The world has given us many natural remedies for skin care, manuka honey is no exception. Think about it, if bacteria and viruses occur naturally in the world, then there must be a natural element that can equally break them down. Honey has long been recognized as a natural remedy for a number of issues and conditions. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties have made it super useful worldwide. But what if there was a honey that was more powerful than the rest? A honey that consists of higher concentrations of all the good stuff. Luckily, that honey exists.

Manuka honey has taken the world of natural remedies by storm since the early ’90s. You have probably seen it in skincare products at your local grocery or convenience store. But what is manuka honey and why is it so popular? What makes it so special? We’re glad you asked. Buckle up as we quickly explore the awesomeness of manuka honey.


What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is created in New Zealand and Australia by bees that pollinate a local bush, called the manuka bush. Since ancient times, honey has been regarded as medicinal but manuka honey is prized above all others. “All honey has some antibiotic qualities,”  Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, nutritionist and author of Eating in Color told Health. “In typical honey, it is hydrogen peroxide that provides this benefit, whereas in manuka honey, it’s UMF that is antibiotic.” UMF is an acronym for Unique Manuka Factor, which is a grading method used for manuka honey. We will discuss more about UMF later.  

manuka honey bee

Manuka honey is widely used as a natural antibacterial ointment for cuts, wounds, and other injuries. It is also known to work effectively against stubborn bacteria. Manuka honey has a very high concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO), which is considered to be the primary characteristic of where the antibacterial properties come from.

Manuka honey is used as a natural ointment for wounds of all kinds. It has been hailed as a go-to germ fighter in an age of resistance to conventional antibiotics. Proponents also claim that manuka honey can treat other conditions from acne to sinus issues.

Manuka honey hasn’t been used very long as a traditional remedy. It’s the product of the New Zealand scrub plant that gives it its name. European honey bees introduced it to the area in the early 19th century. When bees pollinate from this plant, their honey is more potent than standard honey bee honey. This is because it has a higher concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO). The more MGO there is present in honey, the more antibacterial and antiviral impact it has.


History of Manuka Honey

Manuka honey would not be possible without the spread of Apis mellifera, a western species of bee necessary for honey production. The Apis mellifera is now on six continents due to humans bringing them around the globe to help commercialize honey production. Mary Bumby was an English beekeeper and sister of a missionary who took a six-month journey from England to New Zealand in 1839. She brought along with her the Apis mellifera.

The western species of bee necessary for commercial honey production, Apis mellifera, is not native to New Zealand. In fact, the colony-building insects weren’t introduced to the Southern Hemisphere until 1839. Their arrival, along with the subsequent development of an entire industry, is owed to the fastidious stewardship of Mary Bumby—an English beekeeper and sister of a Methodist missionary. She set up an apiary on the island, and from there the bees began to produce manuka honey.

Although local tribes saw the medical significance of manuka honey early on, it didn’t gain popularity for centuries. In 1980, renowned New Zealand biochemist was able to help manuka flower gain its first steps in commercial success. He confirmed the antibacterial properties of manuka honey. “All honey produces hydrogen peroxide when diluted,” declared Von Eaton. “Only manuka honey, however, also contains those extra substances that allow it to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria commonly found in chronic wounds, bed sores and leg ulcers.” While all honey has antibacterial properties due to Peroxide Activity (PA), manuka honey has unique antibacterial properties called Non-Peroxide activity (NPA).

Soon after Von Eatons declaration, a group was created to certify the strength of the properties in manuka honey. Dubbed the Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF, it functions much like the SPF rating you see on sunscreen lotion. Medical grade manuka honey has a 10+ certified UMF rating. For more information on how the UMF scale works, head here.

By the early 90’s, manuka honey gained popularity in the United States and has been a fixture in the world of natural remedies ever since.


Medical Properties of Manuka Honey

Many studies and anecdotal evidence have proven that manuka honey has powerful medicinal properties. It has become well known for three different medical factors. These factors are are healing wounds, antiviral properties, and antibacterial properties. Together, these factors make manuka honey one of the best natural remedies on the planet. 


All honey is known to be acidic, with a pH balance between 3.2 and 4.5. Manuka honey’s acidity is helpful when it comes to healing. Acidity blocks enzymes that break down proteins that the body needs to heal itself. Honey also helps to remove fluid from wounds, which helps remove decay. This speeds up the body’s healing abilities. Bacteria, much like all living things, needs water to survive. Honey also removes fluids from bacteria, which kills them. All of this helps wounds to heal faster.


Honey has been used for its antiviral properties since ancient times. Science has proven that this power comes from the hydrogen peroxide that is created in the bee’s pollination process. Hydrogen peroxide is effective at combating hundreds of microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. Methylglyoxal (MGO), which is present in all honey, shows to be more concentrate in manuka honey. MGO is found in the nectar of manuka plants, and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. The higher the MGO content, the more antiviral and antibacterial properties the honey has. Subsequently, the FDA has approved bandages infused with manuka honey for both prescription and over the counter sales.


Manuka honey is known to be effective against several forms of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, which is known to cause skin infections such as pimples, cellulitis, impetigo, scalded skin syndrome,  and abscesses. It is also responsible for ailments such as pneumonia and meningitis. This awesome honey has shown promise in attacking biofilm, which is a slippery layer of bacteria that is very difficult to overcome once it is formed.


Manuka Honey For Skin

When it comes to “Is manuka honey good for the skin”, remember that manuka honey is known to improve your skin’s appearance and also fight minor conditions. That’s why you see so many major skincare companies touting the fact that their product contains manuka honey. It helps to balance the pH scale of the skin, promoting healthy growth. Not to mention that it kills bacteria that can cause breakouts. 

Manuka honey is also known to interact with free radicals, much like antioxidants do. It contains Gallic acid, which is known as a free radical scavenger. Because of this, manuka honey has also been praised as an anti-aging agent. Using manuka honey on the skin can lead to softer, healthier skin that has a noticeable sheen to it. 

It is also a natural humectant for human skin, which means it helps the skin retain moisture. Subsequently, it has become a main ingredient in many moisturizers and emollients.

With all these great benefits, it’s no wonder why we decided to incorporate manuka honey into our makeup remover towelettes.



Because of its popularity, many manufacturers are making false claims about manuka honey. Its important to remember that real manuka honey must come from New Zealand or Australia. Counterfeit manuka honey has been found in several products. Always read labels and check the authenticity of the company you are purchasing from. According to the UMFHA (Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association) 1,700 tons of manuka honey is made for commercial distribution in New Zealand yearly while 10,000 tons are being sold annually. With some much counterfeit products on the market, it’s important that consumers can trust who they purchase from. 



Is manuka honey good for your skin? Yes! Manuka honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and healing properties that make it amazing for our product. At The Wipery, we care about our clients. Using manuka honey was a no-brainer for us, in our search to provide consumers with high-quality cleansing products. Its properties have historically helped people around the world. The research and anecdotal evidence of the strength of manuka honey are too mighty to ignore. That is why we chose it for our products.  Engineered to kill germs and nourish the skin, our wipes are superior because of the ingredients we use. Founded in the genuine spirit of yearning to help others, The Wipery is proud to bring the world safe and superior wipes.