Manuka Honey For Acne Treatment – The Benefits And How To Use

Honey has been used since human records began, both as a food and for its medicinal properties.

It’s been used around the world as a traditional remedy for the healing of wounds, burns, and the antibacterial effects that it has when applied to the skin.

And it has a lengthy history of use as a natural beauty ingredient, where it acts as a moisturizer and gentle exfoliant.

There are many different varieties of honey. Of these, manuka honey has come in for a lot of attention in recent times.

A great deal of scientific research has been done into its beneficial properties for health.

One of the things that it’s received a lot of praise for in the natural skin care community is its ability to help people get rid of acne when it’s applied to the skin.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the scientific evidence that supports the use of the best manuka honey for acne treatment, and how you can use it as a regular part of your anti-acne routine.

What Is Manuka Honey?

manuka honey for acne treatment

Honey is the sweet flavored natural product of bees that’s well known for its enjoyable taste when used as a food. 

Scientific analysis of honey has also shown that it contains a number of beneficial properties for your health including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity.

It consists largely of the sugars fructose and glucose, but also contains a large number of smaller constituents of which the phenolic compounds are particularly noteworthy for the benefits they convey.

The actual composition of honey and the level of biologically useful ingredients it contains varies depending on the type and source of the flowers that have been used to make it.

Manuka honey is a mono floral honey which is produced by bees that pollinate the manuka tree, Leptospermum scoparium, which can be found growing in eastern Australia and all over New Zealand.

Manuka honey has come in for a lot of scientific attention as it’s a dark honey that contains a lot of healthy antioxidants and enzymes.

Scientific experiments have so far indicated a potential use for manuka honey for the treatment of (1):

  • Wounds
  • Burns
  • Ulcers
  • Gingivitis

There’s also some evidence to suggest a potential use in the treatment of skin conditions such as acne.

Because of its benefits for the skin, you can find the best manuka honey face creams, eye cream, and soaps commercially available.


Is Manuka Honey Good For Acne

There aren’t any clinical trials that have looked at how effective manuka honey is when used to treat acne.

However, it’s widely considered to be one of the best types of honey for face care. And there’s an increasing amount of research into its beneficial properties which provide a potential explanation for the anecdotal reports of the many people who use it for this purpose.

The Benefits Of Manuka Honey For Acne

Manuka honey is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that could all play a part in helping to prevent and heal acne infections.

Let’s take a look at them one by one:


Manuka honey contains a high level of flavonoids, including pinocembrin, pinobanksin, and chrysin.

It also contains a number of phenolic acids, of which leptosin and methyl syringate are the major biologically active compounds (2). 

These powerful antioxidants can be absorbed by the skin and are capable of neutralizing the free radicals that are created after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

This is potentially useful for the treatment of acne.

It’s widely thought that one of the most important stages in the formation of an acne infection is the oxidative damage of sebum in the skin’s pores that is caused by the free radicals generated from sun exposure (3).

Topical antioxidants that can help with the neutralization of these free radicals can prevent this damage from occurring.

In doing so, they can prevent the creation of the conditions in which the acne bacteria, P acnes, can colonize the skin pores and multiply, leading to infection and the inflammatory response which causes the painful red lesions on your face to arise.

In two studies that compared a number of different honeys from different sources around the world, manuka honey showed the highest antioxidant ability of all the honeys tested (4,5).


Perhaps the most famous anti-acne property of manuka honey is its antibacterial activity.

Studies have shown that manuka honey is capable of killing a wide range of bacteria (6).

One of the bacterias that there’s evidence of it killing in the laboratory is P.acnes (7).

Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are as a result of a number of its constituents.

Similar to other types of honey, these are considered to be its hydrogen peroxide content, a bee derived protein called bee defensin-1, and the organic acids it contains which create a low pH which bacteria struggle to survive in.

Where it differs from other types of honey is that it also retains strong antibacterial activity even in the absence of hydrogen peroxide (8). 

This is because it contains a compound called methylgloxal (9).

The non-peroxide antibacterial activity level of manuka honey can be measured and is given a value that’s known as the unique manuka factor (UMF).

Manuka honey is often labelled with its UMF when it’s sold, which gives an indication to consumers of its strength.


Manuka honey has anti-inflammatory properties, that have mostly been studied in relation to wound healing (10).

This could be of use for the treatment of an inflammatory skin condition like acne.

The inflammatory response to the colonization of the acne bacteria in the skin’s pores is another key stage in the development of the condition.

The Best Type Of Manuka Honey For Acne

When choosing the best manuka honey for acne breakouts, it’s recommended that you should choose a manuka honey that has a UMF of a minimum of 15.

It’s also important to make sure that you use an organic, raw manuka honey. This is because processed honey that has been filtered and pasteurized is unlikely to contain the same level of beneficial antioxidants.

Medical grade manuka honey can also be used for acne treatment.


How To Use Manuka Honey For Acne

You can use manuka honey in a face mask combined with other natural remedies that are useful for fighting acne.

Here are a few recipes for you to consider:

Manuka Honey And Avocado face mask For Acne

Avocado is full of antioxidants that are beneficial for the skin, and it helps to soothe inflammation.

Directions For Use:

1. Get a jar of organic, raw manuka honey, and a fresh, ripe avocado.

2. Using a knife, slice the avocado in half and take out the pit.

3. Use a spoon to scrape the flesh of the avocado out of the skin and into a bowl.

4. Mash the avocado into a paste.

5. Take 2 tablespoons of raw manuka honey and add it to the bowl.

6. Mix the honey and avocado together.

7. Spread the mixture over your your skin using your fingers.

8. Leave the honey and avocado on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes.

9. Wash your skin clean using water.

10. Use every day or as often as you feel the need.


Manuka Honey And Cinnamon For Acne

Cinnamon has potent antibacterial properties that make it useful for treating acne.

Directions For Use:

1. Get a jar of cinnamon powder and a jar of manuka honey.

2. Put 3 tablespoons of manuka honey into a bowl.

3. Measure 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and add it to the honey.

4. Mix the manuka honey and cinnamon together well.

5. Using your fingers, spread the honey and cinnamon facial mask over your face.

6. Leave it on your skin for approximately 15-20 minutes.

7. Wash your face clean again with water.

8. Use daily for the best results.


Yogurt, Turmeric, And Manuka Honey For Acne

Turmeric has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Directions For Use:

1. Get a jar of powdered turmeric, a jar of raw manuka honey, and a carton of fresh, natural yogurt.

2. Take 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and place it in a small bowl.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of the turmeric powder to the bowl.

4. Add 2 teaspoons of the manuka honey to the bowl and mix all the ingredients together well.

5. Use your fingertips to spread the mixture over your acne and pimples.

6. Allow the mixture to sit on your skin for about 15 to 20 minutes and then wash off again.

7. Repeat each day.


Side Effects And Precautions

Manuka honey is safe for most people to use and can be used by sensitive, dry, and oily skin types. But, there are a few precautions to consider:

  • Before trying a face mask using manuka honey for the first time, try a small amount on the back of your wrist to check your skin's reaction.
  • The precautionary advice is for breastfeeding women to avoid using honey. It also shouldn't be used on children under 12 months of age (11).
  • If you have a pollen allergy then it's important to know that you could be allergic to honey.


Final Thoughts

Manuka honey has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it potentially useful for acne treatment.

No clinical trials have taken place to analyze its effectiveness, but there are many anecdotal reports from people who have used it to clear up their skin.

If you’re interested in using honey to get rid of acne, then manuka honey is considered to be one of the very best types of honey for topical use.

It can be used on its own, or combined with other natural anti-acne ingredients to make face masks that can be quickly and easily applied on a daily basis.

Have you tried using manuka honey for acne? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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