What to Know About Beeswax

Beeswax is a substance made by honeybees. It has many useful properties, not only for the success of the hive but also as a natural ingredient for consumer products. It can be used for household items, but there are also biological benefits.

Bees play an important role in keeping our world functioning. With the amount of pollination that they do, they contribute to various animal and plant species' survival, including our own. Not only that, bee products are now an integral part of consumer products. These products are growing in popularity, and help bring attention to all the work honeybees do for nature and people. 

What Is Beeswax?

Besides growing in demand as a natural alternative to plastics and synthetic chemicals, beeswax is an important material used for building the beehive. It is made to store food and house the young bee larvae. Beeswax is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which are formed into long carbon chains. This structure makes beeswax easy to sculpt once it’s been harvested and cleaned.

Worker bees make beeswax by turning their nectar and honey stores into compounds. They work together and use their small bodies to make the product. Those compounds are secreted from special glands on the bee's abdomen. 

A lot of work goes into making beeswax. Young worker bees spend most of their time making beeswax. Bees use six pounds of honey to make one pound of wax. The young worker bees cluster together to raise their body temperatures, which helps to make the wax easier to work with.

Benefits of Beeswax

Beeswax has numerous benefits for honeybees and their hives. This material plays an important role in the honeybee colony's function and health. 

The good news is that it's also useful to humans. Beeswax has been shown to have multiple therapeutic properties. The natural components of beeswax also give it healing properties. Beeswax products are used on the exterior of your skin. Unlike honey, it's not meant to be consumed. Some of these include:

There is a long history in European and Asian usage of beeswax in traditional medicine. More modern researchers are studying the antimicrobial properties of beeswax, and some studies have shown a reduction of the effect of salmonella and staphylococcus

Another benefit of beeswax is its low irritant content. This makes it popular in cosmetics and makeup. Because of beeswax's softening and protective properties, it's safe for many skin types. 


Uses of Beeswax

Beeswax has numerous uses. The wax has over 300 natural compounds in it, and has a pleasant scent. This makes it a popular material to use in human goods. 

Cosmetics. Beeswax is often added to creams, lotions, soaps, and lipstick. This is because it can improve skin's softness and hydration, and has antibiotic properties. This ingredient is increasingly seen in skincare items, as a natural alternative that is safe for sensitive skin.

Food coverings. Beeswax has become an alternative coating to other kinds of wax for candies, fruits, nuts, and coffee beans to name a few. You can find natural beeswax covers in the grocery store, which are reusable alternatives to plastic wrap. Beeswax is thus becoming more popular among people who are switching to sustainable lifestyles.

Polish. Beeswax has been used in furniture and shoe polish, but there are many technical uses for beeswax. It’s also been used to care for leather products. The different types of compounds found in beeswax make it a versatile product. 

Candles. Beeswax can be used as candle wax. Beeswax is naturally scented and makes for nice, natural candles. Candles made with beeswax were once popular. Now people have moved on to easier, more sustainable waves for candles. 

Honeybees are powerhouses capable of making all sorts of wonderful things. Buying local is a great way to support your area's bees. You can also check to see that your bee products are sustainably sourced. These actions may benefit both your surrounding environment and local economy.

WebMD Medical Reference



Amateur Entomologists’ Society: “Beeswax.”


Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine: “Beeswax: A minireview of its antimicrobial activity and its application in medicine.”

BEES4LIFE: “Health Benefits of Beeswax.”

frontiers in Pharmacology: “Therapeutic Properties of Bioactive Compounds from Different Honeybee Products.”

Journal of Apicultural Research: “Standard methods for Apis mellifera beeswax research.”

THE BRITISH BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION: “What do honey bees produce, besides honey?”

WORLD BEE DAY: “Honey and other bee products.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


Get Diet and Fitness Tips In Your Inbox

Eat better and exercise smarter. Sign up for the Food & Fitness newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.