While eczema is often treated with moisturizing and topical anti-inflammatory medications, alternative treatments are also being investigated. One of these is honey.
Read on as we discuss honey, its potential benefits for eczema, and more.
Honey is a natural product produced by honeybees using nectar from flowers. It’s estimated that there are about
Honey can contain up to
Throughout history, honey has been used in foods, cosmetics, and medicines. Some examples of the conditions that honey has been used to treat include:
So, can honey help the inflammation, redness, or itchiness of eczema?
So far, only a small amount of scientific research has been performed on honey for eczema. Let’s take a look at what some of it has to say.
Topical honey for eczema lesions
In 2014, a
Researchers observed that eczema lesions improved following treatment with manuka honey. They also observed less inflammation.
A small 2017 study in 15 participants assessed the efficacy of honey eardrops on eczema lesions on the ear. The eardrops were used three times per day for 2 weeks.
Researchers observed that honey eardrops led to decreased eczema symptoms. However, no control group was used in this study.
A limited amount of studies have been performed on the efficacy of honey for eczema. While some indicate a potential benefit, they’re limited by small sample sizes and, in some cases, a lack of controls. Overall, more research is needed.
If you do choose to use honey for eczema lesions, be sure to use a medical-grade honey, such as manuka honey. Medical-grade honey has been treated and filtered to ensure that it’s free of potential contaminants.
Follow the steps below:
- In the evening, apply a thin layer of honey to the affected area using clean hands.
- Carefully cover the area with gauze or a bandage.
- Allow the dressing to stay in place overnight.
- In the morning, gently remove the dressing and clean the area.
An allergic reaction to honey may occur in some people. This may be more common in people who are allergic to pollen or bee stings. If you experience discomfort or an increase in redness, swelling, or itching after topical application, stop using it.
A severe type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis has also been
- shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- swelling of the throat, mouth, or face
- skin rash
- abdominal cramps
- nausea or vomiting
In addition, honey should not be given orally to children under 1 year old. This is due to the risk of infant botulism.
If you’ve tried using home remedies like honey to manage your eczema without success, see your doctor. They can work with you to recommend other treatment options.
Other situations that warrant a visit to the doctor include eczema lesions that:
- cover a large area of the body
- appear infected, with symptoms like pus or red streaking
- become disruptive to your day-to-day activities
There are several different types of eczema that share common symptoms, such as itching, redness, and scaling. The types of eczema include:
- Atopic dermatitis: Often begins in childhood and comes and goes periodically. It’s often associated with allergic conditions like hay fever and asthma.
- Contact dermatitis: Happens when an irritant or allergen touches the skin.
- Dyshidrotic eczema: Small, deep blisters develop, typically on the hands or feet. Itching and burning may also occur.
- Hand eczema: Limited specifically to the hands. May be caused by allergies, repeated hand washing, or exposure to strong soaps and detergents.
- Neurodermatitis: Begins with itching, which can cause frequent scratching. Sometimes itchy, red patches and thickened skin also develop in the affected area.
- Nummular eczema: Causes itchy coin-sized patches, typically on the torso, arms, hands, and feet.
- Stasis dermatitis: Can occur in people with poor circulation. It’s most common on the lower part of the legs.
Knowing what type of eczema you have can help you care for your skin and symptoms. It can also help you communicate more effectively with your healthcare providers.
Honey is being investigated as a potential treatment for eczema. So far, research indicates that there may be some benefit in applying honey to eczema lesions. However, more rigorous research is needed to determine honey’s overall effectiveness.
If you plan to use honey to treat your eczema, be sure to purchase medical-grade honey. Applying honey to the skin may cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you experience a reaction after using honey, stop using it.
If you find that your symptoms don’t improve after using honey, see your doctor. They can recommend other treatments that may help with your symptoms.