If you are someone who suffers with Psoriasis or Eczema, finding a skincare product that can soothe your irritated, raw, delicate skin can seem like an almost impossible job. It may even be the case that prescribed cream from the doctors has little to no impact on your skin or in some cases, could make your condition worse. Could Propolis be the way forward to help relieve these skin conditions?
In this blog, we will explore in depth -
What Is Propolis?
Propolis, which is a resin-like substance made from Honey Bees, is made when the bee collects residue such as pollen from plants. It is then digested and mixed with saliva to create the complex structure, which is Propolis, also known as “Bee Glue”. The bees ingeniously use propolis to build up their hives in order to protect them from any possible intruders such as snakes, mice or lizards. The propolis is also used to seal cracks and smooth out internal walls to prevent wind and rain from damaging the hive.
Using ingredients produced by bees in the medical industry has been around for hundreds of years. Dating back to the Ancient Egyptians who would use the Bee Glue to embalm cadavers. After this time, the Greeks and Romans used propolis as an antiseptic mouthwash. In the present day, propolis is used as a natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments such as respiratory infections and Gingivitis. Propolis is also added to creams as its antiseptic and antibiotic properties can help to heal wounds, acne, and other problematic skin conditions.
One of the most well-known skin conditions is Psoriasis. Often occurring on parts of the body that bend (elbows and knees) as well as in the scalp, under fingernails and even on the soles of your feet. Having Psoriasis can mean that your skin is constantly itchy and red. This skin condition presents itself as thick red patches that are dry and sometimes scaly.
It is believed that 2% of the UK population has Psoriasis and is something that affects women and men alike. Usually, people will start developing this condition between the age of 15 to 35, however, you can get it at other ages too. The severity of Psoriasis can differ from person to person as some people will only experience it in a mild form whereas, for others it may affect their daily lives. Flare ups on the skin can be caused by mental factors such as stress or physical factors like infection, sunburn and scratches.
Treatments For Psoriasis
Traditional treatment to alleviate Psoriasis usually comes in three different forms; Topical, Phototherapy & Systemic.
Topical treatments are creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. This is usually the first port of call for someone who is suffering with it on a mild level.
Phototherapy uses a variety of artificial light to treat the condition and, depending on the severity of your condition, that will determine the type of light treatment needed.
Systemic treatments are taken in the form of a tablet or an injection in order to pass directly through the body. Usually, this will be offered as a treatment method for someone who suffers with severe Psoriasis.
Eczema can often be confused by Psoriasis however, they are both very different conditions. Unlike Psoriasis, Eczema is the name given to a group of 7 conditions, all of which cause the skin to become red, itchy, inflamed and sore. The different types of condition in this group are -
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Contact Dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic Eczema
- Hand Eczema
- Nummular Eczema
- Stasis Dermatitis
Those who suffer with Eczema may have multiple types of the condition on their skin. Each form has its own range of triggers and different treatment methods.
Occurring usually in early childhood, it is estimated that 1 in 5 children are affected by this condition. Although most commonly developed during childhood, individuals may still develop a form of this in later life. Overall in the UK, it is predicted that over 20% of the population suffer from a type of eczema.
Treatments For Eczema
The most common form of this condition is Atopic Eczema and treatments can differ depending on the severity and type of condition. However, most of the conditions are treated with Emollients and Topical Corticosteroids. The moisturisers can be applied daily to prevent dryness and relieve itching. Whereas creams and ointment that are applied to the skin can reduce swelling and redness that has been caused due to flare ups.
Natural Vs Synthetic
If you have checked out some of our previous blog posts, you may have seen the one explaining why "Switching to Natural Skincare is good for your Skin & the Environment too."
For someone who suffers with a skin condition, going from synthetic to natural skincare can be the difference between dry & irritated skin and calm & hydrated skin. Here are a few reasons why natural skincare is more beneficial than synthetic skincare.
- Natural products do not contain parabens, petrochemicals, SLS - Products that contain natural ingredients are free from harsh chemicals and therefore are less likely to be toxic to our skin, preventing serious flare ups.
- Nutrients are found in natural skincare that our bodies are unable to produce - The nutrients and fatty acids that are found in the ingredients of natural skincare are beneficial for the protection and hydration of our skin. Many of these nutrients are not produced by our body and therefore, we can gain them through using natural skincare.
- Better for the environment - As Synthetic skin care sometimes contains petrochemicals, they can have a negative effect on the environment due to their ability to pollute our air. The petrochemicals can also get into the waterways when we wash the product off, which will then travel into the sea, potentially causing harm to marine life. In the long run this would be adding to the detrimental effects of global warming.
Propolis In Skincare
Propolis has been a popular ingredient in Korean beauty for many years and can be found in toners and moisturisers. Propolis is added to the mixture of different skincare products as it is a powerful natural ingredient which provides several benefits for our skin. In its purest form, propolis is a sticky resinous substance which is then melted down to give us a propolis based liquid. When the propolis is in this state, it can be added into the mix of skincare products.
Propolis contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties that can speed up the skin's natural healing process. This can be especially helpful for people who suffer from acne and problematic skin conditions as it can reduce swelling and inflammation of the area. Using products that contain propolis on your skin can help to fight off the type of bacteria which causes acne to form.
Our Soothing Skin Cream
If you have read the blog all about our Soothing Skin Cream, you will know that our cream has been specially formulated to soothe dry and inflamed areas of the skin (caused by conditions such as eczema and psoriasis).
Propolis is added to our cream along with a blend of other natural ingredients like Cocoa Butter, Hemp Seed oil & Sweet Almond oil. All of which contribute to a powerful cream that has helped many of our customers who suffer with dry/inflammatory skin conditions. Our cream can also help relieve nappy rash, reduce the appearance and inflammation of cold sores and speed up the healing process of wounds.
Tried and Tested
Over the years, our cream has helped many people soothe and treat a range of different skin issues. Sophie, who works here at Sweet Cecily’s has tried and tested our soothing skin cream. She found that it reduced the inflammation and irritation that she often experiences due to her eczema. Sophie uses the cream on a regular basis around the crease in her arm and the sides of her mouth as this is where she suffers the most. Here is what Sophie had to say about our Soothing Skin Cream -
“Since I was younger I suffered quite badly from eczema and sensitive skin, resulting in using many creams which usually just left me with a bigger and itchier rash. Since I’ve got older it has become more bearable and I don’t seem to get it a lot on my arms anymore, mostly my face, if and when I do.
I came into work one morning and was having a really bad flare up so Dorrie recommended I try out a sample of our Soothing Skin Cream, I did and it really helped me. Long story short I accidentally left it in a friend's bag so decided that was a sign and bought our 120ml jar. As we were, back then, in winter, due to the drop in temperature I reached for the cream almost every day, using it like a moisturiser since my skin had been that dry. 3 months later and hitting Spring, I still use the Soothing Skin Cream just as much as I find that it helps my dryness clear up within a handful of days – if that. I always recommend to anyone that deals with dryness/sensitive skin that you have to make sure you find a product that doesn’t irritate or cause more inflammation on your skin.”
Bees Are More Important Than You May Think
Often seen in the warmer months buzzing around all kinds of plants and flowers, Bees are often undervalued, and many may see them as a scary insect. However, Bees are vital for maintaining biodiversity and the ecological balance of nature. To us humans, honey is usually seen as the most prized substance that is produced by this important creature. However, the humble honeybee produces a wide range of substances that are used in skin care and medicine alike.
Beeswax is produced by the younger bees which are usually between 12 and 20 day old. The bee will collect pollen and mix it in with the comb, then the honey is ingested and excreted through one of eight functional glands which will produce the scale of wax. To make the wax malleable, it is passed down a line of worker bees, who chew and reshape the wax. We use beeswax in all our lip balms as it is able to create a natural protective barrier on the skin, preventing it from harmful bacteria and lock in moisture whilst allowing skin to breathe.
Honey can be found in face serums and creams. Packed full of antioxidants and antibacterial properties, honey is also able to speed up cell regeneration. Additionally, honey can leave the face glowing and feeling nourished.
Honey is more so consumed by us as it has a deliciously sweet taste. You may have honey on toast or in with your porridge. However, it can also help us internally when you have it in a hot cup of water with lemon. This can relieve sore throats caused by a cold.
Our friends over at BeeVital have a range of natural products that contain honey and propolis. Each product is designed as a natural remedy for ailments such as cold & flu, joint pain, respiratory conditions and many more.
The research into propolis continues to be carried out to determine its effects on certain conditions and illnesses.
If you are someone who suffers with Psoriasis and Eczema, propolis may be an option for you. When this powerful natural ingredient is added into a skincare product, it may be able to reduce inflammation and irritation all whilst soothing and moisturising the skin. Everyone is different therefore; it is important to know that not everyone will see an impact from using a propolis cream.
We would recommend that if you suffer badly with a skin condition such as Psoriasis and Eczema, you should conduct a patch test before applying the product to effected areas of skin.