Carefully crafted by young worker bees into six-sided honeycomb cells, beeswax provides tiny storage units for honey until the beekeeper extracts the golden liquid. After harvest, the beekeeper melts and purifies the beeswax, and some of it will find its way into lotions, soaps and other skin care products. Beeswax may have beneficial effects on the skin, but check with your doctor before using beeswax to treat any medical condition.
Beeswax also retains properties that sooth and soften skin, making it a perfect ingredient for lotions because it will keep skin moisturized.
When beeswax is burned, it emits negative ions in the air. These negative ions help rid the air of pollen, dust, mold, toxins and many other pollutants. This feature makes beeswax candles ideal for allergy suffers.
The properties in beeswax work as a soothing and healing agent in salves designed for burns, cuts and other wounds.
Another plus is that beeswax candles do not produce smoke when they burn. They also burn much slower than other candles, making them much more cost efficient.
Different types of Beeswax
By using cotton or nylon fabric, the bits and pieces can be filtered out. Heavy filtering also removes some of the natural scents for e.g. honey and the colours of the pollen.
This is a natural filtering process of the beeswax that removes the pollen. The process is as follows:
The beeswax is heated in a tank with circulating water and the melted beeswax floats on top. It is like a ‘washing machine’. Carbon and Fuller’s earth is added and filters out the pollen and propolis, which give the beeswax its colour. This process is qualified as organic (which the hydrogen peroxide method of course is not!). This natural bleaching method also leaves the delicate honey smell in the beeswax.
Dry, rough skin may benefit from creams, lotions or soaps that contain beeswax. When added to skin care products, beeswax acts as an emollient and a humectant, drawing moisture to the skin and sealing it in, reports Botanical.com. Beeswax also contains vitamin A, which may be beneficial in softening and rehydrating dry skin and in cell reconstruction.
Straight from the honeycomb without filtering so can therefore contain bits and pieces. The colour and scent are determined by the type of pollen taken from the flowers pollinated. Colour: from light yellow to dark brown. Fragrance: honey-like to overpowering.
This is also known as White Beeswax or Ivory Beeswax. The beeswax can be sun-bleached naturally but this is not easy to do. It can also be done with chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, by bleaching out the colour of the pollen. This process removes the delicate honey scent and makes the beeswax nearly odourless.
In its natural state, beeswax is firm but pliable. Melted and combined with other ingredients, beeswax adds body to skin care products, making creams thicker. Like other beehive products, including honey and royal jelly, beeswax offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral benefits, according to the magazine, Delicious Living, making it potentially beneficial for treating minor skin irritations.
Beeswax may have mild antibacterial properties, according to a 2005 study conducted at Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates. Researchers combined honey, olive oil and beeswax, then applied the mixture to laboratory plates on which the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, and the fungus, Candida albicans were growing. The honey/beeswax mixture inhibited the growth of the bacteria and fungus, making beeswax, along with honey, potentially beneficial in the treatment of diaper rash and other bacterial skin conditions.
Tips for using Beeswax
- Never use more than up to 1% beeswax in a product on the face as beeswax clogs the pores and so enlarges them. The skin does not absorb beeswax so it therefore creates a protective barrier for the skin and lips, thereby retaining moisture in those areas.
- Never use beeswax on oily, combination or large-pored skin types or on acne-prone skin. The exception is beeswax-based lip balm – that can be used on lips even if the person has these skin types.