Let’s face it. We’re all afraid of looking old – of getting dry, stretchy skin that looks like crepe paper. Most of us go to unbelievable lengths to prevent or cure it – and I’m one of them. But for the sake of entertainment, I’m going to share some of the ill-advised things I’ve done to feel young and firm again.
Don’t try any of these at home!
1. Lemon Juice
This is the other side of the coin from bird poop – it’s cheap and incredibly dangerous for your skin. Lemon juice is claimed to exfoliate and lighten dark masks, but it’s a huge no-no. Why? Because it’s unbelievably acidic – it has a pH of 2, which is as or more acidic than your digestive stomach acid! This can ruin your skin’s acid mantle – a valuable layer of protection – and cause major irritation bordering on chemical burns. It took months for my skin to recover from a week of lemon juice treatment, and I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone.
2. Bird Poop Facial
Ew, right?! But this is a real thing. In Japan, it’s called uguisu no fun, which means “nightingale droppings.” For centuries, geishas have used nightingale poop as a facial treatment, and apparently many celebrities swear up and down that it’s amazing for your skin. As a result, this falls more into the category of “dangerous for your wallet” than “dangerous for your skin.” It can run over 200 dollars a treatment, and there isn’t much scientific evidence behind it – but Posh Spice uses it, so pony up the dough!
3. Beer Facial
This one isn’t so much dangerous as it is a waste of good booze. Beer is actually full of excellent anti-inflammatory substances, so if you mix it with egg white and fresh lime juice you can hydrate your skin in just 10 minutes – but it really didn’t feel any better than a normal facial, and it felt pretty sacrilegious to rinse that beer down the drain.
4. Fish Pedicure
Once upon a time, I got really self-conscious about my feet. My usual foot-care regime wasn’t doing the trick, so I, uh, “explored alternative treatments.” And somehow I ended up in a back-alley salon getting my feet chewed on by a swarm of tiny piranha-looking things. They were actually doctor fish, which are native to the Middle East and are toothless and happy to nibble away at the dead skin on people’s feet. The nibbling wasn’t the issue – it’s the fact that these fish and baths get reused from person to person, so the fish chewing on you have had their mouths on countless other feet. Not exactly the most sterile form of treatment.
5. Kitty Litter Face Mask
You can’t make this stuff up. A couple years ago, a prominent beauty blogger posted about how she liked to use kitty litter mixed with water as a cheap, effective face mask. I was one of the people who jumped on the bandwagon – until I noticed all the micro-abrasions all over my face. It’s an ineffective treatment because kitty litter is bulky and sharp, unlike smooth exfoliating molecules. And it’s full of chemicals that can be toxic – even if you take the blogger’s advice and use the unscented stuff. This is something I really regret doing, but at the time I was desperate for healthier-looking skin. I’m pretty grateful that I found a safe and effective alternative that didn’t involve shopping at the pet store!
6. Thai Face Slapping
I’m going to start on the “painful-but-safe” end of the spectrum and move into the really bad stuff after. Apparently, in Asia it’s been in vogue for a while to pay people to slap you in the face. Not for fun, though (if that’s your thing and you’re into it, well, you go girl). It’s apparently supposed to tighten pores, thin the face, and firm up wrinkles – all because getting slapped into the face increases blood flow. At worst, it’s ineffective in the long run, but I can say firsthand that holy hell does it hurt. Especially when your face is smarting and you have to pull out your wallet.