Post #10 Penis Facials...Thanks, Cate and Sandra!
Podcast Episode #6, Karen explores this one! Here's her research...
Yes, this is another kinda' bizarre beauty practice that has been making the rounds with actors and the like in the last couple of years. Some of the other unusual treatments on the market now are things like snake venom eye cream, bird poo facials, placenta facials, and being stung by bees, but those are for another time!
Today is all about THE PENIS FACIAL. This one takes things a step further, in my opinion. Actors such as Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock, under the care of New York aesthetician Georgia Louise, say that they use this regimen to help maintain their beautiful complexions. In fact, Blanchett said to Vogue Australia that the facial serum smelled a bit like sperm, so apparently Sandra Bullock named it the penis facial. And an industry was born!
So, WHAT THE HELL IS A PENIS FACIAL?!?
Well, according to iflscience.com, it’s not really called a “penis facial.” It's actually called the “Hollywood EGF Facial”. EGF stands for Epidermal Growth Factor. EGF is derived from the progenitor cells of the human fibroblast (collagen factories) taken from the foreskin of newborn babies. (Eeww!) These cells help to generate collagen and elastin. The EGF used in the actual treatment comes from skin cells that have been cloned and then re-produced in a lab. So, NO, you’re not actually putting baby foreskin on your face! And, don’t worry, this has indeed been approved by the FDA. The resulting stem cells and peptides are penetrated deep into the skin through the processes used during the facial.
The facial itself consists of a cleanse, an intensive peel, micro-needling, an electrifying mask (?!), and then finally, the Epidermal Growth Factor serum. All of the steps done before applying the serum are to ensure that the skin can fully absorb the treatment.
DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?
Well, stem cells are widely used in the cosmetic industry, just usually without the icky origins. Most typical stem cell therapies are plant-based and derived from barley. Theoretically, adding stem cells to the skin rejuvenates it because it’s introducing the building blocks for new tissue, which makes the skin appear younger. There have been studies that have shown that stem cells can repair damaged tissue on wounds and burns, but it’s not so clear if they’re effective for radiance boosting. And, FYI, each session costs around $650.
IS IT SAFE?
What you're really dealing with here are dermal growth factors. If you want a deeper dive into the science behind it all, check out the article on Allure.com called “The Truth About
Growth Factors In Skin Care And Why They’re Controversial” by Jolene Edgar. This article really breaks it all down... from Synthetic EGF to Human-derived DGF. Also, it touches on the thing that would worry someone like me: can it promote skin cancer? I mean, it’s causing an increase in the rate of growth in cells, and cancer is the uncontrolled growth of bad cells. So far, there’s no evidence that this can occur, but yikes! That right there is enough to put me off!
If you think this is something you'd like to try, these are the serums Allure recommends:
Human Derived: SkinMedica TNS, Regenica, NeoCutis
Synthetic: Bioeffect and DNA Renewal
Personally, I think I’ll pass on the Penis Facial and stick to my sunscreen, antioxidants, and retinols.