From snail facials to blood moisturiser: the strangest things people have done for their skin

22nd May 19 | Beauty

You know what they say – beauty is pain.

Macro photography of the hand of the beautician with the help of a special brush puts on the face of the girl a golden mask in the spa

The pressure on women – particularly those in the public eye – to defy the ageing process is intense, so it’s perhaps no surprise people have come up with some pretty wild ways to maintain a bright and youthful complexion.

If a charcoal face mask is the oddest treatment you have tried so far in a bid to turn back time, read on – there are some who go much further in search of wrinkle-free skin.

We asked advanced aesthetic doctor Preema Vig for her thoughts on some of the strangest-sounding treatments we have come across. Here is what we discovered.

Snail mucin

With the huge global popularity of K-Beauty, South Korea is undoubtedly leading the way in skincare. The K-Beauty vibe is all about glowing, clear skin, and who wouldn’t want that?

However, if you do want the fresh-faced look the Korean way, you might have to try some strange treatments – like putting snail mucin, found in the slime from a snail’s trail, on your face.

Dr Vig says: “It’s an interesting proposition in skincare products because snail mucin naturally contains ingredients which are beneficial for the skin, including proteins, elastin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and copper peptides.”

Explaining how these ingredients can help the skin, she says: “Hyaluronic acid attracts and boosts hydration. Glycolic acid belongs in the group of alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs, which remove dead skin cells.

“In skincare, it’s used as a resurfacing agent in its natural form sourced from sugar cane or made in the lab in various concentrations.”

Luckily, you won’t have to find a snail in your garden for this treatment (although that would probably be the cheaper option).

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Brand: @cosrx . Product: Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence. Perfect for: All skin types . Okay, you might be wondering — snail? Snail slime? Eww?? . I had the same thoughts at first, but think of how cute little snails traverse on their rocky, planty, cool journey. Their slime actually protects their bare skin from getting cut/injured. The principle works the same for your face. . This product is formulated with 96% snail mucin, no water or fillers added! How cool is that! . After my first use I saw this nice glow on my face, and after a week of use my skin has less weird bumps. It definitely made my skin brighter and plumper. It also has anti-aging properties so it's perfect for us 20-somethings :p . 😬Consistency: It has a viscous and syrupy texture due to the snail slime but I actually love it, that way I know my skin is getting some good care. . 😬Scent: This is perfect for sensitive skin because it has no fragrance added at all. I prefer more natural ingredients in products rather than synthetically-perfumed ones. . 😬Price: 900php It's quite pricey but i'd say it's worth every peso. I've used 3 bottles of this already and my S.O. loves using it too. We share it and it has lasted us for a couple of months now. Go get it, your skin will thank you!

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You can easily buy moisturisers and serums containing mucin. They’re available at different price points – there’s the COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream £17, from Look Fantastic, or you can have a dedicated facial incorporating the substance (the Escarglow treatment from plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman in New York costs from £230).

Bee sting therapy

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As the leader of wellness site Goop, the world often looks to Gwyneth Paltrow for the latest health or beauty craze. Back in 2016, she told the New York Times: “I’ve been stung by bees. It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy. People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.”

Vig says: “Melittin, the active compound in apitoxin (bee venom), has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to be able to treat a range of ailments.”

However, apitherapy is not recommended – last year it was reported that a Spanish woman had developed a severe reaction to the treatment, dying a few weeks later of organ failure. Vig adds: “Apitherapy should not be used by those who are highly allergic, as it can cause anaphylactic shock and even stroke.”

Blood moisturisers

Models like Karolina Kurkova and Hailey Bieber are fans of this unusual treatment from Dr Barbara Sturm. For around £1,100 a pot, you’ll get a specially-tailored moisturiser infused with platelets from your own blood. It’s supposed to smooth out wrinkles and blemishes.

The principle is similar to the creepy vampire facial (favoured by Kim Kardashian) where plasma is extracted from your blood and injected back into your face. The result is meant to make you look younger, but it sure is a gory way to get there.

“There are many benefits of utilising platelet-rich plasma (PRP),” explains Vig. “These range from skin improvements to stimulating tissue and or hair growth. This is based on the principle that injecting PRP into damaged tissues will stimulate your body to grow new, healthy cells and promote healing.”

Penis facials

Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale and Sandra Bullock are just some of the stars who are said to have tried out the so-called ‘penis facial’. Officially known as the Hollywood EGF facial, this particular treatment was developed by aesthetician Georgia Louise.

“This is actually a nickname for a facial incorporating the use of a serum made with cells cloned from newborn foreskins – hence the tongue-in-cheek nickname and is an EGF (epidermal growth factor) facial,” says Vig. “Stem cells work to encourage skin cells to turn over rapidly and regenerate, so they’re often used for brightening, exfoliating, and healing the skin.”

The serum is applied using the microneedling technique which Vig says is “to stimulate regeneration and collagen production”.

More collagen equals plumper skin, so we can’t argue with that.

© Press Association 2019