Bee-sting beauty


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011

Victoria Beckham is said to be a fan of bee venom

ACTRESSES and celebrities have long championed bizarre ingredients – from snake poison to sheep’s placenta – in an attempt to look youthful and flawless.

And now some of Hollywood’s clearest complexions can be credited to another unusual substance – bee venom.

Film and television stars flocked to the gifting suites at the Golden Globes last weekend to collect free samples of Manuka Doctor’s Apitherapy skincare line, in which the active ingredient is purified bee venom. The Duchess of Cambridge, Victoria Beckham and Kylie Minogue are also reported to be fans of the substance.

Developed by South Korean scientists, the Apitherapy range, available from Holland and Barrett, is formulated to reduce signs of ageing by enriching and moisturising skin.

The venom is collected from the bees using a special glass surface placed alongside the gate of the hive. A weak electrical current encourages the bees to gently sting the glass.

Because the bees are stinging a surface they can’t penetrate their abdomens remain intact so they are unharmed and don’t die. The bee venom is then dried, harvested and purified to remove any unwanted impurities such as soil, dust or pollen.

When applied to the skin the products encourage the body to react in a similar way as if you had been lightly stung, increasing the blood flow to skin cells stimulating collagen growth and cell renewal.

Research biologist Dr Sang Mi Han, who helped develop the products, says: “Collagen is used by the body to rebuild new skin cells, helping to keep skin smooth and wrinkle-free.

“As we age the number of these collagen-forming skin cells decreases as does the activity.

“Purified bee venom has been shown in research to re-stimulate the natural production of collagen through increased fibroblast (connective tissue cells) activity and renewal which in turn reduces skin ageing, keeping skin looking more youthful.”

With prices ranging from £3.49 for a lip balm to £49.99 for the Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask the products are also reasonably priced. Meanwhile Dr Sunil Chopra, clinical director of the London Dermatology Centre, says that it is quite plausible the products could increase collagen production.

“Bee venom has been shown to increase protein production in animals and suppresses inflammation so it is likely that it could be effective in anti-ageing although we need a direct formal study looking at its anti-ageing effects,” he says.

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