Beeswax in skincare

From cosmetics to candles, beeswax is everywhere. Whether applied to the skin or applied to a formula, it works particularly well. Although its endless usefulness has not yet been fully discovered by scientific research, we already know that beeswax is a good softener and emulsion stabilizer. More research will tell us if there are other benefits to this common ingredient.

Beeswax is a wax ester with a film-forming sealing effect (Skin Therapy Letters). It is also a gel, film-former, plasticizer and barrier agent (Koster Keunen). At its core, it's a natural ingredient that either gives the formula just the right consistency or covers the skin's surface like petroleum jelly to reduce transdermal water loss (TEWL)

Beeswax has a slight antioxidant effect, mostly caused by certain trace components or propolis it contains. But its main use is still to form a thin, non-allergenic protective barrier on the skin (NC State University).

Studies have shown that beeswax can be used to treat psoriasis and eczema. In some studies involving participants with both conditions, they used a mixture of beeswax, honey, and olive oil and found that it significantly reduced both symptoms (Bastyr Center).The ethoxy derivative of beeswax, namely polyethylene glycol sorbitol beesinate, is allowed to be used in cosmetic formulations at concentrations up to 11%. These ingredients are found to be non-carcinogenic (but increase the activity of carcinogens), irritating or increase skin sensitivity. The use of sorbitol itself is not toxic.

Another mixture of beeswax, honey and olive oil was found to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans on human skin (Archives of Medical Research).

Other moisturizers containing beeswax have been found to be more effective in protecting dental laboratory technicians against contact dermatitis than protective creams (Journal of the German Society of Dermatology).

Beeswax has multiple effects in the formulation. When it is mixed with other ingredients, it protects the active ingredient and achieves a slow-release effect (NC State University). When it is saponified by borax, it can help emulsify to form a silky and stable mixture. In creams, it improves water retention.

When applied to lipstick, beeswax not only retains water, but also creates shine, locks color, and gives lipstick the right consistency.

The Cosmetic Raw Material Reporting (CIR) Association has declared that beeswax is safe for use in cosmetics (International Journal of Toxicology). However, beeswax can provide protection and prolonged release to other ingredients, so on the one hand it is good for beneficial ingredients, but on the other hand, it can have undesirable consequences when combined with potentially harmful ingredients.

Beeswax is considered a safe food additive in human food. It has no effect on the human digestive system. In addition, it can provide sustained release for drugs, so it has great potential in pharmaceutical applications (NC State University).

Beeswax is a safe and effective film-forming moisturizing ingredient. It is a softener on the skin and a stabilizer in the formulation that can effectively isolate ingredients. When mixed with olive oil or honey, beeswax shows therapeutic effect on eczema and psoriasis patients and has certain bacteriostatic properties. It is considered safe for both topical and oral use. Beeswax has been used for a long time in the treatment of minor discomforts, and although more research is ongoing, its addition to products is always good.

Unfortunately, there has been less and less research on bees in recent years, and studies point to a specific insecticide, neonicotinoid, because it causes colony collapse (Reuters). We can only hope that we can find a way to stop the colony from collapsing so that this lovely creature and their hard work will not be in vain.

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