How Effective Is Propolis for Acne?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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Propolis is a thick, resin-like substance that bees collect from tree bark and buds to use as a glue and disinfectant. This substance possesses antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to these characteristics, propolis is sometimes used in the treatment of acne. While clinical research on the subject is limited, many skin care manufacturers have found propolis effective enough to include it in their products. Before using propolis as an acne treatment, consumers should be aware of certain side effects that are associated with this substance.

There are several medicinal uses of propolis. Propolis can be used to treat burns, infections, wounds, herpes and inflammatory diseases. This substance can also be used to treat a number of skin problems like acne, abscesses and boils.

Many people use propolis for acne due to its ability to reduce inflammation and eliminate bacteria. Acne often occurs when the pores become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum. Once lodged in the pores, these materials cause infection, which leads to swelling, redness and sometimes pain. When using propolis to treat acne, this substance removes acne-causing bacteria from the surface of the skin. Antibacterial propolis also soothes inflammation, which should help to reduce the swelling and redness that commonly accompanies acne.


As of 2011, research on the use of propolis for acne is very limited.One study indicated that propolis might be effective in eliminating Propionibacterium, which is a type of bacteria that causes acne. Still, while the effectiveness of propolis for treating acne has not been clinically proven, many herbalists and consumers have found propolis to be an effective acne treatment.

Consumers interested in using this substance have a variety of propolis products to choose from. Many natural skin care companies offer concentrated extracts, soap and propolis cream to the public. Raw propolis can also be used to treat acne, but is often more difficult to find. In many cases, propolis acne products combine propolis with moisturizing agents, natural extracts and essential oils to enhance the effects of the product.

Before using propolis for acne, consumers should be aware that this substance might cause certain side effects. People who are allergic to bee products like honey or royal jelly should not use propolis, as this substance might cause an allergic reaction. Reactions have also been reported in people who are allergic to poplar and conifer trees. Women who are pregnant or nursing should also consult a physician before using propolis for acne.


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Post 7

I absolutely love Red Brazilian Propolis. It's the richest in beneficial compounds and the only company I've found that sells it is also the only one I've found that standardizes their extracts and only uses water (no chemicals or alcohol) to do it is NaturaNectar. My whole family is on their products now including the little ones since they've got an "approved for 2yrs+" on some of the bottles.

The Red has been used to treat many many skin conditions including burn victims and post surgery. Crazy high in antioxidants too (about 3.5 times acai). They're also hypoallergenic and make a cheaper product that's a mix of brown, green, and red brazilian propolis. You can do an easy search online for thousands of studies on propolis. I can't gush enough about it!

Post 6

I had a friend give me a bottle of Nerium, promising flawless and tight skin. After two days, my face severely broke out in painful acne. I researched ways to help soothe and reduce and propolis came up. I'm a sucker for local companies and found a skincare company called Hey Honey that has a propolis gel called 911. They had a risk-free promise so I thought I'd try it.

After only a week using it, not only did the acne from Nerium go away, my scarred face (from pregnancy acne and psoriasis) evened out as well. Needless to say, I was relieved and now swear by the power of propolis and honey for skincare! (Unless you're allergic, of course!)

Post 5

For some very strange reason, taking Propolis internally gave me bad panic attacks. It worked amazingly on my skin (you can hear Dr. Marshal of QRA talk about this in his acne podcast), but as soon as I stopped the propolis, I was fine. Very bizarre. No propolis creams have had the same results.

Post 4

I am a life long acne sufferer, in my 40s. I use Extract Propolis, by Y.S. Organic Bee Farms, a honey paste. I mix a small amount (matchstick or BB size) with tap water (whatever remains on my fingertips) and apply this watery veil all over my face. I have never seen results like this before, and I have tried it all, except Accutane. I considered that it might be a staph. infection, which propolis cures. It did.

I wonder how many are staph related breakouts. My 14 year old is next!

Post 3

@turquoise-- Yep, I've taken propolis tincture for acne and it did work. I got an all natural, organic tincture and used to dilute a few drops of it with water and drink that.

It didn't seem to do anything the first couple of weeks. In fact, my acne seemed to be worse at first. But after a couple of weeks, it cleared up. It doesn't seem to work for everyone though. My brother and I started taking the tincture at the same time and he saw no improvement with his acne even after a month and stopped using it.

If I were to use it again, I think I would go for the capsules instead. It would be easier to drink and you can't mess up on the amount. Just make sure that you are not allergic to it first. Do a skin test and if there is any possibility that you might be allergic, don't use it.

Post 2

@turquoise-- I don't see why it wouldn't work. Dermatologists treat acne with oral antibiotics and I don't think propolis is much different. It's like an all natural antibiotic. My grandmother used to apply propolis salve when we got cuts and scrapes on the playground.

Of course, consuming it orally is a little different. It might be more potent that way. So maybe you should ask your doctor about it first and start with a low dose and then increase it slowly if you need to.

Post 1

I've been using propolis face cream for the past two weeks. My skin is looking a little better already. I have had less breakouts this past week and I think some of my acne scars are starting to fade. I really wasn't expecting propolis to do anything for me but I'm so happy that it's working!

I've also heard that it might be beneficial to consume propolis. It's said that it works better when you eat it and apply it on your skin together. Of course, the one that's eaten has to be food grade and safe for consumption. I think that sounds like a good idea, because then, it can work from the inside out too.

Has anyone eaten propolis or taken propolis supplements? Did it help with your acne that way?

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