We need to talk about bee venom.

bee venom

Beetox versus getting a jab to your frown?

You want to look your best. But, you’re not quite ready for anti-wrinkle injections. You’ve heard about creams workin the same way? Bee venom comes to mind. You ponder. If the claims are true then surely bee venom could be a more natural alternative? 
Bee venom has been around for a while now but, is it a replacement to anti-wrinkle injections? The short answer? Well, no not really, but then again there’s more to this story and it’s worth taking a look.


Why all the fuss about bee venom?

Surely, with all this bee venom about there must be some truth? Sure, celebrities are using it, why even royalty are in favour of a little bee venom. 
Now, I don’t want to be too cynical, but if the charming Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (formerly known as Kate Middleton) is heard to be using bee venom and if the reports are correct and it gave Kate the beautiful glow she wore on her wedding day, then it MUST be good. Right?  
Alas, the bee venom facial may not have given Kate her glow, well at least not single-handedly. But, let’s not allow the truth to get in the way of a good story.


So, if bee venom won’t give you the same result as a visit to a cosmetic doctor, then why bother at all?


If it’s the relaxing appearance that ONLY botulinum toxin type A can give you then perhaps you might want to give bee venom the swerve. But, before we throw the bees out with the beehive, it seems only fair that I at least try a bee venom product on my skin; to be sure
Skin Doctors sent me a jar of their bee venom cream known as, Beetox by Skin Doctors. I used it for six weeks. For the trial, I resisted using other active products like vitamin A and C or any other AHA/BHA formulations, to gain a somewhat holistic view of the product.


From a purely sensorial point of view, I liked Beetox. 

Beetox is a creamily textured serum formulation and felt quite lovely to apply. The inclusion of manuka honey gave the product an organic scent of, well, honey. If this bothers you, then you should probably skip this product altogether. But for me, I enjoyed the hint of a honey scent, so I continued until the end of the product. 
Every day as I applied my Beetox, I pondered what it might be doing for my skin, knowing it was probably not going to make too much of a difference. I wondered why YOU would use this product even though it’s not likely to change the state of your wrinkles or improve the sagging of your skin. 
With all this pondering and wondering, I came to this conclusion:  If you had a very damaged skin in need of a lot of love, then using a serum cream like Beetox would feel amazing and the manuka honey would feel very soothing. But, if like me, you’ve been using active ingredients for quite some time, then you may not see much difference in your skin.

Bee venomHow did bee venom find its way into cosmetics?

The idea or premise behind bee venom is this. If you apply bee venom to your skin every day, you’re getting something similar to being stung by bees albeit, ever so gently. Unlike the painful memories of childhood being lightly stung by Beetox, feels nothing like a bee sting. Not at all.
Perhaps if my skin had an underlying weakness brought about by a damaged protective barrier, then I may have found the effects more like being stung, because when your skin is damaged almost everything stings. But, for me, it barely rated. 
There are other active ingredients and facial devices much more likely to give my skin the necessary ‘sting’ to boost my anti-ageing enzymes. 
I talk in detail about other ways to boost your youth enzymes in these articles:  
6 Daily essentials for great skin at any age.
5 Cosmeceutical skincare brands giving your skin a workout. 
Vitamin A for your skin – Activate your youth enzymes!


But why is the ‘bee sting effect’ helping?

When a product like Beetox stimulates inflammation, the wound healing growth factors of your dermis take action, and whenever there’s activation of wound healing, there will be collagen synthesis. However, while this is true, I’m doubtful there is enough bee venom present in the product to create an adequate ‘wound healing response’ to stimulate new collagen. 


And why Manuka Honey?

There are reports that Manuka honey can assist in the stimulation of collagen; it also has antioxidant properties and is antibacterial. And of course, it smells delicious, and I found it very soothing. But is it enough to make a significant change in your skin? The makers of Beetox suggest Manuka honey contains enzymes that stimulate cell renewal. Even so, Skin Doctors does not provide any supporting evidence to back this up. So, I went looking and found this researchwhich suggests there is some science to back up the use of Manuka honey for cell renewal and wound healing in the skin.
So there is merit, but the quantity, formulation and delivery will play a significant role in the effectiveness of Beetox or any other bee venom skincare product. 


Will bee venom work?

Products like Beetox containing Bee venom would only be beneficial if used in conjunction with other treatments. For example, if you were to embark on a series of lactic, pyruvic or mandelic acid peels then perhaps bee venom infused into the skin via a mask treatment may be beneficial.  The action of the chemical peel would allow greater penetration of the bee venom into the dermis, where wound healing can be activated.
But, if you decide to use a bee venom product like Beetox as your only answer to reducing fine lines and wrinkles, although the surface of your skin may improve, you will ultimately be disappointed. 
On the other hand, if you have youthful skin with no signs of visible damage? Then committing to a lifetime of use may help, although the inclusion of other active ingredients like Niacinamide, Retinol or Vitamin C in your beauty regimen will make a much more significant impact and a positive difference in the longevity of your skin.


Would I use Beetox again?

I enjoyed using this product, but would I rely on it to treat lines and wrinkles?  From this perspective, I saw no change in my skin.
Perhaps I’d use it as an adjunct to other more potent and scientifically proven formulas as it felt nice and I liked the soothing properties of the product (despite the fact I am supposedly being stung). But, as a stand-alone product? Don’t hang all your hopes on bee venom as a quick fix. 
My trial was for a short six-week trial and as I’ve already mentioned, a leap of faith and lifelong commitment may bring you results.  


Quickly refresh your appearance?

If you can’t commit to a lifetime, then something a little more ‘instant’ like anti-wrinkle injections will be a far more effective and a relatively safe way of refreshing your appearance and relaxing your brow.  But of course, just as bee venom will not significantly relax a contracted muscle (the cause of dynamic wrinkles), nor will anti-wrinkle injections resolve the harshness of a dry, dehydrated or sun-damaged skin. You’ll need exceptionally good skincare for that. 


Finally, what about the bees?

Most companies will advise you that no bee comes to any harm in the getting of bee venom. Despite this assurance, I’d still prefer to find other ways to stimulate my collagen. But it’s a personal thing, I guess.


And now you?

Are you a fan of bee venom or manuka honey? If you have a story or something to add why not scroll down and leave a comment. 
See you next time,

The Beauty Issue