Here in America, we do some strange things for beauty. Some are techniques rooted in ancient cultures, while others were born of modern science. Strange skin care techniques involve weird ingredients and unbelievable procedures. We can’t tell you how well they work, but we can promise you they’re strange.
Placenta Face Mask
Usually created from sheep placenta, this mask is hailed for its (possible) anti-aging benefits. It is often applied directly following a chemical peel or microdermabrasion so it is applied to a fresh layer of skin. Placental extract boasts nutrients, such as growth factors and amino acids. Proponents claim that the nutrients in placenta facials increase cell turnover and collagen production. If you want to try this treatment, you can have it applied in a spa or purchase them over-the-counter (OTC) for home use.
This procedure involves a doctor injecting your skin with platelet-rich plasma (PSP) or platelet-rich fibrin matrix (PRFM). Known also as The Vampire Facelift, the procedure aims to make your skin look fuller and younger by stimulating new collagen creation. In order to create the plasma, your own blood is extracted, then spun in a centrifuge to separate the plasma. Some doctors claim that using the patients’ own blood may lead to fewer side effects than procedures using synthetic ingredients.
This ancient Egyption alternative medicine applies heated cups to the skin to create a suction, which is supposed to increase blood flow. The idea is that better circulation can aid the body in fighting conditions, such as acne and shingles. The procedure may be done using bamboo, glass, or earthenware cups. Typically in the U.S. it is done “dry,” which means the cups are simply heated to created a vacuum on the skin, then removed. An alternative form, “wet cupping,” involves lancing the skin after the cups are removed, then reapplying the cups to suck out a small amount of blood.
In 2008, so-called “doctor fish” made their debut in the United States. Garra rufa, their proper name, have been used in Turkey for more than 100 years. The little fish eat dead skin cells, so when you slip your tootsies into the warm foot bath, your calluses become their lunch. Fortunately for your feet, they don’t have teeth, so the pedicure is not painful. However, it is possible to have minor bleeding. This could be the weirdest pedicures you ever have, unless of course you live in one of the 14 states who have banned them from spas due to cleanliness concerns. Those states see re-using fish in a similar manner to re-using pedicure instruments — unsanitary.
Bee Venom Mask
Recently brought into the spotlight by Kate Middleton, skin serums and masks containing bee venom are thought to produce a youthful, glowing effect. The products claim to trick the skin into thinking it has been stung, thus plumping it up naturally. Bee Venom products range from $50 masks from a beauty counter to pricey spa treatments. Some products may be uncomfortable to use, so be sure to follow instructions carefully.
Caution: People allergic to bee stings should not try to use bee venom products.
While new and new-to-us skin care techniques can sound promising, sometimes the hype is more promising than the outcome. Use caution when it comes to your health. Consider checking with your doctor before trying really strange or very new skin products and techniques.