From foreskin facial to bird poo to the client’s own blood, the weirdest facial treatments
- When it comes to beauty, there is no limit to what people will put on their skin
- These five facials have trended around the world in the past few years
Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock got tongues wagging when the A-list star confessed on the TV show Ellen that she and fellow A-lister Cate Blanchett had indulged in an unusual beauty treatment at a New York salon. They coined the treatment the “penis facial”.
The procedure they had involved a special epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum that uses stem cells cultivated from the discarded foreskins of Korean infants.
EGF is said to help rejuvenate the skin and correct discolouration.
It’s odd but not surprising. The beauty industry is known for churning out all sorts of extreme procedures and treatments as women (and men) seek eternal youth.
Here are some others that register on the wacky scale.
Bird poo facial
In the 2012 film Mirror Mirror, the evil queen played by Julia Roberts undergoes extreme beauty treatments to woo a prince, including applying bird droppings to her face.
However, the procedure is not just the stuff of silly film. Bird poo facials can be traced back to 18th century Japan, when geishas used mashed up droppings of the nightingale (don’t worry, it’s sanitised) to create a smooth white porcelain surface.
Known as uguisu no fun (it literally means “nightingale faeces”), the substance has naturally high levels of urea, which helps the skin retain moisture, and guanine, an amino acid that leaves the skin glowing. According to media reports, Victoria Beckham – and occasionally her hubby David – are fans of the treatment.
Live snail facial
Another treatment from. Japan has a shorter pedigree, having been launched in 2013, when it was reported beauty salons were letting live snails crawl on clients’ faces to create a “youthful glow”.
The snails’ mucus has a powerful mix of antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and proteins, which help the skin retain moisture, soothe inflammations and even act as an exfoliant.
In 2013 reports circulated that women in China were flocking to beauty salons to indulge in a hot new treatment called flame facial, also known as huǒliáo, where open flames are used to stimulate cell regeneration. The procedure is pretty simple: soak a towel in alcohol and place it on your problem skin (it’s called a facial, but can be used on all parts of the body). The towel is then set on fire so the skin is warmed. And to answer that burning question, the clients do not get burnt.
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The same year, reality TV star Kim Kardashian gave the vampire facial exposure when she Instagrammed a picture of herself undergoing the treatment that involves drawing blood from a person’s body, placing it in a centrifuge, then reapplying it to the face, supposedly to promote cell renewal. She later blogged that she regretted the controversial treatment.
Bee venom facial
For years apitherapy, a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products such as honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom, has been used to “cure” a range of ailments from rheumatism and migraines to stomach pains and high blood cholesterol. Bee venom treatments have also been creating, erm, buzz in beauty salons around the globe. (The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, says she got her 2011 wedding day glow thanks to a bee venom facial).