When I was little, like 8 or so, I got stung by a bee (and thankfully wasn’t allergic). I remember screaming, then tears. Then anger. How dare that bee.
I said to my dad, “I hate bees. Why do there even have to be bees? What good are they?”
My father patiently explained pollination, honey, and all the good things that come from bees.
I didn’t buy it.
At least not at the time.
Now I do. As a gardener, herb grower, and aspiring orchardist, I’ve really come to appreciate how vital bees are to the environment and my gardening efforts. Without the hard work of pollinating bees, we’d have a hard time having fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Plus, I’ve really come to appreciate all of the lovely things that bees and beekeepers provide us with. Like honey.
Besides honey, bees give us wax, propolis, royal jelly, and venom. In case you’re wondering what could be good about bee venom, it‘s being investigated for treatment of a variety of medical conditions including pain, some autoimmune and skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.
Honey and bees wax have a ton of uses and bee propolis and royal jelly are popular supplements for health, boosting your immune system, and promoting longevity. The ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Egyptians used bee products as medicine for a variety of ailments.
The Egyptians, being the beauty pioneers that they were, realized that many bee products were also effective for beauty. Cleopatra loved a good milk and honey face mask, or a milk, honey, and rose petal bath. She also was a fan of using propolis to keep her skin smooth and youthful.
What is propolis?
Bee propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce from tree sap. When they combine the sap with their own discharges and beeswax, they create a sticky, greenish-brown product used as a coating to build their hives. Sometimes it’s called bee glue.
It was used by the ancient Greeks to heal wounds, treat abscesses, and some tumors. It turned out to be a good choice because propolis is anti-bacterial and anti -inflammatory.
The ancient Egyptians used propolis in their complicated embalming process.
Since it was considered essential for preservation as well as an almost magical ingredient, Cleopatra (rightly) used it to keep her face looking good too.
Scientifically, bee propolis is full of phenolic compounds. These compounds are responsible for propolis’ anti-microbial actions.
Propolis acts as an anti-oxidant. It provides some UV protection (you still need sunscreen), and has restorative qualities to boot.1
Studies have shown propolis encourages type I and III collagen which are the ones that give your face structure and firmness. 1
What’s Royal Jelly?
Simply put, royal jelly is the food that the queen bee eats. It’s a thick white substance that’s super nourishing and loaded with things that promote longevity like antioxidants. The average worker bee lives between 7-50 weeks, depending on the season. The average lifespan for a queen bee is 3-7 years.
Royal jelly is a popular supplement for health and longevity. Especially in Asia, where it comes in little vials that you drink.
It turns out that royal jelly is excellent for your skin, and there’s lots of research to back it up.
According to a report by Pavel et al.
Royal jelly has a broad spectrum of biological activities which determine the effect of royal jelly on the skin, namely, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-allergic, antioxidant, toning, moisturizing, and anti aging.2
There are a lot of peptides in royal jelly. Peptides are protein fragments that can penetrate deep into your skin and signal it to produce collagen and elastin. So royal jelly encourages collagen production and helps to keep your skin firm.
Royal jelly stimulates metabolism in tissue which helps to speed regeneration.
Royal jelly helps to retain water in the outer skin layers which makes your skin more elastic and better moisturized. 1
It all works together
Propolis and royal jelly are excellent skin care ingredients. They work even better when they’re combined with other active and nourishing ingredients like peptides, super-hydrating hyaluronic acid, panthenol (Vitamin B5) which helps fortify the skin barrier and give you smoother skin, CoQ10, a strong antioxidant that encourages firmer and more resilient skin and free radical fighting, adaptogenic herbs like green tea, gotu kola, dandelion, Japanese honeysuckle.
Wonder where you can find such an amazing skin care product?
Search no more. AlpenGlo Firming Face and Neck cream is here. Use it generously on your face and neck. And around your eyes. It’s an excellent eye cream.
I put it on the backs of my hands too. It will gently stimulates your skin to be more firm, bouncier, and moist. It really does make you glow.
I’m now older (much) than my father was when he tried to help me understand the importance of bees. I even like them, and I really appreciate all they do for us, for the environment, and for our skin.
Thank you, bees.
- Pavel C.I., Mărghitaş L.A., Bobiş O., Dezmirean D.S., Şapcaliu A., Radoi I., Mădaş M.N. Biological activities of royal jelly—Review. Sci. Pap. Anim. Sci. Biotechnol. 2011;44:108–118. [Google Scholar]