Cosmetic ingredients with a venomous bite


While we might wish to avoid venomous snakes and spiders in our everyday lives, the study of such risky critters can be a great source of ingredient inspiration, as Steve Trim explains

Putting them on your face is the last thing most people would think of at the mention of the word ‘venom’.

However, these fascinating substances have been used since ancient times for a wide range of actions, some real and many more based in folklore.

Ancient Egyptians used honeybee (Apis melifera) venom for various ailments thousands of years ago; and this practice was reportedly going on in China and Greece even earlier. Hippocrates is even believed to have used bee venom to cure arthritis.

Scientific understanding of bee venom is more recent, with the first papers on the constituents of bee venom published in 1926.

Its functional use as an active ingredient in cosmetics, meanwhile, is a 21st century development appearing to originate from Korea.

From the hive

As with all venoms, honeybee venom is a complex cocktail of active ingredients that all have differing effects, hence the many different claims supporting the use of bee venom.

Rodial dominates the UK venom cosmetics market with its Bee Venom range, which claims the rejuvenating effects of the venom active.

This is a logical result of taming the ...

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