Honevo is a topical medical-grade kanuka honey formulation.
What is Honevo?
Is Honevo an effective treatment for rosacea?
Yes. In a pilot study it was found to be well tolerated and most patients reported an improvement1 . In a large study of 137 people presented at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting in 2015, and published in the British Medical Journal Open, 65% of people had an improvement with Honevo, 34% had a large improvement and in 13% the disease disappeared completely2-3. The results were statistically and clinically significant and at least as good, if not better, than those that have been achieved for standard prescription-only treatments such as topical metronidazole.
How long does it take to work?
In the study, improvements were seen within 2 weeks and had increased when the study ended at 8 weeks.
How do patients use it?
Honevo is applied as a mask twice a day and then easily washes off. It should be applied for at least 15 minutes twice a day, but the longer it is applied the better the results are likely to be – it can be applied for several hours at a time if that is convenient. As well as treating rosacea, it is an excellent moisturizer.
Why Honevo rather than another medical honey product?
There are 3 main reasons:
1. All honeys have different properties, and only the Honevo formulation has been proven in clinical studies to be an effective treatment for rosacea.
2. Honevo is medical-grade (see below for why this is important).
3. Honevo contains a small amount of another natural product, glycerine, which improves its physical characteristics, making it less sticky than regular honey. It is also far more temperature stable and remains consistently fluid when warm or cold.
Who did the research, was it independent?
The study was undertaken independently by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, who are based in Wellington and led by Professor Richard Beasley. Patients on the studies were seen by MRINZ staff, but mostly by Family Physicians in New Zealand. In addition, the study protocol was peer-reviewed by a New Zealand dermatologist and also the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA.
What is “medical-grade” honey?
Honey applied to the skin should be “medical-grade”, also known as “pharmaceutical-grade”. Application of untreated or raw honey often causes local inflammation which can be quite severe, as it often contains many impurities from bees and hives; it literally contains “bees’ knees”. Medical-grade honey is made by purifying and sterilizing raw honey in a two-step process involving super-filtration and pasteurization.
How long does it last?
A 50ml tube will last for several weeks, depending on the extent of the rosacea.
Does it treat redness, pimples or both?
The answer is both – in our large study some participants had predominantly red-ness symptoms, some had mostly acne-like symptoms and some had a combination of both.
I react to lots of things, will my skin react to Honevo Red?
In theory anyone can react to anything, but Honevo Red only contains 2 gentle natural products and so reactions are very unlikely but not impossible.
How long does the treatment last?
Honevo should be used until symptoms have disappeared, and restarted if symptoms reappear.
Is it a cure or will the rosacea come back?
In around 1 in 8 participants in the study, the condition completed disappeared. However, participants were only followed for 8 weeks and so we do not know if/when symptoms reappeared.
Is it better than using antibiotics?
The Honevo study was vs. placebo, not antibiotics, so it is not possible to state this definitively. But when we compare how both treatments perform vs. placebo in controlled studies, Honevo has better results. In addition, as well as potentially causing side effects, long-term antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance, which the World Health Organization has declared to be a threat to global health security
Who funded the research?
The research was funded by HoneyLab, with support from Callaghan Innovation, a government agency supporting hi-tech businesses in New Zealand
What is kanuka honey?
Honey is classified according to its floral source, and it can either be monofloral, if it is made predominantly from the nectar of one type of flower, or polyfloral. Honevo is created from kanuka honey which is sourced from hives that are located in dense kanuka plantations.
How is it different to manuka honey?
All honeys have different properties. We use kanuka as we found that it has very high antibacterial activity compared to other honeys. Kanuka honey also has anti-inflammatory activity whereas manuka and others do not.
How does it work?
Honey has a number of physicochemical characteristics which give it unique properties that are responsible for its effectiveness in treating some medical conditions:
Osmotic effect – honey is a concentrated sugar solution predominantly consisting of fructose and glucose. Few water molecules are available for micro-organisms and therefore it is a poor environment for their growth.
Hydrogen peroxide – this is slowly released when the honey comes into contact with body fluids and has antiseptic properties.
Acidity – honey is very acidic with a pH of 3.2 to 4.5, as acidic as some vinegars, which also makes micro-organism growth difficult.
Antioxidants – it contains bioflavonoids and other antioxidants which may contribute to its activity.
Who are HoneyLab?
HoneyLab are a New Zealand pharmaceutical company with several platforms of clinical research, including dermatology, pain, and nutrition. HoneyLab are running the world’s largest program of medical honey research. The research program is directed by Dr. Shaun Holt. Shaun has both Pharmacy and Medical degrees from the UK, lectures at Victoria University of Wellington and is one of New Zealand’s most experienced clinical researchers.
Can I use other products such as cleansers?
You can use whatever else you want as part of your skincare regime, but Honevo Red is a wonderful moisturizer and cleanser and a lot of users say that they no longer need to use anything else.
Is it safe to use if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Can I use Honevo Red if I have had a bad reaction to a bee sting?
Yes, Honevo Red is safe for people who are allergic to bee stings. It is safe for people with bee sting allergy to eat honey and putting Honevo Red on the skin is even safer as Honevo is sterilized in a 2-step process. If you are concerned at all you should apply a very small amount to start with, a “patch test”.
1. Fingleton, James, et al. “Topical kanuka honey for the treatment of rosacea.” Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies 18.4 (2013): 221-222.
2. S Holt, I Braithwaite, A Hunt, J Riley, M Holliday, R Beasley. A topical kanuka honey formulation is an effective treatment for rosacea. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology 2015. Poster 871
3. Fingleton J et al. A single- blind randomised controlled trial of topical kanuka honey for the treatment of rosacea. British Medical Journal Open 2015;5 : e007651