Royal Jelly is a secretion made by honey bees to nourish their larvae and help to transform them into adult queen bees. It is made in the hypopharynx glands of nurse bees. It is composed of 67% water, 12.5% protein, 11% simple sugars, 6% fatty acids and 3.5% 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid. The main protein, royalactin, is what turns a young bee larvae into a queen bee. Royal jelly has a thick, milky consistency and is yellow-ish white in color.
The use of royal jelly in humans has been around since ancient times. Mostly as treatments for physical ailments and chronic diseases. Nowadays, it is commonly ingested as an immunity boosting supplement and has also been used to lower blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol. More recently, it has been gaining popularity in skincare.
In skincare, royal jelly is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects, as well as its ability to heal wounds and act as an antibacterial agent. The antioxidants found in royal jelly help to eliminate free radicals that typically cause premature cell aging. Vitamins B, C and E, along with amino and fatty acids, can help to soothe and nourish the skin. The amino acids in royal jelly can also boost collagen and keep the skin looking firm and supple. Royal jelly’s fats, suspended as a natural emulsion, have moisturizing properties that protect skin from dehydration and reduce inflammation.
Royal jelly can be found in many different types of skincare products such as masks, serums, moisturizers and much more. A few popular examples are:
A warming facemask with honey and royal jelly extract. It is used to boost hydration and provide a glowing complexion.
A lightweight serum with royal jelly extract and hyaluronic acid. Formulated to promote collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A balm containing ouessant black bee honey and royal jelly extract. It is used to nourish and replenish severely dry skin.
Royal jelly is a highly unstable substance and will break down easily if not stored correctly. It is recommended to store products with royal jelly in a dark area and to seal container tightly to maintain the longevity of the product.
There is not enough current research or medical evidence that royal jelly is completely safe to be ingested or used topically. At this time, the FDA currently does not support the claim of health or skincare benefits and does not recommend the sale of products containing royal jelly.
In fact, there have been documented cases of adverse reactions such as, hives, asthma and anaphylaxis, but mostly when the product is taken orally. It is best to test the product, if topical, on a small area before using and to exert caution. It is also important for those with a bee allergy to steer clear of using products with royal jelly since it could trigger an allergic reaction. It seems that most products containing royal jelly do not have high concentrations of it and therefore, are probably safe.
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