Beeswax is an incredible natural substance that has been used in skincare for thousands of years. It’s a highly unique product of honeybees that is packed full of skin-nourishing compounds.
There are multiple ways to add beeswax to your skincare routine, but it’s especially valuable for dry and/or mature skin types. It softens skin, locks in moisture, and even helps to fight signs of aging.
Read on to learn more about how this outstanding skincare ingredient is made, plus the top skin benefits of beeswax.
What is Beeswax? A Sweet Skincare Ingredient
Beeswax is a substance secreted by worker honeybees to build their honeycombs. It gives structure to the hive and creates pockets for the bees to store honey and pollen in as well as a place for the queen to lay her eggs.
Production does take a lot of work with the bees needing to eat about 6 lbs. of honey to create just 1 lb. of beeswax!
Fun Fact: The hexagonal shape of honeycombs allows for the maximum amount of storage using the least amount of wax.
The composition of beeswax is mainly fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and esters. This makes it hard and breakable when cold but softer and pliable when handled. It also has a relatively low melting point of around 144-149°F.
In its raw state, beeswax is packed full of close to 300 different natural compounds, which all contribute to its many benefits. The exact composition and coloring of the wax will vary, however, based on location, available flowers, and the age of the bees.
This is something else that makes beeswax quite unique!
Beeswax: A Rich History of Skin Benefits & More
Humans and bees have had a special relationship for thousands of years. We rely on them to pollinate multiple types of food crops and benefit from the honey, beeswax, royal jelly, etc. that honeybees produce.
Beeswax, in particular, has been a staple in skincare for likely as long as humans have known about it. It doesn’t spoil or go rancid, which would have given it an incredible “shelf life” back before preservatives as we know them were invented.
Beeswax has been a common ingredient in cosmetic products, lotions, ointments, and anti-aging formulas, but its traditional uses don’t end there.
You may recognize one of its other most notable uses— beeswax candles. They burn clean and give off a subtle, warm fragrance when made with unrefined wax. Beeswax candles are also thought to have air-purifying properties and give off little to no smoke.
Interestingly, another use for beeswax in times past (and present) was as a coating to protect cheeses or certain fruits from bacteria, insects, etc.
There’s even evidence that beeswax was used in one of the earliest known dental fillings about 6500 years ago!
Top Skin Benefits of Beeswax in Modern Skincare
Naturally Moisturizes & Softens Skin
Beeswax is an excellent ingredient for dry skin because of its moisturizing properties. It acts as an emollient, which means it softens skin and works to restore your skin’s natural lipid layer, and also helps draw and bind water to your skin.
However, where beeswax really shines is as an occlusive ingredient.
Occlusives essentially lock moisture into your skin by forming a barrier that slows or stops evaporation. This is critical for preventing something known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which can cause your skin to dry out quickly, even after being hydrated.
Some ingredients are so occlusive that they end up clogging your skin, but beeswax is different in that it allows your skin to “breathe”. It works equally well in hard lotion bars, thick balms, and smooth lotions or creams.
Repairs Cracked or Damaged Skin
The protective barrier that beeswax forms on top of your skin is perfect for helping cracked or damaged skin to heal. Not only does it keep moisture from getting out— and dry skin can be a huge roadblock to the repair process— it also prevents irritants from getting in.
In fact, beeswax has been used for wound healing for centuries, including in Chinese medicine.
Modern studies have confirmed that it can specifically speed the healing of burn wounds when applied in a mixture with other ingredients like honey or olive oil. It appears to work by stimulating skin cell and tissue renewal.
As a bonus on top of its moisturizing and skin-renewing properties, beeswax also has antimicrobial activity that may protect wounds from infection.
Of course, you don’t necessarily want to apply beeswax to an open wound, but you can use it as a balm, ointment, or cream for cracked heels and hands or extremely dry patches of skin.
Protects Skin from Environmental Stressors
Another of the top skin benefits of beeswax is its ability to protect your skin from environmental toxins and other stressors. Yet again, this comes from its action as an occlusive and more specifically from the breathable barrier it provides for your skin.
This particular aspect of beeswax is not to be overlooked because external stressors are a big contributor to premature skin aging.
Your skin is constantly being bombarded with toxic chemicals, pollutants, radiation, etc. When they come in contact with your skin, these stressors generate free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and tissues.
This specific type of damage is detrimental to your skin and makes it look prematurely old.
And while you can combat free radical damage with antioxidant ingredients like astaxanthin or bakuchiol, it’s also critical to protect your skin with a quality ingredient like beeswax to stop it before it happens.
Soothing for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you’re probably used to the frustration of trying to find products that do what you want them to without making your skin irritated.
The good news is that beeswax is one ingredient you can look for that is gentle and anti-allergenic. Not only is it unlikely to make your skin react, it can also be beneficial for calming and managing skin sensitivity.
As a case in point, one study found that a natural skincare regimen, which included beeswax as a key ingredient, was highly effective at managing clinically diagnosed sensitive skin. In fact, the natural regimen outperformed a dermatologist-recommended regimen that used synthetic ingredients.
So if you regularly struggle with sensitivity, it might be time to ditch synthetic products and look for one that features beeswax.
Helps Calm Skin Conditions (Including Eczema)
There are several skin benefits of beeswax for conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
It has moisturizing and protective properties, of course, that keep skin hydrated and facilitate the healing process. As we just went over, it also helps to soothe sensitive or irritated skin, which can bring major relief for certain types of eczema and dermatitis.
In addition to these outstanding properties, beeswax is frequently used to calm skin inflammation— a major characteristic of skin disorders.
However, it is important to note that beeswax is not typically used on its own to soothe a skin condition. Instead, you would want to use it as an ointment or cream that is formulated using other natural ingredients.
Research has also shown that a mixture of beeswax, honey, and olive oil can be used to ease dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema. These ingredients even showed activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans, two microorganisms that commonly cause skin conditions.
May Benefit Acne-Prone Skin
A thick ingredient like beeswax may not seem like it would be an acne fighter, but it does have several benefits for this common skin condition.
To start with, beeswax has antimicrobial and inflammation-calming properties as we’ve already discussed. Inflammation and bacterial overgrowth are two hallmarks of acne, so this already gives beeswax a lot of potential for calming breakouts.
In addition, beeswax allows your skin to breathe and has a comedogenic rating of 0-2, which means it’s unlikely to clog pores. It’s also rich in vitamin A— a nutrient commonly used in topical acne treatments.
All of this means that beeswax can be a great ingredient for acne-prone skin, especially for those with dry skin types.
Still, you may not want to apply it heavily to your face (as in a lotion bar, for example). If you find that even small amounts contribute to breakouts, save it for a body or hand lotion.
Natural Thickener & Petroleum Alternative
One of the most traditional skin benefits of beeswax is its natural ability to thicken skincare products.
It’s frequently combined with liquid oils, like rosehip seed oil, and sometimes with butters, like shea butter, to create an end product that is creamy and smooth. Using a different ratio, it can also be used to make harder products like lip balm.
Because of its thickening and skin-soothing properties, beeswax is an excellent natural alternative to petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly)— a byproduct of oil refining used in numerous skincare and cosmetics products.
Petrolatum can be contaminated with carcinogenic compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can also cause skin irritation. You’ll be doing your skin a huge favor by avoiding it and opting for something natural (like beeswax) instead.
Rich in Anti-Aging Vitamin A
Beeswax is a rich mixture of various compounds and nutrients, but perhaps most notable is its vitamin A content.
Vitamin A is a nutrient that does a lot for your skin. It stimulates collagen production and skin cell turnover, which diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Vitamin A also helps protect your skin from UV radiation— one of the biggest causes of premature skin aging.
In conventional skincare products, you’ll often find vitamin A in the synthetic or animal-based form of retinol.
Retinol and other retinoids can be effective, but they frequently come with side effects like dryness, redness, and irritation. Beeswax isn’t quite as powerful, but it has the huge bonus of moisturizing and calming your skin while it regenerates and refreshes it.
May Help Fade Scars & Stretch Marks
Stretch marks and other types of scars form when the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) gets torn. Because the dermis can’t regenerate as well as the top layer of your skin (the epidermis), you end up with permanent marks.
Unfortunately, this means that scars and stretch marks can be challenging to treat, and they may never fade entirely.
However, skincare ingredients that are rich in fatty acids and vitamin A (which beeswax is) are some of the best options you have for addressing stretch marks/scars. The fatty acids moisturize and provide elasticity to skin, while the vitamin A helps skin to regenerate and repair itself.
But there is one important note here: It’s easier to prevent stretch marks from forming or tackle them right after they appear than it is to fade older marks and scars.
If you want to give it a go, rub a cream or body butter made with beeswax and other nourishing oils into your stretch marks or scars daily.
What to Look for in Beeswax & Beeswax Products
There are two main ways you can get all the skin benefits of beeswax: Use it yourself in DIY skincare or look for skincare products that feature beeswax.
If you want to go with the first option, make sure you source your beeswax carefully. It can be unrefined, which means it retains its yellow color and pleasant scent, or refined. The refining process can be done with or without chemicals and usually results in an end product that is white and scentless.
Both unrefined and non-chemically refined beeswax are suitable for your skin, but the unrefined version will have more of its valuable compounds left intact.
If you prefer to buy skincare products, look for creams, ointments, lotions, etc. that use only beeswax and other 100% natural ingredients. Ideally, choose a USDA Certified Organic product to ensure that no harmful chemicals were used while growing/sourcing the ingredients or during the manufacturing process.
Intensely Rejuvenate Skin with Beeswax
If you struggle with dry, rough, and/or cracked skin on your hands (or elbows, knees, heels, etc.), look into the Dry Skin Rejuvenator+ balm from Purity Woods.
This intensive hand recovery balm is packed full of nature’s ultimate botanicals that deeply rejuvenate dry skin. It contains beeswax (of course) and other nourishers like rosehip seed oil, shea butter, cacao seed butter, and sunflower oil— nothing unpronounceable and zero toxins.
To ensure the highest quality and effectiveness for your skin, every ingredient in the Dry Skin Rejuvenator+ is USDA Certified Organic, which means it’s formulated to the highest standards.
Learn more about the Dry Skin Rejuvenator+ here, and help your skin recover its natural glow with the power of beeswax!