Scientific name: Cera alba
Source: Our own hives in Victoria and South Australia.
It is only natural that we wish to introduce Beeswax first. Coming from a family of third-generation beekeepers, and with two small children myself, this is how my skincare journey began. In 2015 our first son, Cooper, was born. As a bub, Cooper had very sensitive skin and suffered from mild eczema. After an unsuccessful search for natural, toxin-free products to soothe, nourish and protect his skin, I decided to make my own. The product I had been searching for was right before my eyes all along, and formed the base of all our balms!
Beeswax is a natural emollient and humectant, meaning that it provides moisture to the skin and acting as a protective barrier against irritants. A study of several different skincare preparations compared their benefits to dental laboratory technicians, who frequently come into contact with skin irritants at work. All 192 technicians tried all four creams, one of which contained beeswax. They all used a different one every month but did not know the ingredients in order to prevent a placebo effect, where you only think it works. When asked about their satisfaction with each product, 98% described the cream containing beeswax as “good” or “very good”, while 58-77% gave this same rating for the other creams. A dermatologist also measured the level of water loss, redness, cracks and scaling on each technician’s hands, and found that beeswax generally gave the greatest improvements.
Bee Fact – The oldest known notebooks used beeswax sheets as pages, with a stylus that would press in letters as a “pen”. Some can still be read after many centuries!
Another study looked at the effects of a mixture containing honey, olive oil and beeswax on 21 patients with dermatitis and 18 with psoriasis, a condition where the skin cells grow too much. Eight of ten patients with dermatitis, and five of eight with psoriasis, enjoyed significant improvement with the natural mixture. In comparison, half of both patient groups using a pharmaceutical cream showed no worsening when their dosage was reduced. Beeswax may also have antibacterial and antifungal effects against some common disease-causing microbes that affect humans. These can be made more effective when it is prepared with honey and olive oil.
The term “mind your own beeswax” came from the more formal “mind your own business”, as the original may come across as too harsh. While the phrase first appeared in the 1930s, there are many myths about its origin. One claims that it came from American colonial women making wax candles, who would be told to “mind their own beeswax” if their minds wandered. Others circulating the internet state that beeswax was used as a cosmetic to cover up smallpox scars or other blemishes, which you’d notice if you got too close to someone’s face!
Internet legends aside, research and the personal experiences of families such as ours are showing beeswax to be a beautiful addition to natural skincare products. However, please consult your healthcare practitioner first if you have any concerns regarding allergies, skin conditions or interactions. If you would like to purchase one of our products that contain beeswax, click on the links below:
Written by: Tanya Stanley & Alexandra Preston - Naturopath - BHSc (Nat)