The 5 most common skin problems we come across in community pharmacy are eczema, dermatitis, acne, rosacea and cold sores. Current treatments include topical steroids to decrease inflammation and antibiotics (topical or oral) to decrease bacterial infection. This can lead to other side effects if used incorrectly or for a prolonger time.
Propolis and Manuka Oil have been shown to be active against bacterial strains such as Staphylococus Aureus, fungal strains such as Candida Albicans, virus strains such as (herpes simplex HSV-1 and-2), and promote wound healing by their anti-oxidants properties.
Having products that treat the acute flare-ups gives the individual time to make changes that will help with long-term management of the condition. Long-term goals include minimising the triggers (which may be diet or environmental), dietary changes (such as eliminating gluten, wheat, dairy or egg), regular moisturising regime, looking after gut health and minimising stress.
LET US SHARE A BIT MORE ABOUT THESE TWO AMAZING INGREDIENTS
Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6 mm or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax.
Its colour varies depending on its botanical source, with dark brown as the most common.
While foraging, worker bees primarily harvest pollen and nectar, while also collecting water and tree resin necessary for the production of propolis. The chemical composition and nature of propolis depend on environmental conditions and harvested resources.
Properties of flavonoids and phenols
Flavanoids have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and can induce apoptosis of cancer cells.
Phenols also have unique properties:
- Caffeic Acid is an anti-oxidant and prevents oxidative stress, thereby preventing DNA damage caused by free radicals. It also has anti-cancer properties, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Ferulic Acid (chemical structure pictured above) is a high-potency anti-oxidant and is used in the skincare and cosmetic industry to protect skin against environmental stress and free-radical damage.
- Benzoic Acid is a natural preservative and anti-fungal.
- Cinnamic Acid is active against various gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, as well as fungus such as Candida. It has even been synthesized together with an antibiotic such as Rifamycin to create a hydrid that is more potent than the original drug.
All these components of Propolis make it a very effective treatment for preventing bacterial, viral and fungal infection and promoting wound healing.
2. Manuka Oil
Manuka Oil is distilled from the leaves and stems of the Leptospermum scoparium shrub that grows in New Zealand, and Manuka Honey is from the pollen from the flowers. The bark, seed, sap and leaves of this shrub has been used for various health conditions in traditional medicine in New Zealand.
Manuka Oil has the very desirable capacity to decrease the immune response to toxins released by bacteria on the skin surface without causing an increase in the allergic response.
Manuka Oil is known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-histaminic and anti-allergenic so is a great natural remedy. Many prefer using this over the highly regarded Australian Tea Tree Oil. Manuka oil is antibacterial and helps to curb bacterial growth on the surface of the skin, including Staph infections which is very common for eczema sufferers once the skin is broken and not healing well.
- Some people may be allergic to Propolis, beeswax or pollen. It’s important to do a patch test to see if it will cause an allergic reaction. Discontinue use if you get an allergic reaction.
- Bee venom is different to bee saliva. Some people can still use bee products safely such as Propolis or honey without getting any allergic reactions even if they are allergic to bee stings.