It is almost a decade since Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, revealed (at least according to the British tabloids) an anti-aging beauty regimen including bee-autifying bee venom. Instantly, the buzz about bee venom beauty products, instead of fizzling out, has gathered more and more, um, buzz with every launch of new bee venom masks, cleansers, serums and eye creams. But amidst all the hype, there is misinformation.
So is bee venom really that buzz-worthy?
Yes, bee venom is a credible and effective anti-aging ingredient. This is because it is packed with antioxidants. Bee venom is known as apitoxin and acts as a strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. One researcher claimed that apitoxin “deserves no less attention of the medical profession than antibiotics of fungal and bacterial origin.”
There is compelling evidence that bee venom’s potency is more than skin deep. There is research linking bee venom as an aid for all types of illness, from HIV to Lyme Disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and more (source).
How does bee venom work?
Honey bee venom contains at least 18 active substances. These include the peptides melittin, adolapine (an anti-inflammatory by stimulating the release of cortisone) and apamin. Melittin is an anti-inflammatory – even at very small doses – that is being used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism, and can combat cancers (source). Actually, bee venom is all about anti-inflammation and that’s important for aging skin. In addition to the aforementioned adolapine and melittin, anti-inflammatory components include MCD and various protease inhibitors.
There are five enzymes inbee venom including hyaluronidase. According to 3DChem, hyaluronidase from bee stings causes hyaluronic acid in the body to become acetylglucosamine, important to tissue functions such as hydration, lubrication, transport, cell migration, cell function and differentiation.
Bee venom: Truth vs myth
You will sometimes see it said that Bbee venom in cosmetics creates a mild sting or simulates a sting, which “jump-starts” production of elastin and collagen. Even more far-fetched but oft quoted is the fallacy that bee venom works to control the facial muscles for a lifting, “Botox-like” effect.
In fact, bee venom in cosmetics does not sting as the nitrogenous fats responsible for the sting have been removed during processing. Nor does it control facial muscles (leave that to neurotransmitter peptides such as Argireline)
What can you expect from bee venom beauty products?
I have tried most of them and can safely say that I haven’t experienced an instant tightening effect from any of them. However, I do experience a wonderful refreshing of the complexion, and over time a plumping and smoothing of the skin. Bee venom definitely merits a place in our anti-aging arsenals.
Bee venom extraction
These days the electrical method of extracting bee venom is mostly used. it was invented in 19060 by a Bulgarian beekeeper. The bee venom is released as a result of an electric current that does not harm the bees, leaving them alive with their stingers intact.This method is referred to as “milking”.