In my FREE Acne Solutions 5-Day Email Course I stress the importance of using the gentlest cleanser you can find. One of my top recommendations is to use smooth honey as a facial cleanser for treating breakouts and acne. I get asked all sorts of questions about this, so today I’ve put together a video demo on honey cleansing acne prone skin, and also answer a bunch of your questions as well.
Honey is one of the best cleansers for acne prone skin because it’s so gentle, has antibacterial properties, it’s full of enzymes (which ever so gently exfoliates your skin), and has antioxidants that can protect your skin and alleviate skin irritation and inflammation.
Pretty much if you want something to calm down your red inflamed skin and breakouts, honey is one of the best treatments for that.
And that’s why honey is my absolute favourite cleanser for acne. I especially recommend it for those of you who have painful chronic breakouts, or severe acne.
How I see it, when you’re trying to heal breakouts, whether it’s a few pimples on your face or full-on acne covering your face – you need to be as gentle with your skin as possible, so it can heal.
The more gentle you are, the faster your skin will heal.
And honey is the best cleanser for that.
When I was healing my own acne, I washed my face with honey twice a day. And, I continued washing my face with honey for over 5 years, way after my acne healed! It was only in my mid/late-30s that I switched to oil cleansing method because I needed a more moisturizing cleanser, but I still use honey all the time as face mask and other DIY skin treatments.
Below I’ve put together a video demo showing you how to wash acne prone skin with honey. I want to make sure everyone is doing it correctly so you get all the benefits (I’ve also written out instructions too). Plus, I want to also address the many question I get about washing your face with honey so we’re all on the same page and you can get started immediately.
Honey as a facial cleanser is great for:
- Severe acne
- Chronic breakouts
- Hormonal breakouts and pimples
- Cystic acne
- Irritated or blotchy skin
- Sensitive skin
- Oily skin
- Combination skin
- Normal skin
- Rough skin
- Young skin
In general anyone under 30-35 years old would benefit from washing their face with honey (even if you don’t have acne or breakouts – it will keep your skin healthy and can even delay the signs of aging because it won’t strip or irritate your skin).
If you’re over 35 years old and have acne, can you still use honey?
Yes! But it’s more of a case by case decision.
The reason why I say most women under 30-35 years of age benefit more from using honey as a cleanser than those over 35, is because usually starting in your mid-30 to early 40s a lot of changes start happening in your skin. Around that time you might notice your skin starting to get drier, less supple, and needs more nourishment. In this case, using an oil cleanser might be more beneficial because of the extra hydration/moisture it offers.
But, if you have severe acne or really painful breakouts and you’re over 35, it might be more beneficial to use the honey as a cleanser until your skin starts healing and balancing out (and later on use the oil).
In general, honey is the gentlest cleanser you can find, and when you have breakouts or severe acne, you must be super gentle with your skin.
Who shouldn’t use honey?
- If you have an allergy to bee products, don’t use honey or any product containing honey on your skin
- If you wear full coverage makeup like foundation, tinted moisturizer, BB/CC creams, or sunblocks/sunscreens that are difficult to wash off – don’t use honey to wash your face when you’re wearing these products (because honey won’t be able to remove them completely). In this case, use honey to wash your face in the morning, and at night use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and remove all makeup and products completely (I recommend the oil cleansing method to thoroughly wash your face of makeup and sunscreen).
- If your skin is really dry, it might be better to use an oil or cream cleanser rather than honey. I recommend trying the honey for a week and seeing how your skin responds (you can try Manuka Honey which has more naturally occurring oils than any other honey, which can be more nourishing for dry skin).
- If for some reason honey irritates your skin, stop using it (for some people, honey can be too astringent). You’ll know in the first few day or week of using it if it’s causing sensitivity or issues.
Instructions How To Wash Acne Prone Skin With Honey
- Gently dampen your skin and neck with warm water over the sink.
- Take 1 tsp of organic raw honey (must be smooth, no texture or granules), and gently apply it over the surface of your face and neck in a circular motion.
- Gently rinse the honey off your face and neck with warm water over the sink.
- Remove excess water with your fingers and allow your skin to air dry (don’t ever dry your face with a dirty bathroom towel. For optimal results, best to let your skin air dry, or if you must dry your face, use a fresh washcloth/towel).
Questions about washing your face with honey:
Why do I have to use a smooth honey, why not one with a texture/granules?
When you have breakouts and pimples, the last thing your skin needs is anything that has a rough or abrasive texture, it’s just too irritating. Best to use a smooth soft honey to wash you face. When the breakouts have healed, occasionally you can use a coarse or texture honey to exfoliate your skin.
When shopping for a honey, what should I look out for?
I recommend buying an organic, raw, smooth honey.
It’s always preferable that it’s raw because it hasn’t been processed under high heat, and therefore will have its active enzymes intact (if it’s a pasteurized honey, a lot of the enzymes get destroyed or damaged under the high heat).
But beware, depending on the type of honey, many raw honeys are coarse or abrasive texture. To know if the honey is smooth you can usually tell by the transparency. If a honey looks solid and creamy or has granules floating in it, it’ll probably be coarse (not what you want to wash your face with regularly). But if it’s transparent or semi-transparent, and more of a liquid, it’s far more likely to be smooth.
I recommend always buying your honey from a health food store, farmers market, or directly from a bee keeper. Many honeys sold at regular grocery store aren’t necessarily pure, sometimes they can even be mixed with high fructose corn syrup and other process sugars and syrups. To ensure you’re really getting pure quality honey, buy it from a reputable source.
I’ve heard a lot about Manuka Honey, should I use that instead of a local honey?
Manuka honey is quite different that most other honeys. It has an oilier texture (which can be more hydrating for your skin), and has a higher concentration of antibacterial compounds (MGOs).
All honeys are antibacterial, and all honeys have active skin beautifying enzymes and antioxidants – whether you use a Manuka honey imported from New Zealand or use a honey harvested in your area – in my opinion as long as it’s a pure, raw, organic, smooth honey – it’s all good.
I will say that Manuka honey is usually smooth, so if you are having a hard time finding a raw organic smooth honey, than Manuka honey would be the most reliable option. If your skin tends to be dry or maturing, this could be a better option than regular honey as well.
Can I wash my face with honey using a washcloth (like the oil cleansing method of applying it to my skin and removing it with a damp washcloth)?
If you have painful breakouts and irritated skin, I recommend just washing your face over the sink with honey and water, and not using a washcloth. The reason why is your skin can be quite sensitive, and using a washcloth can make it more irritated.
Once your skin isn’t so irritated or broken out, you can then use a very gentle washcloth if you wish, but it’s not necessary with honey (the reason you use a washcloth with oil is because the oil won’t rinse off with just water, you need the damp washcloth to lift/remove the oil from your skin).
I find washing my face with honey so messy, any recommendations what to do?
Nowadays there’s some companies that actually sell honey in a tube (like a toothpaste tube), specifically for topical use. I find this makes using honey as a facial cleanser much easier. Even here in Bali I was able to find a honey from Australia in a tube (see photo above). It’s much more expensive but easier to travel with and store in the bathroom (especially if you don’t like to have a jar of honey and spoon sitting on your bathroom counter).
Can I wash my face with honey in the shower?
I actually recommend never washing your face with anything in the shower!
The reason why is shower water tend to be very hot, and most people immerse their face under the hot shower water a lot longer than they do when they wash their face over the sink. All of this will irritate and dry out your skin more. I recommend, especially for sensitive, dry, or acne-prone skin, not to wash your face in the shower ever (and not after your shower either). For best results, wash you face before your shower, and do your best not immerse you face under the running shower water either (showers are great for washing your body and hair, but not your face!).
Will the honey ever go bad?
As long as you take care of it and keep it clean, honey won’t ever go bad.
Taking care of the honey is easy, just make sure you never put your fingers or anything dirty directly in the jar of honey. Always use a clean spoon to scoop out the honey, always seal the jar after use, and never store it in direct sunlight.
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