It’s 2019, and people will try anything—seriously, anything—for smooth, supple skin. By now, questionably odd ingredients like acids and hard-to-pronounce natural additives have become the norm in skincare. But, there’s one ingredient that may have crossed the line: bee venom.
Yes, it’s true, people are slathering venom-infused skincare products on their skin in hopes of a tighter, firmer feel. But, does it really work? We investigate, below.
Why Are People Using Bee Venom?
Honey bee venom, also known as apitoxin, is essentially the venom that leaves the burning sensation and inflammation in a bee sting. That seems like the complete opposite of what we want from our skincare, so why are people using it?
“We’ve called bee venom the ‘natural botox,’ or Bee-Tox because of the break down cell membranes, and improved circulation, which can create a tighter and smoother complexion,” says Diane Elizabeth, founder of Skincare Ox. So, it’s basically a natural alternative to invasive facial injections, which is a plus. Honey bee venom is also known to contain a potent combination of enzymes, peptides, and amino acids, according to Elizabeth, giving your skin a nourishing boost.
“Bee venom has created a lot of buzz (pun intended) in the skincare community,” says Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, the cosmetic chemists of Chemist Confessions. “It’s often times positioned as an anti-aging wrinkle banishing powerhouse. There is some data supporting this. Though interestingly, there’s even more data that showcase its antimicrobial, acne fighting capabilities”
Is Bee Venom Safe?
If you’re allergic to bee venom, then you’ll definitely want to stay away from this trendy ingredient. But for those of you who can tolerate it, bee venom can be a great addition to your skincare regimen. “Provided that it’s purified/processed correctly, it can be safe to use on skin,” says the Chemist Confessions duo. “A lot of the data comes from Korean sources, so we’d scope it out in K-beauty for a more reliable source.” However, they also recommend that sensitive skin types may want to patch test first, since bee venom has such a complex blend of different compounds that could cause irritation.
The Ethical Debate Of Bee Venom
Vegan beauty lovers may not want to try this ingredient, since it’s obviously derived from bees. But, are those little baby bees harmed during the process? According to Prevention, bee venom used to be extremely unethical and required killing honey bees, but now it is collected by tricking the bees into stinging a stimulating glass or fence, allowing them to release venom without killing them. Technically it still isn’t purely ethical, since modern cultivation of bee venom requires them going into attack mode and shocking them with an extremely low micro-current, but they walk (err, fly) away overall completely unharmed.
Want to give bee venom a try? Then check out our favorite skincare picks, below:
Rodial Bee Venom Micro-Sting Patch
Zap away frown lines in a pinch with these bee venom-infused patches. This wrinkle-smoothing godsend also contains hyaluronic acid, an anti-aging hero for retaining much-needed moisture.
Nip + Fab Bee Sting Fix Repairing Shot
If you want a higher concentration of bee venom, then the Chemist Confessions duo recommends using a serum. This serum contains a concoction of firming bee venom, hyaluronic acid, and another derivative from our flying friends: royal jelly.
WEI Bee Venom Anti-Wrinkle Cream Mask
For a 10-minute skincare refresh, grab this nourishing mask. It contains our favorite venom, along with the soothing effects of lily and antioxidant-rich reishi mushrooms to pamper your pores for an instant radiant glow.
skinChemists Advanced Bee Venom Duo Moisturizer
This London-based skincare brand is known as the Queen Bee of this bee venom-infused skincare, so you know this moisturizer won’t disappoint. It contains its hero ingredient along with hyaluronic acid to give your skin a plumper appearance all day long.