Most of us would do anything to enjoy youthful skin.
We tried Botox, we tried creams and serums; and now there is bee venom on the market to help us look 25 again!
But is it any good?
Bee venom cream – the back story
Bee venom is one of the most common venoms known to man.
Bees produce it as a defence or attack weapon.
The venom contains a mixture of chemicals, which cause an allergic reaction at the site of the sting.
We normally see this reaction in the form of the initial pain, followed by swelling and itching. But usually these subside after a short time, leaving only a fear of bees in the unfortunate victim!
Risk of Anaphylaxis
Unfortunately, some people can have something called an anaphylactic reaction to bee stings.
These people’s immune system overact to bee sting and shuts the body down, possibly leading to fatalities.
Just like some people get life threatening reactions to eating nuts.
So it is really vital anyone using any bee venom product tests a small amount on their skin first before using the product in full.
In many countries, bee venom is used to treat diseases such as arthritis. Particularly countries in Asia.
A weird fact
Amazingly, when a bee stings you, less than 15% of the sting is venom!
The rest is just water.
Toxins in Bee venom cream
The main toxin in bee venom is called Melittin. And it destroys cells by breaking down the membrane which surrounds them.
It also stimulates the body to release pain inducing chemicals, which is responsible for the stinging pain felt after a bee sting.
But the most harmful part of bee venom is actually NOT the Melittin. It is an enzyme called phospholipase A.
This enzyme firstly induces the sharp pain felt shortly after a sting, and it also paves the way for the mellitin by destroying cells in its path allowing the toxin to go deeper into the body.
And as if this wasn’t enough, the action of phospholipase triggers the body’s immune system to react causing inflammation, itching and further pain.
Skin ageing – Some age faster than others
Our skin, like all other major organs in our body, undergoes ageing.
Unfortunately, our skin at age 80 is nothing like our skin at age 20!
Before we discuss how bee venom can help in preventing skin ageing,
We need to understand what causes skin ageing in the first place.
Well, firstly it is a fact of life.
Our skin ages.
Our skin loses structure and elasticity, and even its colour and tone changes.
Collagen, which is the tough tissue that forms the foundation of the skin, slowly disintegrates as we age. Elastin, which is the tissue that gives skin its elasticity, also degrades.
But some people’s skin ages FASTER than others.
Well one of the major controllable factors in terms of skin ageing is sun exposure.
Especially exposure to UV light. This causes huge damage to the skin.
So be warned sunbathers!
People with darker skin tend to be more protected against this sun damage, so generally darker skin ages better.
Lifestyle also plays a key role. Smoking and poor diet are devastating for the skin and accelerate ageing.
5 reasons to use Bee Venom cream
We are not entirely sure how bee venom helps with skin ageing. But there some things we know about it.
1)It stops growth of bacteria that live on the skin.
When scientists mixed bee venom with bacteria that normally lives on people’s skin.
The bacteria stopped growing!
We call these type of molecules “bacterio-static”.
This may not be excellent news for those looking for wrinkle treatments but it is fabulous news for acne sufferers.
Because one of the major culprits in acne flare-ups are those bacteria, and if we can stop them, growing that is likely to lead to a positive outcome.
2) Bee venom reduces the level of MMP (matrix metalloproteinases)
What on earth is MMP?
Well when UV light from the sun hits your skin, an enzyme called MMP is produced by the skin itself.
This is a very destructive enzyme, which causes damage to skin structure and accelerates the ageing process.
Bee venom blocks this enzyme. Which is wonderful news.
3) Bee venom boosts the level of collagen in the skin
As we explained earlier, collagen is one of the main tissues of the skin that give it strength.
And unfortunately it degrades as we get older. So anything which increases the level of collagen will likely make a big difference to the youthful appearance of skin.
4) Wrinkles look better after bee venom use
I actually looked for research papers which followed patients who used bee venom on their skin.
Specifically, I looked for research that used photo imaging techniques to compare the before and after results of bee venom use.
The reason for this is that it is more accurate than just saying “oh yeah, the wrinkles LOOK reduced”.
With photo imaging techniques you can actually look for things like wrinkle count and average wrinkle depth to obtain a precise measure of improvements.
And bee venom scored well in the papers I saw. It reduced both average wrinkle count and average wrinkle depth over a 3-month period, leading to improved skin appearance.
5) It may POSSIBLY help with Acne
This is only speculation so far, but there are some limited data that suggest Bee venom cream can help reduce acne flare ups.
Personally i remain sceptical about this, because as far as i know, Bee venom does not have any powerful anti-bacterial qualities which is essential for managing acne. But with more research this will be hopefully settled one way or another.
Should you use Bee venom cream under the eyes?
Before you consider using bee venom cream for your eyes, it is worth thinking about why you need to use any products under your eyes. is it because you have dark circles under your eyes? or do you have puffy eyes?
if the problem is dark circles under your eyes, you need something that has been proven to break down melanin which is the pigment in the skin that causes skin to appear dark.
and as far as I know bee venom cream has not been shown to do this.
Bags under the eyes are caused by many different things. They could be due to a medical problem or they could be due to a problem with the vessels under the skin.
Sometimes medical conditions can cause certain areas of the body to retain water. and other medical conditions can cause the vessels under the skin to swell, making the skin appear more puffy – this is a fairly common cause for bags under the eyes.
personally I think in both of these scenarios, bee venom cream will not be of any help, given what we know about it so far.
One area where bee venom might help under the eyes is if you have inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema; there is a good chance bee venom cream will help.
I strongly advise you to try bee venom cream on your skin first and then if all goes well try using under your eyes. the area under the eyes are very delicate so you have to exercise some caution.
Possible bee venom cream side effects
Off course, if you have KNOWN allergy to bee venom, you should NEVER use bee venom cream.
However, looking at the available feedbacks from users, there has been very few cases of full-blown reactions to bee venom creams. However, there may be some irritation at the start of using the product, which usually fades away after a few days of use.
Which Brand should you go for?
This is probably the HARDEST decision of all.
The quality of the bee venom and the quality of the manufacturing process are CRUCIAL.
Because if you have low quality bee venom your product isn’t worth the jar it’s in.
In addition, if the product is made poorly, it will not be able to absorb into the skin.
I wrote an article where I discuss how complex the skin is and the difficulty in getting products absorbed across it.
Customer feedback analysis
I am going to use the customer feedback of Beenigma bee venom cream.
Simply because they have over 200 reviews on Amazon.
I personally trust amazon reviews because they have strict verification to weed out bogus reviews.
Of the 220 reviews, 80% gave it a 5 star rating which the highest rating you can have on Amazon. Those people who gave highest ratings were mainly women in their 40s and 50s.
Interestingly, few of them started using the product as an anti-ageing solution. Most of them mentioned they started using Beenigma as a moisturiser!
And they noticed the anti ageing effect afterwards.
A few users noticed firmer looking neck and face skin in as little as 2 weeks.
I think this is probably a bit of placebo as the ageing process is a very slow one and reversing it is equally slow. I think noticeable improvements are more likely in 12 weeks or more.
It was interesting to note some users mentioned they noticed an improvement in a acne whilst using bee venom cream. This tallies up nicely with our analysis of bee venom content earlier. Bee venom has been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
And as we know, bacterial growth plays a key role in propagating acne.
So this is wonderful news for acne sufferers.
Now let’s move on to the people who didn’t like this product. The people who gave it a one star. No surprise the main point of contention for these people was the price.
It’s not a cheap product and perhaps that set up people’s expectation high, and rightly so. The more we pay for something the more we expect.
Some users mentioned they did not get the expected “stinging” when they put the cream on their skin.
To them this indicated the product had no venom. I am not sure if the product packaging promises this, or if users read this somewhere, that stinging should occur on application.
And finally, some users complained about lack of results in terms of youthful looking skin. But none of those users mentioned how long they tried the product for.
I suspect not for very long !
Because when someone persists for weeks with something that is usually the first thing they mention. I.e. “I tried this product for 3 months and”.
Thankfully, I did not come across any user review which mentioned serious adverse reaction to using bee venom cream. This confirms my impression that this product is largely safe to use on the skin.
My final verdict
In my opinion bee venom does have beneficial impact on skin health.
This has been proven beyond any doubt. The question is, how can we deliver this benefit to the skin?
Firstly it starts with expertly and humanely harvesting the bee venom; with minimal harm to the bees.
Secondly, the manufacturing process needs to preserve the make-up of the venom. Because if you start with poor bee venom, you will end up with poor bee venom cream.
Finally, the formulation needs to be able to cross the skin and reach the deeper layers.
So it boils down to the skill in the harvesting and manufacturing process. This is what separates a quality bee venom cream and a poor one.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
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