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True wonder ingredients are few and far between, and are often synthesised or man-made, like retinol or hyaluronic acid. That means when one is found in nature, there’s a veritable gold rush – and where a gold rush is found, counterfeits are never far behind.
The Maori tribes in New Zealand have been au fait with the benefits of Manuka honey for centuries – but now that Western medical and beauty communities have woken up to its power, it’s estimated that up to 83% of Manuka honey on the market is either not as potent or pure as claimed.
Real Manuka honey comes from a tree native to New Zealand, and the majority of these trees still grow on Maori land. In the 1980s, the global medical community began to do what the Maori had for years, and use Manuka honey to soothe burns, cuts and scraps and even eczema. Cosmetically, it’s brilliant at nourishing and repairing the skin, while providing hydration and antioxidant properties.
To avoid buying fool’s gold, always choose Manuka products bottled in New Zealand with a UMF rating of 15 or higher – UMF being the third-party standardisation for strength. Clinical pharmacist Yasmin Mahmood at Dermatica advised that if you’re not sure of your Manuka’s potency, there are a handful of other actives that promote skin healing. “Vitamin C is actually great for the immune system and for skin healing, as well as providing some antiseptic benefits,” explained Mahmood.
“It offers a strong antioxidant profile, as well as being very good for acne scarring or any kind of high pigment on the skin.” Curious? La Roche Posay Vitamin C10 fuses a powerful dose of Vitamin C with mineral-rich thermal water to comfort and rehydrate the skin. Mahmood also noted that retinol has similar benefits, working to help increase the blood circulation to the area, which in turn, ensures timely delivery of minerals and oxygen to the skin.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Cream has a potent 1% retinol, fused with peptides and essential fatty acids to help plump and rejuvenate the skin – so if you’re actually looking for an all-over skin MOT, retinol may deliver on many fronts. “Silver is also often added to wound dressings, as it has antibacterial properties – in fact, a lot of Manuka products use silver, too.”