Many, if not all of us, have tried using a product with questionable ingredients to improve our skin at one point or another. There are surprising DIY face masks that might have you second guessing an application, but what makes people squirm more are the bizarre ingredients that make up some of the most effective skin care products on the market. These five skin treatments have had their moment in the spotlight even though they may shock you.
Believe it or not, the use of snails in beauty goes all the way back to ancient Greece. Hippocrates (you know, the father of Western medicine, of the Hippocratic oath that all doctors have to take) prescribed using crushed snails for various skin treatments. Thankfully we don’t need to mush those cute little mollusks to get the benefits we’re looking for anymore. Nowadays scientists and beauty product manufacturers have found that we only need the gooey trail left behind when they move. Snail slime is used in many Korean beauty products, like Mizon All-in-One Snail Repair Cream, and we know how great their skin care routines are. Benefits are said to include skin hydration, wrinkle fighting abilities, and reduction of acne scarring and blemishes.
Bee venom has been compared to a natural botox because of its ability to stimulate production of collagen which can smooth, lift and tighten skin. British tabloids claim that Kate Middleton used the product before her wedding and Gwyneth Paltrow has said that she had “been given bee venom therapy for an old injury” and after the treatment the injury disappeared. If bee venom isn’t enough of a shock, snake venom is also used for skin care. Although it isn’t actually used in many products anymore, companies have produced a synthetic peptide that mimics the properties of venom from the Temple Viper, a poisonous snake from southeast Asia. This synthetic venom works to prevent the formation and/or deepening of wrinkles. Again, Mizon offers a product with bizarre ingredient, but you can find these venoms in Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Fast-Acting Serum or Manuka Doctor Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask.
You know Placenta, that temporary organ that comes out as of a mother along with her baby during birth? Well, sheep and human placenta is not only helpful for having a baby inside you, it’s also used for facial mask treatments that aim to firm, lift and hydrate skin. That’s because placenta is rich in vitamins, proteins and enzymes that promote healthy skin growth. The treatments, typically in the form of sheet face masks, are said to treat acne and promote collagen production. Crazy, right? You can find Placenta face masks readily available in some foreign countries, while the US still seems hesitant to grab hold of the trend. Many famous people with youthful skin have been known to use the treatments.
Umm… Yeah. One rejuvenating facial cream made popular by Oprah is actually made of skin cells derived from tiny pieces of human foreskin cultivated in labs. Skinmedica, the company behind the cream, claims that no actual human tissue, only hormones grown from the tissue are included in their final product. A similar process is also used to help burn victims create new skin where they might not be able to otherwise. Skinmedica says that in over 20 years of producing the cream they have only used tissue from one willfully donated foreskin!
Who would have thought putting bird droppings on your face would be a good idea? Japanese and Korean cultures have actually been using guano from the bush warbler Nightingale since around the year 800! The Japanese found that the when dried and turned into cream the guano helps the skin hold in moisture. These properties were especially beneficial for Geishas and Kabuki actors who wore traditional white makeup made with zinc and lead, which often caused major skin disease. The guano completely removed the makeup from the performers and also had the added benefit of conditioning and soothing their skin. Today farms in Japan specifically monitor the Nightingales’ diets and habitats so bacteria isn’t an issue, but you’ll have to go to a spa if you want to try a “Geisha facial”.
Would you try any of these, or have you? I’m interested to hear if you’re totally grossed out or willing to give these a go.
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