Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The use of royal jelly in skincare

I recently described in my blog how honey is being used in skincare. Similarly, royal jelly is another popular additive to skincare. Both honey and royal jelly have been used in skincare for thousands of years. Indeed, eHow explains how the Egyptians, famous for their beauty secrets, historically have been known to use royal jelly as part of a skin care regimen to keep their faces moisturised and protected, even in the most harsh desert conditions.

Image from Wiki
So what exactly is royal jelly? Royal jelly is a substance made by worker bees to feed the queen in her first days of life to ensure her growth and fertility. It's considered to be one of the world's most nutrient-rich substances, packed with 134 nutrients, including essential amino acids, minerals and Vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, C, E along with Biotin, Niacin and Folic Acid which helps the queen grow to 40 times the size of worker bees and live 50 times longer.

The amino acids in royal jelly are also a basic ingredient in collagen, which is essential in maintaining the skin's firmness by supporting the skin's connective tissue. Royal jelly  can also help to reverse the effects of ageing in the skin by eliminating pigmentation as well as wrinkles. Royal jelly is widely used around the world, where it is known for its ability to enhance skin texture and smoothness. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) royal jelly (and honey) has been shown to be effective as a softener for dry skin and the toning lotion for firming relaxed, stretched or stressed skin and may be useful as:
  • anti-wrinkle treatment
  • anti-stretchmarks
  • elastifier
  • nutrifier
  • firmer
  • revitaliser
  • hair conditioner
  • tonic
  • sebum equaliser

Burt's Bees claim to use royal jelly in their natural skin care products because it is known to help enhance skin's texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Royal jelly has also been found to have antioxidant properties and be beneficial to over-all health and anti-aging programs. In addition to the skin smoothing properties, royal jelly has also been shown to be a good antibacterial agent. Whilst not as potent an antibacterial as honey, it has still been shown to be effective at killing various bacteria and some fungi.

One limitation of royal jelly is that it deteriorates very quickly after harvest. To prolong it's shelf life it can be mixed with honey, frozen or freeze dried. If added to cosmetics in a preserved format, it's efficacy should remain; however, it would be difficult to know in what format the royal jelly was in when it was added to your skincare, so there is a chance that royal jelly in your skincare may have already deteriorated and thus be ineffective. For example, if fresh royal jelly was added to your skincare preparation it most likely would have deteriorated well before your have even had a chance to use it. A reputable supplier should have taken this into consideration.

While there is not nearly the volume of scientific research available for royal jelly as there is for honey, it still seems to be a valuable addition to skincare. In the coming weeks I will be reviewing the Burt's Bees Radiance range, which contains both honey and royal jelly. Hopefully, these products live up to the standards set by the high tech, expensive ingredients in the other products I use as it would be nice to be using natural ingredients in my skincare.

Do you think that honey or royal jelly add any benefits to your skincare products or are they just fad ingredients?

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with any company discussed in this blog and received no remuneration for my comments.