Why Royal Jelly Deserves a Spot In Your Skin-Care Routine
There's always a next big thing-a superfood, a trendy new workout, and a skin-care ingredient that blows up your Instagram feed. Royal jelly has been around for a while, but this honey bee by-product is about to become the buzzy ingredient of the moment. Here's why.
What is royal jelly?
Royal jelly is a secretion from the glands of worker bees-like a honey bee version of breast milk-that is used to nourish larvae. The only difference between queen bees and worker bees is their diet. Bees that are determined by the hive to become queens are bathed in royal jelly to further their sexual development and then are fed royal jelly for the rest of their life (if only we actually could be queen bees, amiright?). Historically, royal jelly was so precious, it was reserved for royalty (similar to the hives themselves) but now is readily produced and is used in dietary supplements and skin-care products. (P.S. Did you know bee pollen is used as a superfood smoothie booster? Just be mindful if you have allergies.)
Royal jelly has a yellow-y color and is a thick, milky consistency. "It's an emulsion of water, proteins, and fats and thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties," says Suzanne Friedler, M.D., dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
What are the benefits of royal jelly?
The composition of royal jelly makes it a multitasking ingredient in skin care. "It can fight signs of aging with the powerful vitamins B, C, and E, amino and fatty acids, minerals, and antioxidants which soothe and nourish skin," says Francesca Fusco, M.D., dermatologist in New York City. She recommends royal jelly for its protective, hydrating, and healing properties. (Related: Skin Care Products Dermatologists Love)
There are some studies which support the benefits of royal jelly. In one 2017 Scientific Reports study, researchers found that one of the compounds in royal jelly was responsible for wound healing in rats. "More studies are needed to determine the best uses for this ingredient, but there is certainly potential in skin healing, anti-aging, and for treating irregular pigmentation," says Dr. Friedler.
Who can't use royal jelly?
Since it is an ingredient related to bees, anyone with a bee sting or honey allergy will want to steer clear of royal jelly to avoid an allergic reaction.
How to use royal jelly
Add a few of these to your skin-care routines and Beyoncé won't be the only queen bee.
Mask: Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy ($56; sephora.com) warms on contact and hydrates with honey, royal jelly, and echinacea.
Serums: Bee Alive Royal Jelly Serum ($58; beealive.com) has hyaluronic acid, argan, and jojoba oils to soften skin and improve collagen production. With 63 percent propolis (a building block of bee hives) and 10 percent royal jelly, the Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence ($39; sokoglam.com) is packed with antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
Moisturizers: Stock up on Guerlain Abeille Royale Black Bee Honey Balm ($56; neimanmarcus.com) for winter as the deeply hydrating balm can be applied to face, hands, elbows, and feet. Tatcha The Silk Cream ($120; tatcha.com) also uses royal jelly in its gel face cream for its hydrating properties.
SPF: Jafra Play It Safe Sunscreen SPF 30 ($24; jafra.com) is a multitasking product with royal jelly for hydration combined with a blue light shield and broad spectrum SPF.