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Beeswax (Cera alba)

Beeswax or "Bee Sweat" is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. The wax is formed into scales by eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments of worker bees, which discard it in or at the hive.

The new wax scales are initially glass-clear and colourless, becoming opaque after mastication by the worker bee. The wax of honeycomb is nearly white, but becomes progressively more yellow or brown by incorporation of pollen oils and propolis. Honey bees use the beeswax to build honeycomb cells in which their youngs are raised and honey and pollen are stored.

Beeswax has been used since prehistory as man's first plastic, as a lubricant and waterproofing agent, in lost wax casting of metals and glass, as a polish for wood and leather and for making candles, as an ingredient in cosmetics and as an artistic medium in encaustic painting.

Beeswax is edible, having similar negligible toxicity to plant waxes, and is approved for food use in most countries and in the European Union under the E number E901.

Chemically, beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols. Beeswax is a tough wax formed from a mixture of several chemical compounds. Its main constituents are palmitate, palmitoleate, and oleate esters of long-chain aliphatic alcohols.

Purified and bleached beeswax is used in the production of food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. The three main types of beeswax products are yellow, white, and beeswax absolute. Yellow beeswax is the crude product obtained from the honeycomb, white beeswax is bleached or filtered yellow beeswax, and beeswax absolute is yellow beeswax treated with alcohol.

Use of beeswax in skin care and cosmetics has been increasing. A German study found beeswax to be superior to similar barrier creams (usually mineral oil-based creams such as petroleum jelly), when used according to its protocol. Beeswax is used in lip balm, lip gloss, hand creams, salves, and moisturizers; and in cosmetics such as eye shadow, blush, and eye liner. Beeswax is also an important ingredient in moustache wax and hair pomades, which make hair look sleek and shiny.

Find Organic Beeswax and Beeswax Absolute in the following BVO Products.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.