The latest celebrity skin care buzz:  Bee venom facials, night creams, and other bee-sourced skin care products.  Manufacturers are touting bee venom as “nature’s answer to Botox”. Bee venom is mixed with other natural compounds including honey, shea butter, and essential oils of rose and lavender.  The combination of these ingredients is believed to stimulate the skin’s natural ability to heal and leaves skin smooth and soft. Additionally, individuals that suffer from acne and acne scarring can receive substantial benefits from the application of bee venom products due to their bacterial and viral fighting powers and the ability to stimulate the growth of elastin and collagen in the skin.

“Nature’s Botox?”

Products from honeybees have been used for centuries for a variety of beauty and health cures.  Most individuals think about honey and royal jelly for treatment of burns, scars, and for culinary applications.  However, bees are very efficient creatures that provide healing properties through the propolis they produce, as well as their venom and pollen.  Bee venom is believed to fool the skin into producing collagen and elastin providing for natural smoothing and tightening of facial skin.  When an individual is stung by a bee, the natural reaction is redness, itching, pain and inflammation from its 18 active substances.  Since ancient times, bee products including venom have been used to alleviate the pain associate with arthritis and tendonitis, the treatment of burns and scars, and a variety of beauty routines.  Apitherapy is the discipline that encompasses the use of bee and beehive products for medicinal and beauty treatments.

Bee Venom Facials And Masks

Celebrities and members of the British Royal Family (including Camilla, Kate & the Duchess of Cornwall) are apparently ponying up for skin therapy appointments with bee venom masks, facials and creams.  Bee venom and honey have natural anti-viral and antibiotic effects that promote healing, reduce inflammation, and work to stimulate collagen and elastic production making skin appear firmer, tighter, smoother, and more even.  Manufacturers of bee venom products promise that regular use diminishes fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and other areas of the face and makes users look instantly younger.  Once, these products were only available through high-end spas and dermatology offices.  However, today they are available from an array of manufacturers.

Safety And Effectiveness Of Bee Venom Masks

Note: Bee products including honey, royal jelly, propolis and venom are not recommended for individuals that have allergic reactions to bee stings.  However, the majority of the population suffers no adverse side effects from the external application of bee venom, royal jelly, honey or propolis.  Some individuals report a gentle tingling and slight tightening of the skin when applied; this is considered normal and evidence that the bee venom is stimulating collagen and elastin production.

Scientific Studies On Bee Product Health Benefits

  • Honey is found to treat symptomatic nocturnal coughs in children more effectively than Destromethorphan.[1]
  • Honey speeds wound healing through lavation, a decrease in inflammation especially in difficult to treat wounds on the head and neck.[2]
  • A single injection of dilute bee venom temporarily alleviates chronic pain.  Recent study indicates this can lead to a potential novel strategy for the management of chronic pain.[3]
  • Royal jelly protects cells and against damage from nicotine and smoking.[4]
  • Bee venom was used by Hippocrates for medicinal treatments due to the production of mellitinin, an anti-inflammatory agent hundreds of times stronger than cortisone.[5]

Sources And Further Reading

The American Apitherapy Society Inc:

The Natural News:  Bee stings as therapy?  Apitherapy can treat arthritis and more

WebMD:  Apitheraphy:

[1] Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM.  Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  2007 Dec; 161(12):  1140-6.  Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents.

[2] Knipping S, Gruenwald B, Hirt R.  HNO 2012 Sep;60(9):830-6.  Medical honey in the treatment of wound-healing disorders in the head and neck area.

[3] Kang SY, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Moon JY, et. Al.  The Journal of Pain 2012 Feb;13(2(:155-156.  Repetitive treatment with diluted bee venom reduces neuropathic pain

[4] European Journal Of Medicinal Plants.  2012 Dec 9.  Cytoprotective Potential of Royal Jelly on Human Umbilical Vein endothelial Cells Against Nicotine Toxicity.

[5] Algutub AN, Masoodi I, Alsayari K, Alomair A.  World Journal of Hepatology. 2011 Oct 27; 2(10): 268-70.  Bee sting therapy-induced hepatotoxicity:  A case report.


Kathleen McCoy is professional beauty, education and healthcare analyst and writer. A University of Maryland graduate, Kathleen has traveled and studied extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America covering skin care and natural beauty techniques from around the globe.

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