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Honey

Favoured by ancient Egypt's royalty and a staple ingredient in our grandma's cupboard, honey has been part of the Beauty Hall of Fame since time immemorial... Whether derived from acacia or chestnut trees, lavender or thyme, what makes this humble ingredient so good for our skin during winter?

We Brits love the golden stuff, slathering it on hot, freshly buttered toast, swirling it in our tea and taking a teaspoon when we have a cold. The benefits of honey are myriad: it helps to regulate blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory, and is a good source of antioxidants. It also tastes great on hot cross buns.

Its newest incarnation is honey in beauty products, with the benefits of honey on skin coming to the fore for lots of reasons. It is antimicrobial and antibacterial, so works wonders on spots and irritation.

It’s a humectant and will draw in moisture from the atmosphere, so including it in formulas is a clever way to up the hydration element of beauty products. Dermatologists also credit it with the ability to speed the healing of scars and minimise the intensity of dark patches left behind.

Applied neat to the skin, honey makes for a good facemask (just try not to lick it!). Experts recommend leaving it on for around half an hour, which makes it the ideal mask to apply as you settle down in front of Catastrophe or Netflix's new Girlboss. If you’re taking this route, head to your nearest farmer’s market towards the tail end of summer – if it's local, there are additional benefits as it can act as an antihistamine if you suffer from allergies.

It really comes into its own, however, when honey in beauty products is mixed with other skincare ingredients. Combined with hyaluronic acid, it is a great moisturiser; added to salicylic acid, it can help clear spots; and spliced with elastin, it could help to reduce the depth of wrinkles. The benefits of honey for skin go on and on – try it and see!

TO PAMPER MY SKIN WITH MOISTURISING GOODNESS
Every winter our skin gets put through the mill: cold, wind, temperature changes, harsh tap water and layers of clothes that rub against our bodies. And there's nothing better than honey to wrap it up in a comforting, snuggly blanket and help it get through the winter blues.

Honey is basically flower power in a pot. Being naturally rich in floral water, honey has numerous benefits and pumps our skin with mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins. This amber nectar is also bursting with fructose and glucose (around 80%), sugars that help our cells to harness water in the upper layers of our skin. Result: a well-moisturised, glowing complexion Known for its nourishing properties, honey also helps heal skin by boosting cell production and regeneration in the epidermis. Deeply nourishing and moisturising, it leaves us with radiant, baby soft skin, even if winter has left it in a leathery mess. 

TO COMBAT THE PASSAGE OF TIME
Honey contains high levels of flavonoids, making it a natural antioxidant that combats free radicals responsible for premature skin ageing. It also boosts the production of collagen and elastin, the connective tissues that keep our skin supple and toned. Leaving us with plump features and dewy skin!  

TO GENTLY PURIFY MY SKIN
Hormonal changes, a poor diet, sun, pollution and smoking cause our skin to produce sebum that can clog up our pores. And clogged pores means inflammation and spotty outbreaks. Thanks to its antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory hydrogen peroxide content, honey is perfect for cleansing combination and oily skin. It banishes blemishes and leaves our skin squeaky clean. 

A SUGARY TREAT
Thanks to its rich, floral composition, honey is one of nature's best skincare ingredients. It's widely used in cosmetics. It works wonders when added to face masks. It can be mixed with other ingredients such as eggs, yoghurt, aloe vera and lemon, depending on our skin's needs. But most of all, its a perfect dry skin winter ally, thanks to its nourishing, purifying and moisturising action. It's also a superbly gentle face scrub ingredient that can be mixed with exfoliating powdered almonds or sugar to remove dead cells that cling to the surface of our skin. Finally, honey protects our pout when used in soothing lip balms.

Article supplied & written by Marie Claire, part of Hearst Communications, Inc.

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