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Manuka Honey For Seborrheic Dermatitis: Is It Worth The Cost?

Manuka Honey For Seborrheic Dermatitis: Is It Worth The Cost?

Itchy skin patches, redness, inflammation, and flakes are all part of a package called seborrheic dermatitis.

This skin condition is one of the most prevalent globally, affecting 3-10% of the world's population. [1] Its cousin, dandruff, is far in the lead and is estimated to affect around 50% of the adult population worldwide. [2]

So if you find yourself battling these conditions on a near-daily basis, you're not alone.

Home remedies are currently a popular approach to treating different skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. As of now, many people have come forth sharing their personal success stories with a popular natural ingredient said to possess potent medicinal properties—manuka honey.

If you have doubts and lingering questions about using this sweet natural ingredient as a remedy for seborrheic dermatitis, you're at the right place.

We'll explore what science says about using manuka honey (and raw honey) to treat seborrheic dermatitis and whether or not manuka honey is worth its extravagant price tag in this case.

What Is Manuka Honey?

With its medicinal properties documented in some of the world's oldest medical literature, honey has been utilized over centuries as a natural treatment for wounds and other skin ailments.

On the other hand, manuka honey only started garnering attention and interest for its unique antibacterial activity and anti-inflammatory effects much later on.

This honey is a dark type of honey sourced from manuka trees in New Zealand and Australia. This medical-grade honey is said to be an effective antidote for wounds, irritated and sensitive skin, and other skin conditions, including eczema.

What Is The Difference Between Raw Honey And Manuka Honey?

If you were to make a trip downtown to visit your local beekeeper, you'd be greeted with raw honey—a type of honey derived directly from the honeycombs of beehives with minimal processing.

When preparing raw honey for consumption, the extracted honey is filtered through a mesh or nylon cloth to eliminate impurities such as debris, dead bees, and beeswax.

Raw honey is the closest you will get to naturally-occurring honey. Due to this, it is packed with a massive range of vitamins, enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants. Plus, raw honey is said to have decent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. [3]

On the other hand, Manuka honey can only be sourced from Australia and New Zealand, making it a highly coveted medical-grade honey that is said to help with wound healing, eczema, acne, and other skin issues. It undergoes more processing compared to raw honey but has more significant antibacterial activity than conventional types. 

As it is highly sought after, manuka honey carries a pretty hefty price tag. 

What Does Science Say About The Healing Properties Of Medical-Grade Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey has been widely studied for its potent antibacterial activity, making it an excellent natural treatment for wounds, burns, and other skin injuries. [3]

However, seborrheic dermatitis is possibly attributed to a normally harmless fungus that grows on your skin known as Malassezia, so the antibacterial properties of Manuka honey would be less of a key player in this case. [4]

Though there are currently few studies (if any at all) that have tested the efficacy of manuka honey specifically in tackling seborrheic dermatitis, don't cross it off your list just yet.

The study about manuka honey.

One study published in 2017 studied the effects of manuka honey in treating atopic dermatitis, another form of eczema that involves itching, inflammation, and redness of the skin.

In this study, 14 participants with atopic dermatitis and sensitive skin were instructed to apply manuka honey to any affected skin area for seven consecutive nights. [5]

After about a week elapsed, researchers found that participants who applied honey to the affected region saw significant improvements in their eczema lesions compared to the control group (who did not receive any form of treatment). [5]

The study attributed these findings to the impressive anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenolic compounds present in this form of honey, which helps combat skin irritation and redness. [5]

The study also suggests that the decrease in eczema-related itch, redness, and irritation could be partially explained by the ability of manuka honey to reduce the production of a compound called histamine in the skin. [5]

By drawing from the findings of this study, manuka honey could be a potential treatment option for tackling eczema symptoms, such as skin irritation, itch, and inflammation. 

How about crude honey?

The effect of crude honey, or raw honey, on seborrheic dermatitis was investigated through a study published in 2001. [6]

Researchers recruited 30 patients who had stubborn seborrheic dermatitis affecting their scalp, face, and chest. These participants also experienced scaling, itching, dry skin, and hair loss. [6]

The participants were requested to apply diluted raw honey to the affected areas of their skin, with gentle rubbing to massage the concoction in. The formulation was left on for three hours, and this routine was performed every other day. [6]

As the study drew to an end, researchers observed reduced and diminished skin lesions, improvement in hair loss, and elimination of itch and scaling with honey treatment. [6]

From this study, researchers suggested that raw honey had impressive anti-inflammatory properties and could significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis symptoms, treat associated hair loss, and even prevent relapses when applied every week—all of which is good news! [6]

How Can You Use Medical-Grade Manuka Honey For Eczema?

Manuka honey is only hiking upwards in popularity. You may have seen it marketed as one of the most powerful ingredients in skincare and hair care products, some of which are specially formulated to combat a host of scalp and skin conditions.

While you could take those products on a test drive, you may also opt for manuka honey or raw honey in its natural form to tackle seborrheic dermatitis.

When using honey to treat eczema, it's best to use medical-grade honey. 

Additionally, you should perform a patch test before using any type of honey for eczema to ensure you're not allergic to it.

To perform a patch test, find a clean and healthy area of skin and apply a small amount of honey to that region. Leave the thin layer on for 24 hours before removing it and checking for any signs of skin irritation, rashes, skin lesions, or itch. If you don't notice any of these signs, you're likely in the green zone.

Manuka honey can be applied directly to the skin. If you wish to use it on the scalp, you may dilute it with water before application, as manuka honey naturally has a thick and sticky texture.

Wash your hands thoroughly, then apply a thin layer of honey onto the affected area, preferably late in the evening. You may place a bandage or gauze over it if the site of application involves your chest. Leave it on overnight, and remove any residue in the morning.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Manuka Honey To Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Other than the possibility of being allergic to manuka honey, using this type of honey to treat eczema isn't all fun and games.

One word—ants. Unfortunately, you're not the only one with a liking for sweet treats.

Some people who use honey as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis (or other skin conditions) may find themselves meeting with unwanted visitors in the morning, especially if the area isn't covered with gauze or a bandage.

Additionally, the sticky and thick texture of manuka honey may make application a hassle and likely will create a mess of your pajamas and bedsheets. This form of honey is pretty expensive, too.

We've got an easier solution for you.

This one does not involve ants or a sticky mess.

The Calming Seborrheic Serum contains a host of natural ingredients that deeply moisturizes dry skin while reducing the growth of the Malassezia fungus and soothing irritated and itchy skin of the scalp, face, and body.

While you'll have to leave your manuka honey concoction on overnight, the Calming Seborrheic Serum only needs to go on for a few hours (though it's completely safe to leave on overnight).

And the best part is that you can get a full refund if you aren't satisfied with the results. We won't even ask for the bottle back.

We've been there, too. The struggle with seborrheic dermatitis is real, but we hope you'll find the relief you need in due time.

Recommended Product

Calming Seborrheic Serum

This all-in-one serum clears away malassezia fungus while soothing irritated skin. Provides relief for the scalp, face, and body.

View Serum