What is propolis? Some facts about the "bee glue" for your skin

Posted by Elisa Ansar on

What is propolis? Some facts about the "bee glue" for your skin

Propolis or "bee glue" is a resin-like material used and created by bees to build honeycombs. Their body processes and the combination with beeswax add enzymes to the product, giving it antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. 

The sticky end product used for nest production has, for many decades, fallen in and out of favor as a naturally occurring anti-infective and healing agent. A K-beauty favorite, you can find propolis in ampoules, toners, and moisturizers, but the best formulation will depend on the intended goal.


Beekeeper in a garden


What should you know about propolis?

You can find propolis included as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial ingredient in skincare. For decades, "bee glue" properties were used in wound healing, treating acne aftermath, and protecting the skin.

Those who are not allergic to the ingredient and are looking to heal mild wounds or treat scarring, pigmentation, and texture caused by acne could benefit from using propolis. The application of propolis depends on the particular product and what it's meant to treat. If someone does not have an allergy to propolis, it would be safe to use daily.

The products paired with propolis will depend on the intended goal. As a versatile ingredient, various types of care can include propolis. For example, if you have propolis as a repairing ingredient, you can complement the care with hyaluronic acid to support the hydrating and nourishing effect.

Benefits of propolis for your skin

According to a comprehensive review, propolis and its extracts have many uses in treating various concerns due to their properties.

    • Skin protection: One study identified propolis as an effective reverser of UV-induced skin damage since propolis has demonstrated good antioxidant properties to fight sun-induced oxidative damage to the skin.
  • Wound healing: Propolis’ main benefit is its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect that can help to improve the healing process.
    • Treats acne aftermath: It may not suffice as a single therapy for resistant acne. However, for healing the aftermath of acne (scars, pigmentation, or textural issues), propolis has the properties to help with these processes.
    • Decreases inflammation: Propolis can also be a helpful adjunct for treating eczema and psoriasis by calming inflammation.

    What side effects can propolis have?

    Despite the potential benefits of including a propolis-containing product in a skincare routine, the ingredient can also come with a downside that you shouldn't overlook. As is the case with many other components when applied to the skin, there's a real risk of developing an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis to propolis.

    One thing to remember is that an actual allergic reaction to propolis is distinct from the irritation that comes with ingredients like retinol. If concerned about the risk of allergy, test the product on your inner forearm for a week or two before applying it to more sensitive areas.

    It's also essential to note that because propolis serves as an extension of a bee's immune system and a form of defense in their hives, collecting it can adversely affect the bee's colony. So while it has benefits to humans, be aware that commercial collection of large quantities of propolis is not a sustainable practice. Therefore, we recommend including sustainable, cruelty-free products in your routines.

    How to include propolis in your care

    In general, if you decide to use a propolis-based product, refer to the manufacturer's instructions regarding the frequency of use and proper incorporation into your skincare routine.

    In case of suffering from any allergy-related to bees or related products, we recommend consulting a specialist. In addition, before including any product in your care, we recommend carrying out a patch test on the inner part of the arms or a particular area of ​​the skin. 

    Products derived from bees are part of the history of care in many cultures. For example, in cosmetics, you can find products derived from bees, including propolis and types of honey such as manuka or beeswax. 

    For example, our Glory Balm is composed of organic and cruelty-free ingredients, including beeswax. Organic beeswax gently adapts to the skin while moisturizing and protecting. Also, it has anti-irritant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects that can help care for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

    We wish you well-being, connection, and good results in your skincare!

    propolis skin care

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