Honey has been prized for centuries – not just because it tastes great, but because it has natural healing and skin-boosting properties.

Mona Gohara, M.D., who is the associate clinical professor at Yale Department of Dermatology, says that honey has recognized healing abilities, and that it also promotes collagen building. Dendy Engelman, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologic surgeon adds that honey “has natural anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.”

Manuka honey, which is made from the pollen of the Manuka plant in New Zealand, is in big demand because of its high levels of antioxidants. The price tag for this type of honey can make your eyes water, though, so if you’re on a budget, raw honey works well too.

What exactly can honey do to aid your beauty routine? Let’s find out:

1. Moisturizing Face Mask

Raw honey has moisturizing and soothing effects, and can hydrate skin. Apparently, the sugars in honey act as natural humectants and emollients, which increase the water content of the skin and reduce dryness – even after you’ve washed them off.

Apply raw honey directly on to the skin, and leave on for up to 20 minutes. Rinse and massage it off thoroughly with water.

2. Exfoliator

Ildi Pekar, owner of Ildi Pekar Skin Care, says that exfoliation is one of the great benefits of honey. “The enzymes in the honey work well as a gentle exfoliator, helping your complexion to be healthy and radiant. Your skin will glow!” Pekar says.

Apply honey directly to the skin in circular motions. Leave on for a few minutes before massaging it off with water.

3. Fades Scars

As Gohara mentioned, honey is a proven wound healer. This is due to the antioxidants in honey (especially Manuka honey) that nourish damaged skin, and potentially helps the scar healing process. Engleman adds that Manuka honey has natural antiseptic properties which help prevent infections and aids in wound healing, and that these can reduce scarring and cut down on healing time.

4. Acne Treatment

Again, Manuka honey in particular is great for acne treatment, as it’s an anti-inflammatory which can help reduce redness and swelling in spots and pimples. The antibacterial properties also fight bacteria that are responsible for acne.

Apply raw honey directly on to the breakout of spots and then rinse off after around 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Bath Soak

Try soaking in a honey-infused bath, and honey’s hydrating powers will leave your skin soft, says Pekar.

Mix up two big tablespoons of raw honey in one cup of hot water and stir until the honey has dissolved. Pour the mixture into a tub of warm water, and relax!

6. Cuticle Moisturizer

As honey naturally draws moisture into the skin, it can help keep your cuticles smooth and free of ragged edges.

Rub raw honey over each cuticle and leave it on for five to 10 minutes before rinsing off.

7. Conditions Hair

hair

Felix Fischer, celebrity hair artist, says that honey is “Naturally a perfect conditioner because it’s a humectant and retains and attracts moisture, keeping your hair feeling smooth and healthy. Your strands will feel soft, nourished and have plenty of life and bounce.”

Mix one-quarter cup of organic raw honey with only enough fresh water to thin it out to the point where you can easily spread it over your hair. Dampen your hair, and apply. Let the honey mix stay on for 30 minutes, and rinse with warm water. Use twice a week.

8. Lip Balm

Honey is great for chapped lips as well as skin. Pekar says that “The hydrating benefits with enzymes, antioxidants and minerals work well to moisturize lips.”

Apply raw honey directly to the lips, leave on for a few minutes, then rinse off.

9. Hydrating Hair Mask

Fischer says that honey can help stop your hair from drying out because it’s very effective at retaining moisture and keeping your hair soft and bouncy.

Make a banana and honey hair mask by combining two very ripe bananas, half a cup of unprocessed honey, and one-quarter cup of olive oil. Blend the ingredients until smooth, and apply onto hair and scalp evenly. Cover with a shower cap and leave on for around 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse out the mask with cool or warm waters and shampoo. Comb through the hair and rinse again. For best results, use this mask two or three times a month.