HomeHealth articlesskin careWhat Are the Benefits of Bee Products in Skincare?

Natural bee products, such as honey, propolis, beeswax, and bee pollen, are considered the golden elixir in the skincare world.

Written by

Dr. Garima Tolia

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jain Vicky Ghewarchand

Published At February 8, 2023
Reviewed AtJuly 14, 2023


Natural products such as honey, propolis, bee pollen, beeswax, and bee venom have been used in medicine since ancient times. Nowadays, alternative medicine, which includes biological substances obtained from bee products, is gaining more attention. Each bee product contains flavonoids such as apigenin, chrysin, quercetin, galangin, kaempferol, pinocembrin, and naringenin, which have biological properties. Bee products are used in treatment and skin care as one of the main ingredients for cosmetic products. Numerous studies have also proved the positive effect of bee products on the skin and their curative value due to their healing properties.

What Are the Benefits of Bee Products in Skincare?


  • Honey is widely used in medicine due to its anti-microbial properties from the factors such as high osmotic pressure, hydrogen peroxide, high acidity, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and lysozyme.

  • Honey inhibits bacterial and fungal growth by decreasing their development on the skin's surface.

  • It is used as a dressing for wounds and burns and is often included in treatments for seborrhea, pityriasis, dandruff, tinea, diaper dermatitis, hemorrhoids, psoriasis, and anal fissure.

  • Honey works as an apitherapeutic agent in topical wound treatment by killing bacteria, lowing wound pH (potential of hydrogen), relieving pain and inflammation, promoting fibroblast migration and keratinocyte closure, and promoting collagen deposition. Therefore, it has a vital role in tissue engineering and regeneration.

  • It possesses high nutritional value and regenerative properties due to its high carbohydrate content, fruit acids, and trace elements.

  • Honey has hygroscopic properties. It absorbs metabolites and causes detoxification of the dermal tissue, resulting in improved skin elasticity, increased skin tension, and smoothing out wrinkles.

  • Fruit acids, one of the components of honey, provide an excellent exfoliating effect for dead skin cells.

  • Xerosis is alleviated by fatty acids and mineral salts in honey.

  • Honey relieves skin irritations, chapped lips, rough, cracked hands, and frost bites.

  • It is also used in lip balms and bath products due to its toning, relaxing, and conditioning effects linked to the high content of simple sugars, bio elements, and essential oils.

Bee Propolis:

  • Bee propolis, another bee product, is widely used in medicine due to its antiseptic properties. It is mainly used to treat staphylococcal, streptococcal, and fungal infections. In addition, purulent skin infections, intertrigo, hidradenitis, cheilosis, and thrush are treated with propolis.

  • Studies indicate that propol T, a propolis preparation, is instrumental in treating skin burns.

  • It also increases cicatrization and relieves pain. In addition, chrysin, a flavonoid in bee propolis, provides an analgesic effect.

  • Propolis encourages glycosaminoglycan accumulation, which is required for granulation, tissue growth, and wound closure.

  • Using propolis ointment to treat burns as a topical apitherapeutic product can contribute to reepithelization.

  • Propolis reduces wrinkles and has anti-aging properties.

Bee Pollen:

  • Bee pollen also has specific benefits for the skin. It is a potent anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulating agent and promotes the granulation process of burn healing.

  • Bee pollen, often in the concentration of 0.5 – 5 %, is the main ingredient in various cosmetic products.

  • The flavonoids help bee pollen to strengthen and seal capillaries. That is why bee pollen is used in creams for chronic inflammatory skin disorders.

  • It influences cell metabolism, encourages regeneration, and stimulates mitotic division.

  • Bee pollen is also used in shampoos and conditioners. In addition, it is used in various preparations for oily hair due to its sebo-balancing activity, which includes sebum secretion.

  • Bee pollen regularizes sebaceous glands' activity due to the presence of methionine, zinc, and phospholipids. In addition, sulfur-containing amino acids, mainly cysteine, present in them strengthen the hair shaft.

  • Bee pollen is also one of the ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos, as it restricts fungal growth and stops the itching of the scalp. However, it still has conditioning, moisturizing, and regenerating properties.


  • Beeswax has lesser biological activities compared to other bee products. In ancient times, beeswax added to ointments and creams was used to treat many dermatoses, including boils, atopic dermatitis, wounds, diaper dermatitis, and psoriasis caused by Candida albicans.

  • Beeswax is primarily used as an emulsifying agent. For example, in cosmetic products, beeswax is a stiffener that provides elasticity and plasticity and improves skin adhesiveness.

  • Beeswax is often used as a base for lipsticks, sticks, and creams. This is because it has lubricating and softening properties.

  • It also decreases transepidermal water loss from the skin due to sterols.

  • 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, squalene, and flavonoids in beeswax provide antiseptic properties to this product, protecting the skin against pathogens.

  • Beeswax acts as a protective shield against many external factors by creating a film on the skin's surface.

  • β-carotene in beeswax is a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A slows collagen degradation and boosts mitotic division in the epidermis, thus leading to sooner skin regeneration after damage.

Bee Venom:

  • Besides its use in medical treatment, it is also a cosmetic ingredient. It has a broad spectrum of biological activity.

  • It exhibits antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects; therefore, it can be used as an ingredient in various anti-acne products.

  • Bee venom possesses bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties against melittin (a toxic peptide that destroys the bacterial cell wall).

  • It has a considerable antibacterial effect against Staphylococcus epidermis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus pyrogenes.

  • Bee venom can be used to treat fungal and viral skin infections. The bee venom is known to have anti-fungal effects against Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Candida albicans, and Malassezia furfur.

  • Intradermal bee venom, in conjunction with oral propolis, effectively treats localized plaque psoriasis.

  • The anti-inflammatory effect of bee venom allows it to treat various skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.

  • Bee venom is also used in wound healing due to its biological properties.

Royal Jelly:

  • Royal jelly has a wide spectrum of biological properties, including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, moisturizing, and antiaging.

  • This bee product has strong anti-microbial activity within skin tissue, particularly in 20 % concentration.

  • Royal jelly protects blood vessels and eases hemorrhoids and varicose veins in the lower extremities. It also treats lichen, burns, ulcers, bed sores, and shingles.

  • Royal jelly treats wounds and is successfully used as an ingredient in skincare products.

  • It is an active ingredient in seborrheic and acne-prone skin preparations to normalize sebum secretion.

  • The anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities of this bee product are used to treat atopic dermatitis, hyperkeratosis, hypertrophy, epidermis, and dermis inflammation.

  • Royal jelly is highly moisturizing and hydrates the skin's stratum corneum layer by retaining water. As a result, the skin becomes more elastic and better moisturized.

What Are the Side Effects of Using Bee Products?

Using bee products for medicines and cosmetics can cause allergic reactions, such as:

  • Allergies to honey are rare, but sometimes it causes IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reaction.

  • Bee pollen can cause hypersensitivity reactions. In addition, bee protein in honey can lead to allergic reactions. Propolis allergy is rarely observed in healthy people. However, it occurs more often in individuals treated for allergies.

  • The topical application of royal jelly in the form of ointments can lead to the occurrence of skin rashes and eczemas.

  • Allergic and irritation reactions of bee venom are associated with its components like phospholipase A2, melittin, and hyaluronidase. Among these, phospholipase A2 is the primary allergen responsible for inducing immunoglobulin E.


Bee products form an essential component of medicines and cosmetics due to their many biological activities. Each bee product is worth using for different skin problems. Numerous studies back the effect of bee products on the skin. Fewer side effects are associated with using bee products, especially pollen. Ensure to follow instructions on product labels and talk to a healthcare professional before using.

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Dr. Garima Tolia


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