Get Local, Health, Skin Care - November 14th, 2011
I’ve been on the prowl again for something to treat a persistent case of atopic dermatitis (eczema) on my legs, since for other health reasons (and because it’s just not good for long-term use) I won’t use corticosteroids. I’ve had this eczema on my legs for 18 years, no kidding, so I’ve pretty much tried everything to get rid of it. Recently, a friend asked if I’d tried honey.
Honey? Like, get all sticky? Umm, nope, haven’t tried it. Intrigued, I decided to see if there was any merit to the idea of putting honey on my skin to try to at least reduce the dermatitis. (It’s bad. Itching, scaling, oozing, and bad scarring are my daily companions.) I found a study that looked at using a mixture of beeswax, olive oil, and raw honey, applied three times a day, to treat atopic dermatitis. The results look promising!
The study looked at patients who were not currently using a treatment, as well as patients using a steroid cream to treat their dermatitis. (I fall into the first category.) According to the study, 80% of the participants who had used no prior treatment had a significant improvement using the honey mixture, with a profound improvement in scaling, itching, and oozing. Whoa!
Admittedly, the sample size is small. Of the 21 participants with eczema, 10 of them had used no prior treatment, which means that 8 people saw improvement.
The study author had this to say about honey, beeswax, and olive oil:
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help to decrease pain and the appearance of scars, and that lead to faster wound healing. Olive oil also has antibacterial properties and the ability to inhibit substances that lead to inflammation. Olive oil and honey both contain flavonoids that help protect cells and inhibit histamine (a substance involved in allergic reactions). Beeswax has anti-inflammatory properties and is often included in formulas to treat burns and other skin conditions.
Because there really aren’t any potential side effects from such a simple remedy, I’m giving it a go. The mixture is made by combining equal parts beeswax, raw honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Because I used to formulate cosmetics, I mistakenly formulated this by weight, and not volume. Doh! Yeah, doing it by weight means there is way too much beeswax in the formula. If you make this yourself, measure by volume. You’ll have to melt the beeswax first, so it’s liquid and measurable. Adding twice as much oil and honey as beeswax by weight has given me a balm that’s probably still heavy on the beeswax but is workable on the skin. If you’re going to try it, please buy local raw honey – read this article to find out why. I’m going to give it a try, and I’ll report back!