Is Manuka Honey Good for Eczema?

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed patches of skin, eczema can be uncomfortable, unsightly, and even painful. While there are numerous treatments available to manage eczema symptoms, many people are turning to natural remedies like Manuka honey for relief.

Manuka honey is a type of honey that is native to New Zealand and is known for its potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

This article will explore whether Manuka honey is good for eczema, how it works, and what you need to know before using it on your skin. So, let’s dive in and discover the potential benefits of Manuka honey for eczema-prone skin.

image of an eczema healing bee

Understanding Manuka Honey’s Potential Benefits for Eczema

Manuka honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments, including skin conditions. When it comes to eczema, Manuka honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe and nourish the skin.

Firstly, Manuka honey has a high concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO), which gives it antibacterial properties. This means that it can help to prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin, which is particularly beneficial for those with eczema, as they are more susceptible to infections due to the breakdown of the skin barrier.

Additionally, Manuka honey’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce redness, swelling, and itching associated with eczema. It contains enzymes that produce hydrogen peroxide, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. This makes it a useful natural alternative to steroid creams, which are often prescribed for eczema but can have side effects with prolonged use.

Furthermore, Manuka honey’s moisturizing properties can help hydrate dry and flaky skin, a common symptom of eczema. It contains natural sugars and amino acids that help to retain moisture, making it an excellent natural emollient for eczema-prone skin.

Overall, Manuka honey’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties make it a promising natural remedy for eczema. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using Manuka honey on your skin and to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

The Science Behind Manuka Honey’s Antibacterial Properties for Eczema

Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are well-known and have been extensively studied by scientists. The honey’s unique composition makes it effective against a wide range of bacteria, including those resistant to conventional antibiotics.

One of the key components of Manuka honey’s antibacterial activity is its high concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is a compound that is found in high levels in Manuka honey, and it is believed to be responsible for its antibacterial activity. MGO works by reacting with amino acids in bacterial proteins, causing them to become inactive and unable to function properly. This ultimately leads to the death of the bacteria.

In addition to MGO, Manuka honey also contains hydrogen peroxide, which has been shown to have antibacterial properties. When honey comes into contact with bodily fluids, an enzyme called glucose oxidase converts the sugar in the honey into hydrogen peroxide. This helps prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin, which can benefit people with eczema.

Another component of Manuka honey that has been shown to have antibacterial activity is a protein called bee defensin-1. Bee defensin-1 is a natural antibiotic that is produced by bees and is found in high levels in Manuka honey. It works by disrupting bacterial cell membranes, which can ultimately lead to the death of the bacteria.

Overall, the unique composition of Manuka honey, including its high levels of MGO, hydrogen peroxide, and bee defensin-1, gives it powerful antibacterial properties that make it effective against a wide range of bacteria. These properties may help to prevent bacterial infections in people with eczema, which can be especially important as eczema can cause breaks in the skin that increase the risk of infection.

Tips for Using Manuka Honey Safely and Effectively on Eczema

When used properly, manuka honey can be a safe and effective natural remedy for eczema. Here are some tips for using Manuka honey safely and effectively on eczema-prone skin:

  1. Choose the right type of Manuka honey: Look for Manuka honey with a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating of at least 10+. UMF is a measure of the honey’s antibacterial activity, and a higher UMF rating indicates a stronger antibacterial effect.
  2. Do a patch test: Before using Manuka honey on a larger area of skin, do a patch test to check for any allergic reactions or irritation. Apply a small amount of honey to a small area of skin and leave it on for 24 hours. You can apply the honey to a larger area if there is no reaction.
  3. Use raw, unprocessed honey: Raw, unprocessed Manuka honey contains more active enzymes and beneficial compounds than processed honey. Look for honey that is unfiltered and unpasteurized, as these processes can remove some of the beneficial properties of the honey.
  4. Apply a thin layer: Apply a thin layer of Manuka honey to the affected area of skin, and leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. You can do this once or twice a day, depending on the severity of your eczema.
  5. Don’t apply heat: Avoid applying heat to the honey, as this can destroy some of its beneficial properties. Instead, warm the honey by rubbing it between your fingers before applying it to your skin.
  6. Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have severe eczema or any concerns about using Manuka honey on your skin, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before trying new remedies.

Real People’s Success Stories Using Manuka Honey for Eczema Relief

Many people have reported success using Manuka honey to relieve eczema symptoms. Here are some real people’s success stories:

  1. Sarah, 32: “I’ve had eczema my whole life, and nothing seemed to work for me. But after trying Manuka honey, my skin has never been better. The itching has stopped, and the redness has gone down. I use it twice a day, and I’m amazed at how well it works.”
  2. James, 26: “I was hesitant to try Manuka honey at first, but I’m glad I did. My eczema was so severe that it affected my daily life, but I noticed a significant improvement after using Manuka honey for a few weeks. My skin was less red, less itchy, and less inflamed. It’s been a game-changer for me.”
  3. Maria, 40: “I’ve been using steroid creams for years to manage my eczema, but they were starting to cause some side effects. So, I decided to try Manuka honey, and I’m so glad I did. My skin is smoother and less irritated, and I haven’t had to use any steroid creams since I started using the honey.”
  4. Tom, 29: “I’ve been using Manuka honey for a few months now, and it’s made a huge difference in my eczema. The honey has helped to soothe my skin and reduce the redness and itching. Plus, it’s a natural remedy, which I love.”

Choosing the Right Manuka Honey Products for Eczema Care

When choosing Manuka honey products for eczema care, it’s important to look for high-quality products that are safe and effective. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right Manuka honey products for eczema care:

  1. UMF rating: Look for Manuka honey products with a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating of at least 10+. This rating indicates the honey’s antibacterial activity, and a higher UMF rating indicates a stronger antibacterial effect.
  2. Quality: Choose raw, unprocessed Manuka honey unfiltered and unpasteurized products. These products contain more active enzymes and beneficial compounds than processed honey.
  3. Ingredients: Look for Manuka honey products that are free from additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Some products may contain other natural ingredients that can help to soothe and nourish the skin, such as aloe vera or chamomile.
  4. Form: Manuka honey products come in various forms, including creams, balms, and ointments. Consider your personal preference and the severity of your eczema when choosing a product form.
  5. Brand reputation: Look for reputable brands that have a track record of producing high-quality Manuka honey products. You can research online or ask friends or healthcare professionals for recommendations.
  6. Price: High-quality Manuka honey products can be more expensive than other types of honey products. However, investing in a high-quality product can be worth it if it helps to improve your eczema symptoms.
Clinical Nutritionist

Cara Hayes is an experienced natural health practitioner with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Sydney. She has been writing for New Zealand Honey since 2020 and loves manuka in her morning tea.