Bee Venom and Honey to Get Rid of Wrinkles
A few years ago, topically-applied snake venom was supposed to paralyze facial muscles and smooth out facial lines. Evidently it turned out to be snake oil and hype, because the latest beauty rage involves another protective agent straight out of the animal kingdom. In 20** a cream facial mask containing 1% honeybee venom became very popular in the UK; the implication is that it works like Botox to relax facial muscles and tighten skin. As yet, no topically-applied product can really work “just like Botox,” but some of the ingredients in Heaven by Deborah Mitchell Bee Venom Mask are beneficial for some skin types.
Bee Venom as a Natural Wrinkle Cure
Bee venom contains quite a few chemicals that have been demonstrated to improve certain medical conditions involving inflammation and the auto-immune system. It is injected into patients in a series of treatments known as apitherapy, and has had good effect on cases of multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Now the application of bee venom to the face is touted as an organic wrinkle cure. The skin supposedly believes it has been stung by bees, and sends an increased flow of blood and anti-inflammatory agents to the face to soothe the irritation. This is an interesting theory, but hardly any chemicals work the same when applied topically as they do when they are injected directly into the body. That doesn’t mean the £** ($**) Bee Venom Mask is a complete waste of cash, though; a couple of its other ingredients will effectively soothe inflammation and moisturize dry skin.
Manuka Honey for Skin Care
Manuka honey comes from New Zealand and is produced by the same bush that yields the powerful acne-fighting, anti-bacterial tea tree oil. “Manuka honey has been shown to kill bacteria and speed healing of wounds, including ulcers and burns.” Honey has long been used as a healing agent for bedsores as well. It has been available in products like Dr. Nordyke’s Wound Honey for quite some time, and would most likely be soothing in a skin care mask.
Because of its antibacterial properties, it might not cause problems for those who suffer from dry skin with acne (applying foodstuffs to skin with acne is usually not recommended).
Note that recent studies have found that Manuka honey may impede healing in diabetic patients due to its high concentration of a chemical called methylglyoxal (also known as pyruvaldehyde or acetylformaldehyde); thus it should probably not be used on diabetic ulcers, even though it is often marketed for just that purpose. Diabetics should not use Manuka honey without consulting their physician first.
Lavender and Rose for Wrinkle Reversal
Lavender is a highly fragrant essential oil; those sensitive to perfumed cosmetics should not use it. For others, it is one of only two essential oils that is gentle enough to be used undiluted on the skin (the other is tea tree). It is a potent anti-bacterial; and has often been used by herbalists to assist in wound healing (during World Wars I and II, it was used to disinfect battlefield wounds). It does stimulate circulation when applied to the skin, but is most often recommended for blemished skin rather than dryness or wrinkles. Again, this might be helpful for dry skin with acne.
Rose has long been used to soften dry skin, especially in old-fashioned preparations such as rose water and glycerin. Strong anecdotal evidence supports the idea that it soothes mature skin and improves its appearance by reducing inflammation; the beneficial properties of rose hip oil are well-known. (Anyone with plant allergies should of course avoid it.)
Shea Butter for Wrinkles and Dry Skin
The bee venom mask also contains a generous quantity of shea butter, a super-rich emollient that locks moisture into the skin. While it cannot affect true wrinkle reversal, it will certainly make the face look smoother and plumper. Despite the claims for bee venom, it is likely that the emollient shea butter and the Manuka honey are the ingredients that are yielding the purported “organic face lift” results.
Some people who have both acne and dry skin have noticed increased breakouts from shea butter, however; unfortunately, there is no way to be certain whether or not this will occur in a particular individual without trying the ingredient out on the skin.
It is recommended that the mask be used daily for 20 minutes; for non-sensitive dry skin and dry skin with acne, it can make an effective addition to a skin care routine. Since the mask is packaged in a jar, make sure to use a freshly-cleaned plastic spatula to remove the product from the container.
Note that both Manuka honey and shea butter may be purchased at health food stores for much less than the price of the venom mask.
For those concerned with animal rights, the bee venom in the Deborah Mitchell mask is collected in a manner that does not kill the insect or remove its stinger.