February 7, 2013

Do You Know What’s In Your Face Cream?

Katja Rahlwes8

Creams – the miraculous concoctions that promise magical effects, from revitalising a tired face to making aging signs disappear just like that, are a key-element in a woman’s beauty arsenal. However, among the elaborately-named ingredients and miraculous proprieties, some of the lotions that we smear on our faces on a daily basis to mask flaws and highlight a younger face, also contain a series of truly unusual components.

We all know how far women would go to look young and beautiful – from snake massages to bathing in a pool of dead-skin-cell-eating fish, but have you ever stopped to wonder where exactly you would draw the line when it comes to putting weird stuff on your face for the sake of beauty?

Most unusual ingredients in creams come from ancient cultures, when people used to make their own lotions, in which they put whatever could be found in the respective areas where they lived. A series of these ingredients have proven so effective that they are still use for the making of creams nowadays.

A very popular ingredient in creams is placental tissue, thanks to its high concentration of proteins, good for the skin, as well as for hair. Although initiated in the United States during the 1940s, the practice of using placenta in producing face creams was put on hold for a while, being considered a health rick due to hygienic factors. Currently, placental tissue is officially approved for use in creams, being thoroughly processed beforehand and then mixed with a series of special agents which prevent it from developing any bacteria.

Another ingredient often used not only for making creams, but also in perfumes, is ambergris. Sounds perfectly OK, doesn’t it? That’s until you find out it’s actually…whale vomit. Ambergris is a flammable, waxy substance produced by the whales’ digestive systems, and harvested for its special proprieties. Initially used as a fixing agent for perfumes, it was later replaced with synthetic compounds, but has maintained its popularity as an ingredient in moisturising creams, as well as an aphrodisiac.

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Not tempted to smear your face with whale vomit? Then how about a facial with…bird poop? Used by Geishas in order to achieve a flawless porcelain-like complexion, the practice has resurfaced in modern times, with celebrity fans such as Tom Cruise and Victoria Beckham swearing by it. The ”Geisha Facial” offered by the Shizuka Day Spa in New York, involves covering the skin in a concoction made out of powdered nightingale droppings, mixed with a series of other ingredients. The uric acid in the droppings promises to revitalise your complexion, making it as perfect as that of a true Geisha.

The are countless TV shows as well as written articles about surviving in the wild, teaching us how to get a snake’s venom out of our bodies as soon as possible, but what would you say if you found out that a certain amount of snake venom is not only not lethal, but, on the contrary, rivals with Botox? A series of creams containing a high concentration of snake venom, mixed with a couple of other ingredients, promise an anti-wrinkle effect similar to that of a Botox injection.

Other creams with unusual ingredients? The snail-slime cream used to fill in wrinkles and make them disappear, the bee mucus cream, the cow dung cream, which allegedly contains the same substance as vanilla beans, vanillin, very beneficial for the skin, or the seminal liquid cream, whose health factor apparently exceeds that of Vitamin E 30 times.

How many of these truly bizarre ingredients are you willing to try for the sake of having a perfect complexion?

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Photos courtesy of: pphotography.net, glamour.com