EWG Score: 1What is EWG?

Propolis is a rather interesting substance made by bees in order to seal off or close unwanted open spaces within their homes (hives).  The interesting bit derives from its reputation of having anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammitory properties, all of which would be desirable within the skincare and healthcare fields, to name a couple examples.

Made with a complex mixture including beeswax and botanical components like saps and pollen, Propolis has been widely recognized for its Skin Healing and Anti-Inflammitory properties.  Indeed, this particular compound has been found in numerous studies to be safe and effective.

Ingredient Safety

Because knowing what goes into your skin is important.

Propolis is noted as its simple ‘Propolis’ form as well as the ‘Propolis Extract’ form.  Propolis itself has been the subject of intense interest given its impressive and desirable properties, with many studies establishing its safety when used in an appropriate manner.  

EWG: 1 (Low Hazard)
Propolis, and its extract form, is not as readily included in product offerings, with about 60 products noted in EWG’s database across the two types as of September 4, 2019.  However, in both forms, EWG has rated this particular ingredient to be at the lowest hazard risk possible of 1, noting that this product is safe based on currently known and available information and data.
You can view EWG’s Propolis entry here.
You can view EWG’s Propolis Extract entry here.

US FDA:  Propolis has not been regulated by the FDA, though studies have been conducted and published via the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website.  Propolis itself is not regulated as it is considered a supplement.
Read about the properties of Propolis at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website.

Effect Types

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

Healing: Attributing to the keratolytic properties found in Allantoin, this compound can help shed extra and/or dead layers of skin found in the epidermis (upper layers) resulting in a soothing effect.

Moisturizing: Commonly experienced ‘dry skin’ is usually caused by a loss of water in the epidermis.  With Allantoin removing unnecessary and dead layers of the skin, other ingredients such as emollients, moisturizers, and humectants are able to more effectively work as intended; they are not absorbed by a layer of skin that is essentially non-effective.  Allantoin is also considered to be an emollient, helping to trap moisture within the skin once applied.

Skin Protectant:  With the review and approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Allantoin is considered to be a Skin Protectant Active Ingredient between concentrations of 0.5% to 2%.  One way a skin protectant works is by creating a barrier that protects the underlying skin from irritants.

References and Further Reading:
Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

PROPOLIS || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | EWG

Recommended products with Propolis