Bee-auty product puts sting on age lines
behind it, was interesting, and we wanted to develop a more organic — more of a natural emphasis — with our cream because that is what Wedderspoon is all about,” she says. “So we have developed our own formulation, and we are really pleased with it.”
Besides the venom, the cream contains organic active manuka honey and wax, apricot, cocoa and avocado oils and lots of other organic stuff. It doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfates, petroleum, mineral oil or parabens.
When applied to the face, the cream feels nourishing and the venom provokes a slight tingling sensation followed by a tightening. It can be used as a mask or a day or night cream.
Vancouver allergist Ross Chang says there is logic to the product.
“It probably works,” he says, adding that he hasn’t had any experience with it yet. “What the body is trying to do is heal itself against this poison. As a consequence it starts making new tissues.”
The trick for the manufacturers, Chang says, is to use enough venom to stimulate the process but not so much that it would cause redness and swelling. A small sampling in the newsroom caused no redness or swelling.
An Internet search reveals that honeybee venom contains at least 18 active substances. These include the peptides melittin and apamin. Melittin causes localized pain and inflammation but also has a moderate anti-bacterial and antifungal effect. More importantly, it is an anti-inflammatory that is being used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism and osteoarthritis.
People with bee allergies are urged not to use this beauty product, however. Chang warns even non- a l l e r gi c people can become sensitive to toxins such as bee venom over time so that one day, even after years of use, they have a severe reaction.
“The risk is if you sensitize them to an insect sting, any time you get stung with the insect you could have an anaphylactic reaction and have to go to the emergency room.”
Some people say they notice a positive change in their skin after five to seven days using bee venom. Others say it takes weeks or months to make a difference.
Martin says the venom has a cumulative effect. Each time it is applied, more collagen and elastin are produced.
No injections, no paralysis — and no bees harmed. To harvest the venom, beekeepers put a glass lid over their hives, preventing the bees from leaving. Frustrated, the bees sting the glass. Releasing its stinger normally kills a honeybee, but the stinger can’t penetrate the glass and remains in the bee. The venom collects on the glass.
“It is so expensive,” says Martin. “The going rate for the venom is $250 per gram.” One sting contains about 50 micrograms.
Queen of The Hive by Wedder-spoon will retail in health food stores for $77.99, but you can get it online for $72.99 for 50 mL (wedder-spoon.ca).