Best Manuka Honey for Acne

Manuka Honey for Acne

Acne ruining your life? Commercial creams may not help you, but manuka honey sure can: learn about 5 manuka honeys that treat acne.

Every time you look in the mirror you are reminded of it: your acne. Often you forget it, except when you are in public or at the mirror. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, and it feels terrible to have it, whether you are a teenager or an adult.

Commercial skin creams contain a lot of chemicals and can sometimes cause problems for you. The best alternative is manuka honey. We take a look at 5 manuka honeys that can help you.

Comparison Table

Below is a comparison table representing the 5 manuka honeys we are reviewing.

ProductUMFCheck on Amazon
Steens Manuka Honey 10check price here
Tahi Manuka Honey12check price here
Manuka Doctor Manuka Honey-check price here
Manukora Manuka Honey 20check price here
Happy Valley Manuka Honey15check price here

Best Manuka Honey for Acne Reviews

1. Steens Manuka Honey – Unpasteurized Honey from New Zealand

Steens Manuka HoneyTraditional acne treatments often prove problematic, expensive, or ineffective. Most of them contain antibiotics and you know excessive use of antibiotics helps bacteria develop resistance, making the treatments ineffective in the long run.

This New Zealand-made manuka honey contains antibacterial properties that make it effective at treating even antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Manuka honey is one of the best alternative acne treatment methods out there.

Honey producers rate the potency of manuka honey using a scale known as Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). For the honey to be considered potent enough to be a treatment for anything, it has to attain a minimum rating of 10 UMF.

The Steens manuka honey has a grading of UMF 10, based on the measurement of the levels of 4 different manuka markers, which include NPA, MGO, and leptosperin.

Most honeys nowadays have lost their true potency and flavor before you purchase them because of the pasteurization and processing they are taken through. The best medicinal honey should be as raw and natural as possible. This Steens manuka is unpasteurized and only minimally processed.

Have you ever heard of bee bread? It occurs naturally in honey: a mix of honey, bee pollen, probiotics and enzymes. The filtering system used to make Steens ensures this superfood remains in Steens honey. Bee pollen and bee bread are both useful for treating acne due to contents such as Vitamin E, riboflavin, folic acid, ascorbic acid, and retinol.

This honey comes with a trace code on its label that should enable you to trace it back to the source: not just the factory, but to the very land it comes from.


-UMF 10

-Unpasteurized, natural honey

-Contains bee bread

-Trace code on label


-Gritty taste and texture

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2. Tahi Manuka Honey – Natural, Raw, Eco-Friendly Honey

Tahi Manuka HoneyManuka honey is graded for potency and effectiveness as a treatment method using the Universal Manuka Factor, simply called UMF. A UMF of 10 is the lowest grading a honey should have for it to be considered therapeutic.

With a  UMF 12+ rating, the Tahi manuka honey is a good buy if you are looking for something that can take care of zits and pimples on your face for a smooth glowing skin.

For the honey to be properly potent and effective, it must be as natural and raw as possible, with minimal or no added components. The Tahi honey contains no added preservatives, sugar, or even water.

Furthermore, the naturalness of honey does not just depend on what you do to it after you have harvested it. What you do when the bees are making it is also critical. What kind of plants do your bees get their nectar from? It all starts with what kind of flowers grow near the beehives.

In the case of Tahi manuka honey, the bees have the freedom to roam in native bush. No pesticides are used on the land. No sugar syrup or chemicals are used in the beehive. The honey is natural and eco-friendly.

Due to its unfiltered, undamaged quality, the honey retains the natural pollens and other contents that are good for treating acne-ravaged skin.

Tahi honey is thick, gooey, aromatic, and tasty. It comes from New Zealand. Hospitals and Vet clinics around the world use it.


-UMF 12

-Raw, natural honey

-Eco-friendly, no pesticides, no chemicals used

-Unfiltered, undamaged honey

-Thick, aromatic, flavorful


-UMF rating could be higher


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3.Manuka Doctor Manuka Honey – Antioxidant, Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Manuka Doctor Manuka Honey This honey does not use the UMF rating. Instead, it uses the TA rating which measures hydrogen peroxide activity. Note, however that hydrogen peroxide is not unique to manuka honey.

Hydrogen peroxide is the component that gives honey its antibacterial quality. The main antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG), and the UMF rating reflects the concentration of MG in the honey.

The Manuka Doctor honey comes from New Zealand and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that are key for treating skin conditions like acne. The honey pot is BPA-free: safe for use.


-BPA-free honey pot

-Antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties


-Does not indicate its UMF rating


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4. Manukora Manuka Honey – MGO and UMF-Certified

Manukora Manuka Honey Manukora manuka honey is brimming with medicinal properties necessary for treating your skin to make it blemish-free.  The honey has a UMF 20+ rating.

Manukora is a licensed member of the UMF Honey Association, an independent organization whose mandate is to verify the quality and purity of manuka honey products.

Like other Manukora products, this particular honey is MGO-certified. It is also UMF-certified. Manukora makes its honey products in a HACCP-certified facility in New Zealand.

Due to Manukora’s traceability system, you can trace the product to its place of origin. The identification system enables you to test results and origin of the product so as to ascertain that the product is authentic.

However, it’s not a cold-pressed honey. It is processed with heat, and that reduces its nutritional value.


-UMF 20+

-MGO and UMF-certified

-Traceability system

-Raw, non-GMO honey


-Processed, not cold-pressed

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5. Happy Valley Manuka Honey – Reliable Rating

Happy Valley Manuka HoneyHappy Valley manuka honey is lab-certified at UMF 15+, which is the methylglyoxal (MGO) equivalent of MGO 510+. The honey originates from the native forests of New Zealand.

To ensure reliability of the UMF rating, each batch of Happy Valley manuka honey is individually tested by an independent laboratory. The UMF Honey Association in New Zealand governs the UMF rating and ensures consumers are protected from misleading honey labels that do not attain UMF manuka honey standards.

Happy Valley honey features a golden brown color with a distinctive manuka flavor.


-UMF 15+

-Reliable rating


-It tastes medicinal


View price on Amazon


What Causes Acne Vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease which is considered the most common skin disorder in the US. It occurs when hair follicles clog with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. It causes blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and even scarring.

Free Radical Oxidation

According to clinical researchers, acne requires the presence of free radicals for it to develop on your skin. Free radicals are molecules of free oxygen which cause issues due to not being paired with electrons.

The free radicals are, due to lack of electron-pairing, therefore unbalanced and must find a way to stabilize. They accomplish this by taking electrons from healthy cells through the process of oxidation.

Bacteria causes acne but that is only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is the oxidation process and how it helps bacteria to flourish.

The free radicals damage the skin’s oils (known as sebum) and this leads to a decrease in available oxygen. Bacteria that cause acne multiply in environments that have low oxygen.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes the oxidizing effect of free radicals. Vitamin E is, therefore, crucial for preventing cellular damage. The skin typically contains high levels of Vitamin E in sebum or the sebum-rich areas, for instance the upper layers of facial skin.

Manuka honey is one of the alternative treatments for fighting acne-causing bacteria. Unlike traditional acne treatments, manuka honey does not contain excess antibiotics.

The excess antibiotics in some of the creams we use to treat our skin actually make our condition worse as the bacteria develop resistance to the antibiotics, which renders the treatment ineffective.

Sebum Oxidation

Sebum is skin oil – note how your skin gets oily on a hot day. Sebum lubricates your skin to protect it from dryness.

Sebum comprises a variety of fatty acids. 12% of sebum is squalene, the substance that causes acne.

Though it’s called “sebum oxidation”, what really oxidizes is the squalene. When squalene oxidizes, it becomes squalene peroxide.

Squalene peroxide is so potent that scientists were able to create acne by introducing squalene peroxide to a rabbit’s ear. They noted a correlation between the amount of acne produced and the squalene peroxide amount they applied.

Squalene peroxide is a highly comedogenic substance. In other words, it blocks skin pores. The oxidation of sebum causes hyperkeratosis, a condition which features overproduction of keratin. Keratin is a tough protein that binds skin together. It is found on the outer layer of our skin.

An excess of keratin causes not just healthy cells to stick together, but dead ones as well. When the dead skin cells glue together, they form giant clusters which lodge in the skin pores.

Squalene peroxide causes a local increase in sebum. Acne patients have a lot of sebum on their faces to begin with, but a localized increased worsens matters. The excess sebum combines with dead skin cells to clog the skin pores.

The clogging of skin pores with sebum and skin cells alters oxygen tension in the skin, which enables bacteria to breed and multiply.

To recap: squalene peroxide does not directly create pimples. It creates the conditions that enable acne-causing bacteria to flourish. Sebum oxidation causes hyperkeratosis, which causes blocked pores, and that creates the fertile ground for bacteria to breed, leading to acne.

The Role of Vitamin E

The body is aware that oxidization of squalene is undesirable. To protect against this eventuality, the body uses antioxidants which prevent oxidative damage. The main antioxidant your skin uses for this job is Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is the most preferred antioxidant. It is fat soluble – enabling it to work well in sebum, a substance made up of fatty acids.

The body increases the amount of Vitamin E it sends to the skin in correlation with the increase of sebum production. If you have clear skin, it means this natural system is working well, that Vitamin E is preventing squalene oxidation.

Acne patients lack enough vitamin E. It means their body produces more squalene than the amount of antioxidants available.


What Causes Overproduction of Squalene?

  1. Overproduction of Sebum

When your body produces excessive amounts of sebum, it means that you also need more antioxidants to protect your skin. Unfortunately, the body might not have enough antioxidants. This is why, when you notice that your skin has become oilier, you should compensate by changing your diet.

Oily skin typically occurs due to hormones such a testosterone and DHT. Insulin and IGF-1 also cause oily skin. They stimulate receptors in the skin’s sebaceous glands, causing the glands to create more sebum.

  1. Lack of Antioxidants in Diet

Having insufficient antioxidants in the body means you don’t have enough to protect your skin. You can solve this problem by eating antioxidant-rich foods such as green vegetables, herbs, berries, spices, and dark chocolate.

  1. Oxidative Stress in the Rest of the Body

Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals in the body. When antioxidant levels are low, oxidative stress results.

Diet and lifestyle – for instance, smoking – affects the formation of free radicals. Other factors that can generate free radicals include air pollution, pesticides in fruits, deodorants, and excessive sugar consumption.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to manuka honey, the ultimate rating method is, of course, to look at the UMF rating. In that case, the best honey in this list is the Manukora manuka honey, with the runner’s up being Happy Valley manuka honey.

Both honeys have a high UMF rating. Manukora has the exceptionally high UMF 20+, which is equal to MGO 830, and Happy Valley’s UMF 15+ is the equivalent of MGO 510+.

In addition to its high UMF rating, Manukora is also traceable, and is a raw, non-GMO honey. It is a member of the UMF Honey Association.

We picked manukora – what’s your pick?


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Nancy is a part time floriculturist and writer. She has over 12 years experience in the field, and has developed multiple award winning carnations. Her favorite flower is the rare Snowdonia Hawkweed, the rediscovering of which inspired her passion for floriculture. When she is not working in the lab, Nancy is actively engaged in saving the bee population. She constantly underscores the importance of bees to all aspects of agriculture, and has taken to increasing bee protection awareness efforts in her state. Nancy is big on organic food. She has invested in a community farming program that looks to increase efforts towards organic farming in her suburban locale.


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