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Bees in New Zealand and Australia produce Manuka honey after pollinating native plants. Manuka honey may have moisturizing and wound healing properties, which may benefit people with dry, sensitive skin.
This article describes the benefits of Manuka honey for the skin, some products available to purchase online, and factors a person might consider before making a purchase.
People have been using honey medicinally throughout history, often to support wound healing, as honey has antimicrobial properties.
Bees in New Zealand and Australia produce Manuka honey after pollinating native plants belonging to the Leptospermum family.
One of the main things that distinguishes Manuka honey is its concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO), a reactive compound that plays an important role in honey’s antimicrobial effects.

Compared with conventional honey, Manuka honey has up to 100 times the concentration of MGO.
Manuka honey may help with several skin issues, such as eczema, dry and sensitive skin, and acne.
Learn more about the benefits of honey in skincare.
Eczema is a form of atopic dermatitis, which can cause redness, itchiness, and scaly skin.
A small-scale study of 14 participants with atopic dermatitis found that Manuka honey may help ease symptoms. The researchers found that the participants’ symptoms significantly improved after Manuka honey treatment, compared with the control group.
Manuka honey may have this effect by regulating the production of CCL26 proteins in cells, as these proteins can contribute to atopic dermatitis symptoms.
The study states, however, that the honey did not appear to effect the Staphylococci bacteria present in some participants’ skin.
The authors note that understanding the full effects of this type of honey in people with the skin condition require further large-scale studies.
Learn more about using Manuka honey for eczema.
While no large-scale studies have explored Manuka honey’s effects on dry, sensitive skin, honey is a natural humectant. This means that it holds onto moisture, which may help moisturize dry skin.
Similarly, no clinical studies have looked at Manuka honey’s effects on sensitive skin. Anyone with sensitive skin who wishes to use Manuka honey should test it on a small area first and monitor for a reaction before applying it more widely.
Wound healing is one of honey’s most recognized properties. Several in vitro studies have found that honey, including Manuka honey, has antimicrobial properties, which help the body fight infections.
As a result, many countries, including the United States, have approved the use of Manuka honey in medications that aid wound healing.
No large-scale studies have specifically investigated the effects of Manuka honey on acne, but there is some evidence that honey, in general, can help ease symptoms.
In vitro studies have shown that honey can inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, bacteria that cause pimples. However, determining how effective honey is for this purpose requires further research.
Learn more about the benefits of honey for acne.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and was correct at the time of publication.
This raw Manuka honey contains at least 100 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of methylglyoxal.
Manukora recommends applying the honey directly to the skin, possibly in a face mask, to ease dryness. The company also says that the product is:
Manukora Manuka Honey MGO 100+ is available in two sizes: 8.82 oz and 1.1 pounds. Pricing starts at $19.99, and subscribers receive 20% off the cost.
This raw Manuka honey contains at least 50 mg/kg of MGO.
Comvita recommends using it as an alternative to sugar in recipes, and applying the honey to the face may help moisturize the skin.
The company adds that this product is gluten-free and not genetically modified.
A 17.6-oz jar of Comvita Multifloral MGO 50+ Manuka Honey costs $28.99.
This cleansing balm has a UMF of over 16, indicating that the honey in it is more potent. UMFs of 15 or over contain, on average, 512 mg/kg of MGO.
The company recommends this product for people who need gentle cleansing. Apply it to dry skin with the fingers, add a small amount of water, then wash it off with a warm washcloth.
Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm costs $64 for 2.8 oz.
This lotion does not display its UMF. The company states that it may be suitable for people with eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, or other dry skin concerns, such as cracked knuckles.
The lotion is thick, and the company recommends applying it before bed to allow the skin to absorb it during sleep.
Ulta states that this product is free from:
Ulta Lano Golden Dry Skin Salve costs $17.95 for 0.88 oz.
This lotion does not display its UMF. The company recommends applying the mask to clean, dry skin before bed to reduce circles under the eyes and rehydrate the skin.
The product also contains lavender, which may promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep.
The company also recommends performing a patch test before leaving the product on during sleep.
Manuka Doctor Overnight Mask has a list price of $30 for 1.69 fl oz.
This cream does not display its UMF. The company says that a person can use it anywhere on their body and that it is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
This product also contains aloe vera, which may help soothe irritation.
Era Organics states that this product is free from:
Era Organics Complete+ Face Moisturizer Cream costs $19.97 for 2 oz. Subscribers save 10%.
This cream does not display its UMF. The company says that it is formulated for full-body use, as well as for dry, mature skin.
This product is non-greasy, should not leave residue, and the skin should absorb it quickly.
Advanced Clinical Manuka Honey Cream costs $15 for 16 oz.
To prevent a reaction, try applying a little Manuka honey, or a product containing it, to a small area of skin, and monitor the area for 24 hours. If any irritation occurs, do not use the honey or product more widely.
If a person is using Manuka honey from a jar, mixing a small amount with some water may help it spread more evenly on the skin. Anyone using a commercial product should follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
People with skin conditions, such as eczema, dry skin, or acne, may wish to consult a dermatologist about whether Manuka honey is the best treatment.
Manuka honey usually does not cause side effects.
People with diabetes should receive medical guidance before consuming it, to ensure that it will not significantly alter blood sugar levels.
Anyone with a bee sting allergy should also contact a healthcare professional for advice, as there is likely an increased risk.
Anyone with symptoms of eczema, acne, or dry skin that is bothersome should contact a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist. They may recommend prescription medication or certain over-the-counter products.
People with the following skin conditions might try these alternative over-the-counter products:
Below are answers to some common questions about Manuka honey.
If a person is not allergic to bee stings and has no irritation during a patch test, they can use Manuka honey as often as they wish.
Honey is a natural humectant, which means that it helps keep moisture in the skin. As a result, it may help soothe and rehydrate dry, rough skin.
Honey is likely suitable for sensitive skin, but always check for a reaction by performing a patch test.
There is some evidence that Manuka honey helps inhibit the growth of P. acnes, a type of bacteria involved in acne. Some people may find that using Manuka honey products helps reduce the appearance of acne.

But anyone concerned about acne should consider consulting a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, for advice and treatment.
Bees in New Zealand and Australia make Manuka honey by pollinating certain native plants. It may help rehydrate dry skin, soothe irritation, and reduce the appearance of acne.
Many Manuka honey products are available to purchase online. But always perform a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure that the product will not cause a reaction.
Last medically reviewed on March 9, 2022
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