Besides Manuka honey, which is considered one of nature's best and most powerful products, hardworking honeybees also produce another lesser-known product: propolis. And much like Manuka honey, New Zealand propolis is jam-packed with all the good stuffs — amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, flavonoids, caffeates... over 300 different bioactive compounds — that can help treat a variety of skin concerns, including acne. New Zealand Propolis is especially rich in Caffeic Acid. Sound familiar? To an acne sufferer who has received pharmaceutical treatment it might, as this is one of the best known compounds found in most commercial acne (and other skin infection) treatments, only propolis is the real deal. No nasties here! Plus CAPE (caffeic acid phenethyl ester) is known to be 600 times more bioavailable in the propolis matrix than by itself (according to Professor Hiroshi Maruta).
Lets start with different types of acne...
For bacterial acne specifically, propolis may go a long way in both prevention and recovery from acne-related issues. Bacterial acne is caused by a microbe that thrives in the skin’s pore, near the oily gland (Sebaceous gland). This type of bacteria can trigger an immune response, resulting in inflammation, redness, and visible acne. Since New Zealand propolis has a strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it can, according to double-blind study (see below) help actively fight off acne-causing bacteria.
Source: The mechanism of action of propolis ethanol extracts against two antibiotic‐resistant biofilm‐forming bacteria - Bryan - 2016 - Letters in Applied Microbiology - Wiley Online Library
Double blind study Treatment of acne with a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, and Al | CPAA (dovepress.com)
Some studies conclude that the reason propolis is so effective against various microbes is because it’s so rich in flavonoids.
Raw New Zealand Propolis is known to contain somewhere between 200-500mg of flavonoids per 1g of pure propolis. Helena Health New Zealand propolis extract contains at least 180mg of flavonoids per 1 ml of liquid.
There is hormonal acne too, which may be hard to address through topical means alone. However, even then, the repercussions of hormonal acne may be helped by New Zealand propolis.
Since New Zealand propolis has powerful healing properties, it works quickly to regenerate skin to help make skin texture smoother and suppler. "It (propolis) is thought to be helpful for acne as it has antibacterial benefits and may also nourish the skin, improve wound healing, and have antioxidant benefits, which can be helpful for post-acne marks and healing as well. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory benefits can help to reduce redness associated with acne breakouts," says Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at Cornell.
"Propolis is thought to have benefits for the skin as it is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and also provides antioxidant benefits. As an antioxidant, it can help to protect the skin from free radical damage", also adds Garshick.
The anti-oxidants found in propolis not only scavenge free radicals on their own, but they actually boost the performance of anti-oxidants found within our own bodies and these two things combined result in some serious healing, scar fading and improved blood circulation.
How to make your own propolis skin care?
Helena Health New Zealand Propolis liquid product is tested and certified to contain at least 180 mg of bioactives per 1 ml of liquid - it’s a powerful concentrate that can be easily mixed in to your usual face creams.
Add 1 drop or less to your usual amount, mix in and apply on to your face or other areas requiring treatment.
Allergy Note: While New Zealand Propolis can be used on all skin types, propolis may cause severe allergic reaction. If you haven't used propolis before, apply a small amount to the inner aspect of your forearm as a patch test to determine if any reaction or irritation occurs.