Recently, one of the mom’s in my son’s school, wanted recommendations for a dermatologist who administered Botox since her sister was keen on it. I suggested that she try bee venom products and she looked at me as though I was speaking in Greek. That made me realise that while this ingredient has been causing a buzz (pun intended) in the skincare world, there were several others who were totally unaware of it and so I decided to write this post. Why is bee venom becoming so popular in skincare that even the Duchess of Cambridge, the gorgeous Kate Middleton, is a fan? Does it really have Botox-like effects? Read on to know….
|Image courtesy: http://barnsleybeekeepers.org.uk/|
What Is Bee Venom?
Before we get to the skincare part of it, let’s see what exactly is bee venom? Bee Venom or apitoxin is the liquid that gets injected into the skin when a honey bee stings us. One of the most important components of apitoxin is melittin, a protein that has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. However, when a bee stings a person, quite a bit of venom, 0.1mg on an average, is injected via the stinger and the other proteins present in the venom cause the area to get inflamed or swollen. In persons with allergies, it could also have a fatal reaction.
Bee Venom In Skincare – How Does It Work?
I can hear you wondering that if bee venom, a poison, causes an inflammatory reaction, then how is it advantageous in skincare? Well, for starters, the quantity of bee venom in skincare products is more minuscule as compared to the concentrated doze you get injected with when a bee stings you. Add to that, various other beneficial ingredients that go into making the cream/serum. The bee venom in the skincare product causes your skin to “think” that it has been stung. As a result, the brain directs the blood flow to that area and this improved blood circulation stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
What are collagen and elastin? These are naturally occurring proteins that our skin produces. However, as a person ages, the body’s ability to produce collagen and elastin is affected and as a result, the skin looses it’s youthful “plumpness”, “bounce” and “elasticity”. Since the bee venom stimulates the production of these two youth-enhancing proteins, it helps in reducing lines and wrinkles and helps the skin appear more youthful.
How Is It Similar To Botox Then?
Botox, short for Botulinum Toxin, is a neurotoxin. In fact, this is one of the most poisonous substances on earth and just a single gram is enough to kill one million people! As an anti-aging treatment, botox is injected in extremely small concentrations and causes the muscles to get temporarily paralyzed. No muscle movements = no wrinkles.
While both, botox and bee venom are different in their functioning, they both give the same result, ie. a reduction in wrinkles and a more youthful appearance. However, since Botox restricts muscle movement, it also restricts a person’s expressions and too many shots of Botox can give a person a plasticy, expressionless look. Botox does have several other beneficial medical uses but since I’m talking about skincare, I will not speak of those.
Which One Will Give Me Better Results?
The effects of Botox usually show up in 24-72 hours while with bee venom, you have to use the product for at least 2-3 weeks for some results to show. Since the effects of Botox are temporary, you will need to get re-injected every few months. Bee venom, on the other hand, stimulates your own body into producing more collagen and elastin and hence, the effects are more natural-looking and longer lasting, though, perhaps not as drastically and immediately visible as with Botox.
What Are The Risks?
Since Botox is injected into the skin, there are chances of a person experiencing side effects ranging from mild (nausea, headache, numbness, blurred vision etc) to the more severe (influenza like illness, gallbladder dysfunction, decreased eyesight, wheezing, bleeding etc).
Bee venom, when injected, like in certain facials, can also have certain side effects like redness, swelling, itching, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea etc. When used in skincare products, bee venom usually doesn’t have side effects unless you are allergic to it or you have very sensitive skin. In any case, when trying out new skincare products with potent ingredients, it is always advisable to do a patch test.
But What About The Poor Little Bees?
At times, when a bee stings someone, the stinger can get stuck in the person’s skin or clothing. This proves fatal to the bee since, along with the stinger, the bees internal organs also come out and this causes the bee to die. Modern bee venom harvesting methods, however, do not harm the little creatures. The beekeepers start with fabric-covered plates that have conductor wires stretched flat across them. When a bee lands on the plate, the wires deliver a mild electric current that agitates the bee just enough to make it sting, causing the venom to drop onto the plate. Since the fabric on the plate is very thin, it doesn’t trap the stinger, leaving the bee free to fly away unharmed. More venom is collected when other bees sense the chemical odors of the freshly-released venom, which signals them to start stinging, too.
Where Do I Get Products With Bee Venom?
I have received Bee venom face mists and moisturiser in a couple of my Memebox. They also sell these wonderful bee venom products from Benton and Migabee in their Memeshop, but unfortunately, they have discontinued shipping to India till further notice. I am currently using the Migabee Bee Venom and Honey Cream that you can buy here.
You can also buy Bee Venom products from Rodial from Strawberrynet. Heaven Skincare also has a wonderful range of bee venom products as does A Beautiful World. TesterKorea and Beautynetkorea are also websites that have Korean bee venom products and they ship to India as well. I shall soon update this post with links to the products since I’m in a bit of a hurry at the moment.
So, if any of you are contemplating going in for Botox, I would strongly recommend trying out a bee venom infused skincare product first. Though they are difficult to get in India, it is worth the effort. I have been using the Migabee cream at night since I received it and I can definitely see an improvement in my skin.
I hope this post was helpful to you. I tried to make it as informative as possible without making it too technical. Do give me your feedback in the comments below…..