The number of strange concoctions that women and men have put on their skin over the years is nothing short of amazing. From snail slime to jellyfish DNA and nightingale excrement, skincare has certainly undergone some rather interesting changes. One of the latest skincare crazes is bee venom. While it’s been popping up in beauty creams and facial masks frequently, it is important to consider if this is a safe skincare option.
What is Bee Venom?
Bee venom that is used in some skin products is the same clear liquid that bees inject into your skin when they sting you. This venom, which is also known as apitoxin, contains over 20 different compounds, including melittin, which is a protein that has been studied for its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. This protein, along with the body’s natural reaction to the toxin is the major consideration for its use in skincare products.
Bee venom used in skincare products is collected in a manner which is bee-friendly; the bees do not die in order to give up their venom for use in skincare products. Previous collection methods relied on the bees leaving their stingers and poison sacs behind. The methods used today cause the bees to release their venom, without having to sacrifice the stinger as well, which means they no longer die during collection.
Use in Skincare
The sudden growth in apitoxin use in skincare is often attributed to the Royal Family, who use it to provide them with younger looking skin. Now, there are a growing number of beauty creams and lotions that are boasting the ingredient. The question is, why is this toxin becoming such a beauty staple? The reason is what it does to your skin. When the bee venom is applied to the skin, it causes it to react as if it’s been stung, without that hurtful stinging feeling. The result is that there is an increase of blood in the skin, which helps to increase the amount of collagen and elastin being produced. The extra collagen helps to increase the overall strength of the skin, while the elastin helps to make it appear more taut and elastic. These two mechanisms result in the skin appearing slightly fuller and more youthful, especially for those who are suffering from the sagging and drooping associated with the natural aging process.
Due to these effects, the products containing the venom are gaining in popularity with both younger and older women. Young women are using bee venom products to help fight the appearance of aging, whilst older women use these products to minimise the appearance of existing lines and wrinkles. Additionally, the boost in collagen also helps to plump the skin, which gives a more youthful appearance. It also helps provide additional moisture, leading to healthier looking skin.
Is It Safe?
As with any unconventional treatments, skincare or otherwise, there are always some considerations. With products containing bee venom, the most obvious warning is for those who are allergic to bee stings. If you have an allergy, you should not consider slathering a product containing apitoxin on your skin – it can easily result in a serious allergic reaction that may require medical attention. For those who aren’t allergic, it’s recommended that you don’t use these products more than a few times per week. More frequent use of these products does not lead to more obvious visual improvements.
Bee venom is one of the latest in a long line of skincare trends. While it may provide results for some, care should be taken until you know how your body will respond.