Bee-auty prod­uct puts sting on age lines

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life -

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).

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