You may have read or heard about the wonders of manuka honey and all the healing powers of this seemingly magical natural substance. I’ve read all about it and sometimes some of the things they say about Manuka honey sound too good to be true. Can it really help with acne scars? Can it really soothe stomach upsets? And does it really heal wounds and rashes?
I’m in the fortunate position of not having any acne scars. Nor do I suffer from an upset stomach frequently. But, I do happen to have two round spots (one on each leg) that could be considered either wounds or rashes. So, I decided to perform a little experiment on myself and test out the healing powers of Manuka honey on my skin condition.
I need to start by explaining that I don’t actually know what it is that I have on my legs. I have had this kind of thing a couple of times before in a similar position on my lower legs. I’ve never had them as an almost matching pair before. Usually I will just get one. It will usually stay there for a couple of months until it eventually disappears. It could be eczema? But the lesions are not itchy. Maybe ringworm?
Although it seems unlikely they would spontaneously resolve without treatment. Just very dry skin? Maybe - I’m certainly prone to dry skin all over. The fact is, I have not had these lesions diagnosed, they don’t bother me enough to do so. If any of you out there happen to know what it is I’d be glad to hear your thoughts.
Anyway, the fact that I have these two lesions (one on each leg) at the same time gave me the great idea of treating one of the lesions with Manuka honey and leaving the other alone as our control specimen. Sounds like fun, right? The idea is I will put a dollop of manuka honey on the lesion on my right leg each day, and cover it with a bandaid/plaster (so I don’t have honey dripping down my leg).
The lesion on my left leg (our control specimen) will be left uncovered and alone with no treatment. I’ll take photos each day so we can see the progress of the lesions and hopefully finally prove (or disprove) once and for all that manuka honey can heal skin wounds and rashes.
Before we begin, the scientist in me needs to point out some major flaws in my crude experiment. The honey may have no positive effect whatsoever but this would not necessarily mean that manuka honey can’t heal wounds.
It could be that manuka honey simply has no effect on these particular lesions – the fact that they are undiagnosed makes it a little tricky.
Also, the fact that we are covering the test specimen but not the control is a bit of a design flaw too. After all, it could be that having a cover over the lesion (and not the honey at all) is what makes all the difference in the healing of the lesion.
Regardless of these flaws, let’s go ahead and see what happens when we treat one skin lesion (rash/wound) with Manuka Honey and not the other.
Manuka Honey And Wound Healing
To begin our experiment obviously we will need some Manuka Honey. It’s pretty expensive! Luckily I found this little kit which contains 12 sachets of Manuka Honey This was a much more reasonable price than a whole jar and I figured it would be enough to serve my purpose in this experiment.
Obviously if you were going to use it for other things too it would be more economical to buy a whole jar. For the purpose of squirting just a small amount onto my leg each day these sachets are ideal.
This manuka honey has a MGO of 100+ which means it has a very high level of methylglyoxal which is the naturally occurring compound that makes manuka honey so special. Hopefully it’s enough to make an impact on my skin condition - let’s find out!
Day 1 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Firstly you need to know what we’re dealing with. Here are my two undiagnosed lesions:
You can see that the lesion on the right leg has a bit of flakiness around the edges, otherwise they are almost identical in shape and size.
It’s a pretty simple process. The sachets make it extra easy to squeeze a bit of manuka honey onto the lesion on my right leg.
Then I just covered it up to keep the honey in place.
I left this in place (even when showering) and waited until the next day to change it.
Day 2 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Day 2 and not much change noted as yet - some of the flakiness has reduced and maybe less red? That may be wishful thinking or to do with the lighting! Certainly no conclusive evidence of any benefit yet...but it’s early days!
So, we’ll follow the same procedure as before - add a dollop (very scientific name) of honey.
And cover it up until tomorrow.
Day 3 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Not a lot of difference to report although the test specimen appears to have gotten a bit more scaly looking with an increase in white, dry skin lines through the lesion.
Day 4 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Not much to report although the dryness from yesterday seems to have reduced.
Day 5 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
To be honest when I pulled back the bandaid this morning to check on the lesion, I didn’t think there had been any change. But then, when I uploaded the photo to the computer, it actually looks to me as though the lesion might be starting to fade a bit in the top right corner of it.
Is it just my imagination? Or just an illusion with the lighting and photography? Not sure. But it’s the first time I’ve started to think that the Manuka Honey was possibly actually making a positive change. Excited to see what tomorrow will bring!
Day 6 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Today the test lesion kind of looks a little irritated. For the record neither lesion is remotely sore or itchy but the test lesion (the one having daily treatments of Manuka Honey) is looking perhaps a little angrier than the control/untreated lesion.
Maybe the honey is creating an inflammatory response? Or maybe the skin is getting tired of being covered with a bandaid? Either way, no huge improvements or changes have as yet been discovered.
Day 7 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
It’s hard to notice the difference in the photograph but in real life the lesion being treated with manuka honey is definitely paler in color than the untreated lesion, especially at the top of the mark where it definitely appears to be fading.
Day 8 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Today we’re really starting to see some fading in action. The untreated lesion on my left leg has gone a bit dry and flaky today while the spot on my right leg, the one that is being treated with manuka honey, doesn’t look as red as it was before and appears to be fading. Fingers crossed this might actually be working!
Day 9 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Not a lot of difference today - if anything some of the redness seems to have returned to the manuka honey treated lesion. Feels as though, if anything, we may have taken a step backwards today.
Day 10 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Again today we can see that the untreated/control lesion is looking dry and flaky meanwhile there’s not much difference to report for the treated lesion.
Day 11 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Yesterday the untreated, control lesion became very, very itchy and, I confess, I scratched it! No itchiness reported at all in the treated lesion (and the itchiness in the control has since disappeared). Both lesions look as though they might be starting to fade.
Day 12 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
If anything, today the untreated lesion on my left leg probably looks better than the treated lesion on my right. The untreated has spread out more but the treated lesion looks quite red with dry, white crack lines through it. Still no soreness or itchiness in the treated lesion while the untreated spot does get itchy sometimes.
Day 13 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
The treated (right) leg is clearly winning today. The lesion is much smaller than the untreated left leg which appears to have spread considerably while the treated lesion seems to be fading.
Day 14 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
So the left, untreated lesion has been really itchy at times while the right (treated) lesion has had no irritation or itchiness at all. Still looking about the same as yesterday - the treated lesion is clearly smaller and more faded than the untreated spot which is red and flaky and has spread out.
Day 15 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Significant fading of the treated lesion is evident today - things are looking good!
Day 16 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
The treated spot is definitely fading away now while the untreated lesion has been pretty itchy.
Day 17 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Looking good! The spot that I’ve been treating with manuka honey has almost completely disappeared while the untreated lesion is still looking pretty nasty!
Day 18 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Looking pretty similar to yesterday - definite fading of the treated lesion but not quite completely gone yet!
Day 19 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
There’s really not much left to see on the treated leg now! Could it be that manuka honey has completely healed my lesion?
Day 20 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
So close to being back to normal while the untreated leg still looks a bit of a mess.
Day 21 Using Manuka Honey On Skin
Today marks 3 weeks since I started using Manuka honey on the lesion on my right leg. Both lesions appear to be getting better now but the treated spot is certainly miles ahead of the untreated lesion.
As the treated spot is barely noticeable anymore, I’ve decided to call this the last day of my “experiment”. What have we learned? The manuka honey certainly appears to have helped in the healing of the lesion although it was not a particularly speedy process.
To remember how far we’ve come, let’s compare the first picture before the treatment started, side by side with this latest picture 3 weeks later:
Both lesions started out as discrete, circular, angry red spots. The lesion that was treated daily with manuka honey gradually faded over the 3 week time period. The untreated lesion went through a period where it seemed to spread and it certainly got quite irritated and itchy at times.
Both lesions have certainly lost a lot of the redness that they originally had but, although faded, there is still clear evidence of the untreated lesion on my left leg while the treated lesion is only just visible.
Although only a small study or experiment, the evidence on this occasion points to the fact that Manuka honey does indeed help with wound healing and/or skin conditions. While a fairly slow process, after 3 weeks the treated lesion is now only just visible and never experienced any discomfort at all during the 3 week treatment period.
Meanwhile the untreated lesion became itchy and irritated and appeared to spread. At the very least it could be said that the Manuka honey saved the treated lesion from any discomfort and stopped it from spreading.
If you’re looking for a natural solution to help solve a skin condition or heal a wound, Manuka Honey would definitely be worth considering.