Earth’s most hardworking insect, the bee, is mainly known for providing honey. But that is not the only substance it produces. The second most significant product we acquire from bees is beeswax. It is a natural secretion from the wax gland that provides many uses and benefits for daily life. In this read, we look at some of these beeswax benefits backed up by science. Take a look.
What Is Beeswax?
It is a crucial material used by bees to build the beehive. But, in addition, the bees create it to store food and house the young bee larvae. So, worker bees make beeswax by turning their honey stores and nectar into compounds (7).
In simple terms, beeswax refers to a product made from the honeycomb of the honeybee and other bees. The pollen oils are mixed into the white honeycomb wax, making it obtain a yellow or brown color.
Uses Of Beeswax
Beeswax benefits honeybees and their hives in several ways, as discussed above. But the good news is that beeswax has also been found to have several benefits for humans. Researchers have discovered that beeswax has many therapeutic properties and can be used to make different products. Some of these include:
Beeswax is being used as an alternative coating to different types of wax for products such as fruits, candies, coffee beans and nuts. It is an excellent alternative because it is reusable, unlike plastic wrap (7).
It is, therefore, highly embraced by most people switching to sustainable lifestyles. You can easily find these beeswax covers at your nearest grocery store.
Candle making happens to be the most known use of beeswax. It is used to make natural candles, thanks to its natural scent that makes it perfect for pleasant-smelling candles.
But besides the pleasant smell, the beeswax candle benefits include burning longer and dripping less. You will mostly find these candles being sold as aromatherapy, beeswax essential oil, or scented beeswax candles.
Beeswax is also a staple ingredient in furniture, shoe and leather polish products (7).
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Skin Care Products
Beeswax is widely used in the dermatological, cosmetics and makeup industries. Some of the beeswax benefits for the skin include increased softness and hydration, as well as the product’s antibiotic properties (7).
A 2020 study acknowledged beeswax could protect the skin from pathogenic microorganisms due to its antiseptic properties contributed by 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, squalene, and flavonoids (chrysin) (1). These properties allow the product to form a protective barrier against many external factors that can damage the skin (1).
Similarly, beeswax is added to creams, liniments, and ointments used to treat various skin conditions. These conditions include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and diaper dermatitis caused by Candida albicans (1). It is mainly used as an emulsifying agent in these products (1).
Beeswax is also used to make skin care products because it contains β-carotene, an invaluable source of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps in enhancing your skin by delaying collagen degradation and stimulating cell division in the epidermis.
As a result, you experience faster skin regeneration after damage due to improved wound healing (1). Additionally, research shows that vitamin A reduces wrinkles, protects your skin against UV radiation, and stimulates skin cell turnover (3).
In cosmetics, the product is used as a stiffener, further enhancing the elasticity, plasticity and skin adhesiveness (1). Beeswax is also used to make lotions, creams, soaps, and lipstick. Research shows the natural product is used as a base for lipsticks, creams, and sticks. That is due to its lubricating and softening properties that reduce transepidermal water loss from the skin (1).
Lastly, evidence shows that beeswax is an excellent product in cosmetics due to its very low irritant and comedogenic effects. As a result, it is used in cosmetics and makeup as an emollient, thickener, and emulsifier (1).
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Therapeutic Benefits Of Beeswax
This natural product has been used since ancient times for its therapeutic benefits. The therapeutic properties stem primarily from the antimicrobial properties of beeswax. A 2017 review stated that a beeswax crude extract has shown inhibitory effects against Salmonella enterica, S. aureus, C. Albicans and Aspergillus niger (6).
Additionally, the study acknowledged that the extract had effects against microscopic fungi and pathogenic bacteria for ethanol and methanol extracts (6). However, it would be best to consult a professional before using beeswax for these benefits.
Beeswax is an effective Ayurvedic remedy for bruises, inflammation, cracked heels, and burns (6). It also makes ointments that help with wounds, burns, and joint pain. These benefits date back to traditional Chinese medicine and have been reported by the Greek-Roman physician Galen and in the old Chinese Shen Nong Book of Herbs (6).
Using In Surgery
Beeswax is also used to make bone wax along with a softening agent. Bone wax refers to a material used to control bleeding from bone surfaces by acting as a mechanical barrier to seal the wound (6).
Of course, bone will bleed like any other living tissue when cut or fractured. So, hemostasis is required to increase visibility by creating a fine balance between clotting and bleeding during surgery. Bone wax is used as a hemostatic agent to seal these cuts and fractures and control the bleeding (6).
Using Beeswax For Hair Growth
A 2016 study discovered that another bee-made material called propolis could help with hair growth in combination with Eruca sativa seed oil (4). Propolis is a resin-like substance that bees make using beeswax and their own secretions and has been shown to help with some dermatological disorders, hence its high content in hair and skin products used to repair and regenerate damaged tissues (4).
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Additional Beeswax Benefits
The above benefits are some of the science-backed benefits of using beeswax. However, some benefits are associated with beeswax, but they lack sufficient evidence. Some of these include:
Treatment Of Hemorrhoids
Early research suggested that applying a mixture of beeswax, olive oil and honey to the affected region could help with hemorrhoid treatment (2). The running theory was that it could reduce pain, itching, and bleeding if the mixture was applied for 12 hours (2). Unfortunately, more research is needed to back up this theory.
Treatment Of Inflammation And Oral Mucositis
Again, early studies suggested applying a mixture of beeswax, honey, and olive oil-propolis extract, to treat mouth sores caused by cancer treatment (2). The theory was that it would speed up the recovery time in individuals with severe ulcers but not so much in those with moderate ulcers.
However, current evidence shows that using honey only may work better than this mixture (2). It goes to show the many health benefits of honey. But talk to your doctor before using honey for this health benefit.
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Treatment Of Anal Fissures
Early research also proposed using a mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil to treat anal fissures. These refer to small tears in the lining of the anus. But, you had to apply the mixture to the affected area for 12 hours for reduced itching, pain, and bleeding (2). More studies needed to support this theory.
Treatment Of Ringworm
Again, previous studies show applying a mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil three times daily for four weeks can improve ringworm (2). However, more evidence is needed to support this theory.
The Bottom Line
Beeswax benefits both bees and humans. In humans, it helps make skincare products, cosmetics, food coverings, polish, candles, and hair growth products. Beeswax also has therapeutic properties and can be used in surgery in the form of bone wax.
However, there lacks sufficient evidence to show beeswax can help with ringworm, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and oral mucositis treatment. So, talk to your doctor before using beeswax for any listed health benefit.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Bee Products in Dermatology and Skin Care (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Beeswax – Uses, Side Effects, and More (2020, webmd.com)
- Evaluation of Beeswax Influence on Physical Properties of Lipstick Using Instrumental and Sensory Methods (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Preparation and evaluation of a hair wax containing propolis and Eruca sativa seed oil for hair growth (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Therapeutic Properties of Bioactive Compounds from Different Honeybee Products (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Translation of bone wax and its substitutes: History, clinical status and future directions (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What to Know About Beeswax (2021, webmd.com)