Celebrities are touting it, but science says there’s no proof that bee venom in anti-wrinkle face cream actually works to smooth and tighten skin. It’s being called “natural Botox,” and it’s being sold at some mind-numbing prices, but does that mean it works?
The benefits of bee venom
Cosmetics companies claim that bee venom stimulates your body’s natural collagen production. As a result, they say their bee-infused anti-wrinkle face cream formulas will lift, smooth and tighten skin. Bee venom does have natural melittin in it, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties, which could help reduce skin redness and create a more even skin tone.
Research conducted at the Yale School of Medicine, however, doesn’t back up the claims of cosmetics companies. David Leffell, professor of Dermatology and Surgery at the school, “couldn’t find any legitimate scientific studies of the benefit of bee venom either topical or injected.” He’s noticed that “every 6 months there is a new agent that comes on, but one of the things that is important s whether or not it can get through the skin.”
Bee venom doesn’t hold up to research – so far – but Leffell says honey does have some qualities as a moisturizer.
Bee venom hype
But many women don’t care what science says. The Duchess of Cambridge herself, Kate Middleton, famously used bee venom cosmetics before her royal wedding. Gwyneth Paltrow, who is Hollywood royalty, wrote on her blog that she used “bee venom therapy for an old injury,” and says it’s since disappeared.
Bee venom is collected for use in anti-wrinkle face cream after the insects sting a glass plate. The venom is then scraped away with a razor blade. One major producer of bee venom in New Zealand sells just one gram of the stuff (about 10,000 bee stings worth) for $304 USD – greater than 8 times the value of gold.
Anti-wrinkle face cream formulas made with bee venom are finding their way onto store shelves and salon displays. One spa franchise, with branches around the world, charges between $65 to $95 for a bee venom facial from 30 to 60 minutes. Ina Bajaj, the spa owner, said her company “started using bee venom when the whole Kate Middleton fad happened…Initially there were one or two players on the market and then there were a lot more.”
Anti-wrinkle face cream options
Bee venom is one of the latest fads in anti-wrinkle face cream, but there are many more tried-and-true products available on the market. Many affordable anti-wrinkle creams that don’t have fancy fad ingredients are very well-reviewed by vibrant women.
Explore your options for maintaining a youthful look in our free special report, 5 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creams Most Recommended By Women Over 50.