Bee Pollen For Acne – Can It Help Defeat Acne?
Bee Pollen is widely known for its beneficial properties1 related to both health and appearance. Still, the mystery surrounding the reasons for these qualities is sometimes even more appealing than their effects. Indeed, few scientists have delved into the healthy properties of honey produce. Of course, we can’t be sure that earlier peoples did not know the secrets of bees, as even Ancient Egyptians made use of their goods. It is not clear why we have not made more effort to discover the origins of bee pollen’s healthy properties, since we do have information on why royal jelly and honey can be good for us. What is bee pollen and how can it help you in your battle with skin problems? We have compiled recent research and summarized it in an effort to understand this natural product a little better.
What Is Bee Pollen?
Although bee pollen sounds like it should be similar to other bee products like propolis, honey and royal jelly, it is in fact a more specific, raw good. In fact, bee bread, which is made of pollen is the most potent food that bees enjoy – it is full of protein and it allows them to have energy for long periods of time. Specifically, it provides them with all of the carbohydrates they need to keep as busy as they do, all day.
How is pollen made? The little insects collect fresh pollen from flowers and bring it back to their hive. They do so with the help of corbiculae – small basket-looking growths attached to bees’ legs. Indeed, bees specialize in collecting pollen which contains the highest possible nutrient content available to them – as it is a major food source for these insects.
When the pollen gets to the hive, it gets transferred to the worker bees. They create their specialized form of bee pollen by combining bee nectar, bacteria and enzymes, saliva and fungi. They mix all of this together until they are satisfied with the homogeneity of the product.
In order to create bee bread, all of this is fermented for long periods of time, and is further blended together with the help of wax and, of course, honey.
What’s In Bee Pollen?
As mentioned, bee bread is the most nutritious food that bees consume, so, naturally, it is filled to the brim with exciting ingredients. It contains 14 fatty acids, an entire army of 18 vitamins, and 22 amino acids. It further sports 25 minerals, 11 enzymes and traces of almost 60 other elements. More than that, it can sustain the existence of more than two dozens of bacteria, and nearly 200 fungi varieties can thrive on its surface. It must also be pointed out that the listed components are the ones that humans have uncovered; it is not unlikely that there are a lot more of them lurking within bee pollen.
Nevertheless, each batch of bee pollen differs from all others. This is because bees collect pollen from different flowers each and every time, and they do so in differing quantities. For that reason, while each portion of bee pollen contains most, or all, of the beneficial substances, one batch may incidentally contain more of one substance and less of another.
What does this mean for your skincare treatment? Basically, while one batch of bee pollen can bring incredible benefits to your blood flow2, another can work better in boosting your inflammation-fighting abilities. Generally, about half of bee pollen’s ingredients are carbohydrates. More than 30 percent of it is made up of protein, which speaks volumes about its potential benefits. Additionally, about 3 percent represents minerals and vitamins, there are about 2 percent of fatty acids, and about 5 percent are made up of other, randomly acquired ingredients.
The Variety Of Bee Pollen Ingredients
Why are there so many antioxidants in bee pollen? For that, you can thank bees for the efforts they make to maintain the freshness of their product. Still, just like with other ingredients, you can never be sure how many antioxidants will be contained in each specific batch. Components like kaempferol, quercetin and rutin may exist within each ration in amounts that vary tremendously.
Indeed, this may be the reason why scientists have such a hard time pinpointing the exact causes for the benefits of bee pollen. For instance, if a specific ration contains a lot of kaempferol which boosts your ability to fight inflammation, then you can be sure that your acne will be decreased after ingesting it. At the same time, if another batch happens to contain less of this antioxidant and more of another one, then you may not see much difference in your breakout rate.
The same can be observed in terms of the vitamins in bee pollen. If a concrete portion can have between 6 and 66 percent of Vitamin C, then how can you be sure whether or not your skin will experience any benefits from it? The same goes for Vitamin E, which can vary between 8 and 66 percent. There is no way to know what exactly will be in your bee pollen, and which parts of your body will benefit the most.
While all of this may sound a bit disheartening in relation to helping you rid yourself of acne, you can be sure that your bee pollen will contain a good amount of antioxidants. Antioxidant content can still vary, but you can at least be certain that you will get a lot of it! As antioxidants contribute greatly to skincare, you cannot go wrong with getting yourself some of this natural good!
How Can Bee Pollen Help You Defeat Acne?
Whether commercially produced or organic, bee pollen always contains some excellent components to help you fight recurring breakouts. Scientific experiments which have focused on studying this natural product, have found that all types of bee-produced pollen provide you with antioxidants that can fight infections on your skin like no other. For instance, chestnut bee pollen was found to be rich in antioxidants3 like anthocyanins and carotenoids, flavonoids and polypenols.
Some scientists focus on testing the specific activity of bee pollen onto inflammation – especially the chronic kind. Basically, it was concluded that the natural product serves to inhibit COX-24. This is a messenger that is a part of your immune system and it helps you fight all kinds of infections by manufacturing prostaglandins (chemicals that are found in abundance in those who suffer from continuous acne).
One of the experiments specifically tested bee pollen’s reaction with the inflamed paw of a rat – the product healed the rat’s limb in no time. Another study tested whether or not bee pollen would have an effect on the inflamed livers of mice. Indeed, bee pollen was found to help the mice recover – as opposed to honey, which did not do much for the sick rodents.
Moreover, bee pollen contains an ample amount of vitamins, which can industriously fight any type of acne. Magnesium and zinc – two of the most potent aides in the battle against zits, are to be found in bee pollen with a consistency of 12.5 and 44.5, respectively. The natural product also contains vitamin C and E, with a consistency of 8.5 and 37 percent respectively, as well as healthy doses of vitamin A.
More Ways In Which Bee Pollen Can Help You Fight Breakouts
A curious way in which bee pollen can help you fight acne is by reducing your stress levels. Indeed, stress is a major, albeit less credited, cause of breakouts. Luckily, bee pollen is a fast and efficient fighter of stress, as an experiment demonstrated its potency to increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin found in rats. Unfortunately, while this may sound great, bee pollen had a hard time diminishing the amounts of cortisol found in the rodents. As cortisol is the primary hormone related to stress, it is not certain to what extent the natural product can actually help you fight acne caused by tension and mental strain.
But let us go back to antioxidants. Enzymes related to antioxidants have been tested, as well, in relation to how much they can be affected by bee pollen. One experiment tested rats which developed high nervous tension by being forced to swim for long periods of time. This served to inhibit their levels of glutathione, as well as of superoxide. Luckily, bee pollen managed to restore these5 soon after the rodents were treated with its Indian mustard variety. A similar study involving mice ended with a similar verdict. Mice suffering from depleted levels of liver glutathione enzymes experienced an improvement in their condition, although not all enzymes were boosted. For this reason, it is hard to tell precisely how much effect bee pollen has on enzymes.
Can bee pollen’s ingredients help your acne? It seems like there is plenty of evidence to prove that, but there is also some evidence for the limited potency of the natural product. It seems to be a hit-and-miss situation, so it might be worth it to give pollen a try in the case that you are becoming desperate to get rid of your zits.
Improving Your Complexion And Blood Flow
Another extremely beneficial component of bee pollen is called rutin. This ingredient, which may be known to scientists as quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, has the potential to speed up your blood pressure and hence clear up your skin.
Rutin is an antioxidant of the flavonoid variety, as it boosts the activity of your blood vessels, such as your capillaries. It specifically does so by allowing your blood vessels to experience vasodilation, allowing more blood to pass through them at one time. Concretely, the ingredient can regulate the blood flow to and from your brain and it can also expertly decrease the stiffening of your capillaries (decreasing any atherosclerotic alterations in their buildup). While rutin can be found in many natural sources, it is made widely available by bee pollen, which possesses it in abundance.
Not only does this component aid your entire body in living in a more healthy, long-lasting manner, but it can also improve your skin’s overall appearance. In essence, rutin is able to benefit your skin in perfecting its tone, and in adding to its luminosity and glow.
It must be noted that, again, it is quite difficult to estimate exactly how much rutin could be provided by each batch of bee pollen. Scientists have attempted to pinpoint the amount at about 16mg, but this number is in no way certain (due to the aforementioned immense differences in the ways that bees manufacture each and every batch of bee pollen). If bee pollen is not your thing, or you simply mistrust the rutin quantities in it, you can also obtain rutin’s benefits from foods like raspberries6 (11mg) and asparagus (about 23mg). All amounts are presented in quantities out of 100g.
Bee Pollen – The Secret To Young-looking Skin?
To explore this notion, we really have to delve into the science behind bee pollen. The main reason why it is said that this natural product can help you combat the aging of your skin lies in bee pollen’s DNA and RNA. Apparently, it is possible for the product’s DNA, as well as its RNA, to intersect with your own genetic buildup, serving to improve the condition of your skin. The idea is that while you ingest the bees’ product, their RNA and DNA can disintegrate into mere nucleotides. The latter can then allegedly work themselves into your DNA, refurbishing its DNA and RNA formula. While this may sound slightly creepy, the idea is that bee pollen’s nucleotides serve to nurture new cells for your skin’s surface. The result is reported to be a more creaseless complexion that is based on younger-looking skin.
How can this be explained? This scientific finding is founded on the notion that our DNA can expertly mend and continuously rejuvenate itself when we are young. However, when we begin to age, our DNA allegedly begins to lose this essential power. Proof of this comes in more rodent-based experiments, which show that mice potentially receive damage to their DNA at an hourly average of 4250 lesions.
Of course, humans tend to be a bit better off than that. Indeed, we are able to ‘re-use’ our nucleotides by making them into new, fresh DNA. What is more, we are able to essentially create personalized nucleotides out of glutamine and other potent amino acids. Last but not least, as humans have mastered the ability to obtain necessary nourishment from nature, we have also learned to get any needed nucleotides out of the things that we eat.
While all of this may sound a bit fantastical, we must remember that the essence of bee pollen lies in being able to create new plants out of the leftovers of old ones. Moreover, all types of bee pollen possess the ability to refurbish DNA, as all varieties of the product contain RNA and DNA.
Unfortunately, it has been posited that although using nucleotides to rejuvenate your skin sounds marvelous, these particles become eradicated during digestion. Luckily, scientists tried to uncover the truth in 20137, by testing the effects of ingesting nucleotides onto 50 rodents. Basically, the rats were fed nucleotides for most of their lives, and it was found that, indeed, the animals lived longer than their ‘regular’ counterparts. Not only that, but the way their body responded to aging was mitigated and they ended up living with a larger-than-average supply of antioxidants. Not only that, but another experiment found that rodents fed with nucleotides became smarter and more resourceful.
Significantly, all of this means that the rodents’ digestive systems in no way damaged the nucleotides. Our hope is that it is the same with humans. Indeed, the way the process works is that we ingest the RNA and DNA of bee pollen and our digestive system transforms this into nucleotides which essentially make up our nucleic acid. This means that your body will, of course, not be using bee pollen as genetic material, but a transformed, adjusted version of it – specially manufactured for you by your own system. All of this sounds so scientifically legitimate to us that we simply cannot imagine it not helping with something as unremarkable as acne.
Is Bee Pollen Right For Me?
Although the effect of bee pollen onto acne is currently controversial, it seems that we should not knock down this natural product. If no other of its properties can help your skin, its antioxidant content would certainly boost your body’s ability to fight inflammation8. Moreover, as mentioned, we really don’t know much about bee pollen’s benefits – there could be so many more advantage to using it as a remedy that are simply still unknown to us. Last but not least, even a simpler ingredient like honey has so many potential health-related advantages, that it seems illogical to dismiss bee pollen as a potential aide.
The most effective variety of bee pollen is the bee pollen pill. Even bees, themselves, don’t directly ingest the so-called balls of bee pollen, so opt for taking it in a concentrated, but well-manufactured form. Of course, you can also go for bee bread, as produced by bees, themselves, but that luxury can turn out to be quite expensive.
Refrain from ingesting bee pollen if you happen to be allergic to flower pollen. Indeed, several studies contradict themselves on whether or not an allergy to pollen’s pure form necessarily presupposes an allergy to bee pollen9, but there has been evidence of people having anaphylactic reactions to it – whether or not they were previously victims of hay fever. The best choice of action is to try out a little bit of the product (or a tiny bit of the concentrated bee pollen capsule) and only increase the dosage if you don’t experience any negative effects. Of course, when in doubt, contact your doctor first.
- Denisow B., Denisow-Pietrzyk M. Biological and therapeutic properties of bee pollen: a review. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2016;96(13):4303-9.
- Komosinska-Vassev K., Olczyk P., Kaźmierczak J., Mencner L., Olczyk K. Bee Pollen: Chemical Composition and Therapeutic Application. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015.
- Yıldız O., Can Z., Saral O., Yuluğ E., Oztürk F., Aliyazıcıoğlu R., Canpolat S., Kolaylı S. Hepatoprotective potential of chestnut bee pollen on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damages in rats. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013.
- Maruyama H., Sakamoto T., Araki Y., Hara H. Anti-inflammatory effect of bee pollen ethanol extract from Cistus sp. of Spanish on carrageenan-induced rat hind paw edema. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2010.
- Ketkar S., Rathore A., Kandhare A., Lohidasan S., Bodhankar S., Paradkar A., Mahadik K. Alleviating exercise-induced muscular stress using neat and processed bee pollen: oxidative markers, mitochondrial enzymes, and myostatin expression in rats. Integrative Medicine Research. 2015;4(3):147-160.
- Burton-Freeman B.M., Sandhu A.K., Edirisinghe I. Red Raspberries and Their Bioactive Polyphenols: Cardiometabolic and Neuronal Health Links. Advances in Nutrition. 2016;7(1):44–65.
- Xu M., Liang R., Guo Q., Wang S., Zhao M., Zhang Z., Wang J., Li Y. Dietary nucleotides extend the life span in Sprague-Dawley rats. The Journal of Nutrition, Health, Aging. 2013;17(3):223-9.
- Jannesar M., Sharif Soushtari M., Majd A., Pourpak Z. Bee Pollen Flavonoids as a Therapeutic Agent in Allergic and Immunological Disorders. Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 2017;16(3):171-182.
- Choi J., Jang Y., Oh J., Kim C., Hyun I. Bee Pollen-Induced Anaphylaxis: A Case Report and Literature Review. Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Research. 2015;7(5):513–517.
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