Stung in the name of beauty: Using bee venom for your skin

When it comes to beauty treatments, it's fair to say there’s not a lot we won’t try in the name of vanity.

There are plenty of lotions and potions designed to fill in pores, firm and plump the skin, magic away wrinkles and reduce the appearance of fine lines, with products based on both scientific and natural methods.

However, one star ingredient that’s been gaining a steady buzz over the past few years is the use of bee venom to promote positive effects in human skin. Its inherent properties have earned it the nickname of ‘nature’s botox’, and even Kate Middleton reportedly used a face mask with bee venom as part of her wedding preparations.

Many facialists and aestheticians to the stars also rely on this hidden gem to get their clients looking red carpet ready. If you’ve never considered adding some honeybee venom into your beauty routine, here are a few reasons why this wonder product could be just what your skin needs.

Beauty buzz: the effects of honeybee venom on skin

Bee venom, also known as apitoxin or apis mellifera, can have a range of positive effects on skin. Studies on the use of venom have shown it can aid in improving skin texture, relaxing deep-set wrinkles and lines, and can even reduce pigmentation problems and sun damage.

On its own, the venom looks like a colourless liquid or a white or brownish-yellow powder-like substance when dried, depending on whether it has been protected against oxidation.

The cosmetic secret of bee venom lies in its interaction with our skin and immune system. Applying small amounts of venom makes your body believe it has been subjected to melittin, the toxin delivered through bee stings.

In order to respond to the perceived melittin, blood rushes to the area and this stimulates collagen and elastin production.

These two proteins are one of the keys to healthy skin. Collagen gives skin its elasticity and strength, and a reduction in collagen (sparked by the natural ageing process) can lead to wrinkles and fine lines.

Meanwhile, elastin is essential for the production of elastic fibres in the body. These small groups of proteins help to give strength and flexibility to our connective tissues, providing structural support for skin, the heart, lungs and other organs.

Products made with purified bee venom can help to moisturise skin while providing some anti-aging and firming effects.

In most cases, application of these creams, moisturisers, masks and cleansers will feel much like an ordinary beauty product, although it may induce some micro-swelling in the area as it works.

It’s important to remember that if you do have a severe allergy to bee stings, it’s best to seek advice from your doctor before using any products containing bee venom.

Traditional medicinal uses

Aside from its growing popularity as a cosmetic ingredient, bee venom has traditionally been used in the past as a treatment for conditions such as arthritis and rheumatoid inflammations.

Its anti-inflammatory properties have previously been used in treatments for chronic pain, ligament injuries, and multiple sclerosis.

The process of venom extraction

In the past, venom extraction was carried out by removing the venom gland from the honeybee or squeezing individual bees until droplets could be collected from the end of their sting.

Now, an electro-shock method of extraction has been refined to the point where venom can be collected without having to remove the bee’s sting, preserving its life in the process.

This involves placing a glass pane alongside a hive and running a weak electrical current through it, which stimulates the bees to sting the surface. That means you can rest assured no bees were harmed in the making of your beauty product – and you can look forward to seeing the results of this wonder ingredient on your skin.

Nelson Honey Royal Nectar Bee Venom Face Mask is formulated for a rapid anti-ageing effect. A soothing blend of waxes and oils, Royal Nectar’s face mask includes two products from New Zealand – Manuka honey and bee venom. Buy it now from our secure online shop.

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