Acne: Manuka honey
Derived from a plant native to New Zealand and Australia, manuka honey is a thick and slightly bitter honey with powerful antibacterial properties. “The bacterium that causes acne, Propionibacterium acnes, is very sensitive to the anti-bacterial activity of manuka honey,” says Peter Molan, a professor in biological sciences at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Molan, who has specialized in honey research for the past three decades, says research shows manuka “has a more potent anti-inflammatory activity than other types of honey.” He adds that its “unusual” antibacterial activity “can diffuse across skin and get down into the infection that is causing the acne spots.” Molan recommends soaking the pad of an adhesive dressing in the honey and placing this on a single pimple or a small area of pimples. For widespread acne, he recommends blending manuka honey with coconut oil (one third honey to two thirds coconut oil; for example, 1/3 tablespoon [5 mL] to 2/3 tablespoon [10 mL]), which makes for a healing skin cream. Manuka honey can be purchased at health food stores, and is typically more expensive than regular honey.