I have for a few years used honey in making my own topical treatments for skin, and lately I came across an old study from 2003 published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2003:11;226–34) investigating the use of topical application of a combination of honey, olive oil, and beeswax for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis. Even though the study is older, the results are very applicable today. Besides using it myself, I’ve seen many people in different forums mention using honey to treat psoriasis and even LS. Honey has long been known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and can lead to faster wound healing. Olive oil also has antibacterial properties and can inhibit inflammation. I remember my grandmother using olive oil for all her skin care, and she had amazingly good skin even when older. Olive oil and honey both contain flavonoids that help protect cells and inhibit histamine based allergic reactions. Beeswax has anti-inflammatory properties as well and is often included in treatments for burns and other skin conditions.
This study asked 21 people with eczema and 18 people with psoriasis to try out the topical mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax. Approximately half of the participants in each group had been using topical steroid creams before the study. Those who used steroid creams, continued to use them through the study, applying a combination of the honey mix and the steroid cream to one side, and vaseline (eczema patients) or paraffin (psoriasis patients) and steroid cream to the other side of the body for three times per day for 2-3 weeks. The other half only applied the honey mix on one side and vaseline/paraffin on the other side.
Everyone was assessed for signs of relative symptoms such as scaling, itchiness, redness, skin thickening and oozing. Within the group of eczema patients without steroid treatments, 80% had a significant improvement in skin symptoms using the honey mix. They reported significant improvements in itching, scaling, and oozing compared to the side with just the vaseline. Almost 50% of the eczema patients that had used steroid creams reported a significant reductions in steroid doses and improved skin. 63% of the participants with psoriasis who were not using steroid cream reported a significant improvement, and steroid doses were reduced by up to 75% in 50% of the patients who had been using steroid creams, with no deterioration in symptoms.
So strong support for using honey as a topical treatment. If you want to try it at home, here’s a good recipe.
Combine equal parts of cold pressed olive oil, raw unprocessed honey and beeswax. Mix them together in small quantities at a time, no more than a few tablespoons of each at a time. Melt the beeswax in s small pan over low heat, stirring until melted. Remove it from heat and in a clean bowl start mixing the ingridients. Add the beeswax, then mix in the honey, and then mix in olive oil until blended, repeating the process until you have as much as you want to make. At the end you can also add a few drops of vitamin E oil (buy in gel cap form and open the gel cap) to help with storage. While the mix is still warm, pour it into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It should stay good for up to 3 months.