Raw honey. How sweet it is. Use it to sweeten a cup of tea, to glaze a ham, or to bake or enhance the nutty flavor of a pecan pie — it's pretty versatile. Honey is also a natural humectant, which means it’s a great moisturizer, and it also has antibacterial properties that can help you spot-treat annoying zits and pimples.
The catch — if you can call it that — is that not all honey is created equal, and if you’re going to use it in face masks or as a spot treatment for acne, you’ll probably have to shell out from $7 to $10 for some organic raw honey at your local gourmet or organic foods shop or farmers market.
The good news is that you won’t have to shell out a couple of $20 bills on face wash, moisturizer and spot treatment containing benzoyl peroxide, which might certainly obliterate your acne, but might also strip your skin of its moisture, leaving it dry. And that’s just the stuff you can get at your local chain pharmacy.
Despite raw honey’s higher ticket price than your average dollar-store honey bear bottle, a honey face mask is still a bargain in comparison, and you know exactly what you’re putting on your face, which is always a plus.
So you want to pamper yourself with a mask that gives your skin a healthy glow and makes it feel soft and smooth. In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice with 2 teaspoons of raw honey. Take a hot shower and cleanse your face as you typically do, while letting the steam from the shower open up your pores.
When you’re done showering and drying yourself off, apply the honey and lemon mixture on your clean skin, as you would any mask — which means steer clear of your eyes. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes and catch up on that book you should have finished ages ago. Rinse the mixture off with warm water. Splash a bit of cold water on your clean face to close up those pores. This is a good mask to use about once a week.
That honey-lemon mask is great, but say you need something a bit stronger because you are battling a few pimples and a couple of annoying zits that are overstaying their welcome. No problem. In a bowl, crush two or three uncoated aspirin. If you can’t find uncoated aspirin, just rub the coating off beneath running water until the tablets feel rough. Add a tablespoon of water to the crushed aspirin and mix it until it forms a thick paste. Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey and mix well.
Cleanse your face as you normally do and run the hot water so the steam opens up your pores. Apply the honey and aspirin mixture to your face, and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water and splash some cold water to close up your pores. Since it does include aspirin and aspirin is a drug, don’t use this mask more than once a week.
IMPORTANT: If you’re allergic to aspirin, you can’t use this mask. Your skin won’t absorb the drug the same way your system absorbs it if you take aspirin orally, but there is still some absorption — so if you are not supposed to be taking aspirin because of heart or other health-related issues, do not ever use this mask.
Masks are great and all, but if you don’t have the time or patience for pampering and you really just want to get rid of that one zit on your chin that’s been driving you crazy for three days, then try this spot treatment. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon onto the palm of your hand. Add a bit of honey — about 1/ 4 teaspoon — and mix into a paste. Dab it on that zit. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water, or leave it on overnight and rinse it in the morning.
Just like all honey isn’t created equal, neither is all acne, unfortunately. Honey works so well because it targets bacteria. So if your pimples and zits are brought on by bacteria, honey is going to help wipe them off your face. But if your acne is triggered or aggravated by hormones, medication or diet, then honey won’t make it disappear for good. It will still help soothe breakouts and improve your complexion.