the types of flowers out there to boot!  Honey usually isn’t formed from one specific type of plant or flower, but is often a combination of what is available within the bee’s reach.

Beyond food, honey possesses a number of qualities and properties that make it attractive as a skincare ingredient.  It was rumored that even Cleopatra of Ancient Egypt used to apply a mixture of honey and milk to her face to maintain her supposedly legendary beauty!

Ingredient Safety

Because knowing what goes into your skin is important.

Honey has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and is generally regarded as safe for consumption based on this simple fact.  As a skincare ingredient, honey has been known to exhibit antimicrobial, antioxidant, soothing, and moisturizing properties without dangerous drawbacks or detriment.

EWG: 1 (Low Hazard)
Under the general categorization of ‘honey’, EWG has noted over 280 different products as of August 8, 2019.  Expanding this to include derivatives and variations of honey, such as Honey Extract and Manuka Honey, for example, will yield even greater number of products, all with the same EWG 1 rating.
You can view EWG’s Honey entry here.

US FDA:  The FDA has reviewed, regulated, and standardized the definition of honey as a food item, but has not approved any ingredients for skincare and cosmetic usage.  This includes honey, of course, but studies have been done on its efficacy, which can be seen below.  Many of the studies we’ve come across in our own research and understanding pointed towards the healing and soothing properties witnessed through application of honey in various forms and types.
Read more about the Efficacy of Honey at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website

Effect Types

Categorization of what the effects of Honey may be when used on the skin

Skin Restoration: Honey is known to be resistant to mold due to its high sugar content in combination with antimicrobial properties inherent to itself.  In at least one study we read, Manuka Honey was shown to have therapeutic value when used to treat rosacea.  Beyond that, the antioxidant properties as well as its ability to coat the skin has been shown to help soothe and protect while promote healing at the same time.

Moisturizing:  Honey is naturally high in sugar content, which is considered to be a humectant, or a compound that helps preserve or retain moisture by drawing it in from the immediate surrounding.  In combination with the various enzymes, peptides, and other compounds found within honey, this ingredient can be a powerful component in your skincare product selection and routine.

References and Further Reading:
Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Honey as a Complementary Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
HONEY || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | EWG

Honey: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning – WebMD Dictionary

Recommended products with Honey