A new fad has hit the market, recently gaining attention because the Duchess of Cornwall was using it. This product is referred to as the “Bee Venom Mask®”, from Heaven by Deborah Mitchell. This mask is now being touted as “Nature’s Botox®”.
Does it merit consideration, or will you be stung (sorry, I couldn’t help it) by another misleading advertisement?
Since the claims are saying this is “Nature’s Botox®,” lets see why they’re comparing it to Botulinum toxin-type A, which is also found in nature. The words “organic face lift” is how they’re describing the results you’ll see from using this “Magic Bee Venom®.” But, if any of you have ever been stung by a bee, you know that swelling doesn’t necessarily mean beautiful.
The main component in honeybee venom is mellitin. Yes, it is a natural substance which is a strong base alkaline peptide made from honeybees, but this is also the main irritant that causes so many horrible side-effects when one is stung. They are essentially banking on the fact that you will only have the side-effect of swelling, and not one of the other more serious life-threatening emergencies like anaphylaxis.
Bee stings, nor their mellitin, can immobilize muscles like Botox® or any other FDA approved muscle relaxant will. Mellitin merely gives a temporary, almost-confused effect to the tissues it is applied to. This superficial “confusion” can result in some tightening and swelling on the face, but no more than the use of a drying clay mask would. Clay will help pull together tissues for a brief time, but the results are very short-lived. The same is true with the chemical venom from the honeybees.
Unfortunately, many people equate the words “organic” and “natural” as synonymous with healthy and safe. Many buy products because they believe it is more beneficial to use something created naturally than something received from a syringe. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is where I must remind you that just because something is organic, doesn’t mean it’s safe from potentially harmful substances. Take the following examples; all completely natural, but devastatingly harmful if used inappropriately:
Hydrochloric Acid- This is created by your own body, yet can destroy your own tissues.
Arsenic- This is found naturally in metals, but this natural poison interacts with proteins, and is often used in pesticides because it can be lethal.
Hemlock- This is a known poison that grows wild. This comes from the Apiaceous family.
Queen Anne’s Lace- This flower/weed can be found all over the world and can be used as a contraceptive, because it is able to dislodge a newly fertilized egg from its hold. This weed comes from the Daucus Carota family.
Poison Ivy- This natural plants secretes an oil that almost everyone is allergic to. Itching, redness, blistering and oozing are common reactions to those who come into contact with this plant. And if Poison Ivy is cut or burned, the fumes are potentially deadly to animals and plants who breathe it in.
All these are Natural yes, but definitely not good for you!
So, if nothing else, please realize that companies love to make claims of their products being natural, green, organic, or pure. And while this may be true- it does not mean it’s safe.
Botox, and other muscle relaxers, Dysport and Xeomin, have tons of research and testing to gain FDA approval for cosmetic purposes. Bee venom is escaping for now this needed approval, but I am betting that in the future we will hear of many bad reactions and you will see the product fade away and be replaced by the new kid on the block, whatever that may be.