Venom, placenta, worm poop? Kooky beauty
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Weird Science1 of 10
By Lisa Cohen Lee
The jury may still be out on whether ingredients like bee venom, placenta and worm poop have real anti-aging benefits, but that hasn't stopped celebs from swearing by their skin-smoothing benefits. Read on to find out what you can really expect from the latest spate of gross-out ingredients.
Oh, Baby!2 of 10
The backstory: Umbilical-cord serum is chock-full of human growth factors, proteins, vitamins and nutrients that are crucial for repairing damaged cells. The non-stem-cell complex is from an FDA-certified cryobank.
The lowdown: It seems to hold serious promise—a study showed 45 percent of users saw major wrinkle improvement in just 26 days. The regenerative ingredients stimulate the growth of new skin cells and collagen for a more youthful look.
SHOP NOW: NOVO Solutions Cellactive Face Serum, $118
Snake Skin3 of 10
The backstory: The venom of the temple viper snake inspired Syn-Ake, which mimics the effects of the muscle-paralyzing poison for smooth, crease-free skin.
The lowdown: Fans of Sonya Dakar MicroVenom Daily Defense (which contains Syn-Ake) claim it's a needle-free alternative to Botox. According to lab research conducted in Europe, synthetic tripeptide temporarily inhibits muscle contractors that cause frown lines and crow's feet, lessening the look of deep furrows.
SHOP NOW: Sonya Dakar MicroVenom Daily Defense, $45
Snail's Pace4 of 10
The backstory: A huge hit in Asia and South America, snail secretion came into the limelight in 2006 when Chilean escargot farmers reported visibly smoother skin after handling snails.
The lowdown: Putting the slimy associations aside, the extract has been a fave of beauty junkies around the globe because it's mega-moisturizing, super softening and filled with antioxidants, giving skin a healthy, radiant glow.
SHOP NOW: Masqueology Cell Renewal Masque, $24
Counting Sheep5 of 10
The backstory: Sheep placenta became big news when stars like Victoria Beckham and Simon Cowell touted the benefits of facials containing lamb afterbirth—they claimed younger, clearer, softer-looking skin.
The lowdown: Ovine placenta tends to be more nutrient-rich than other animal placentas. It's naturally filled with bio-active skin-savers, including hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, peptides and essential amino acids, all of which may help make skin look more radiant and can help shield it from free radicals.
SHOP NOW: Nature's Beauty Placenta Serum, $40
Bacterial Beauty6 of 10
The backstory: What works for your gut may work for your skin, too. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of probiotics (the live bacteria cultures in yogurt and kombucha), scientists are finding that, when ingested, they can help control skin conditions like eczema.
The lowdown: There is no evidence yet that topical probiotic-laced treatments are wrinkle-reducing, but the formulas with the active bacteria tend to be soothing, especially if you have sensitive skin.
SHOP NOW: MyBody Probiotic Body Lotion, $55
Sake to Me7 of 10
The backstory: The sake skin craze all started when scientists discovered that elderly workers at a brewery had very smooth, youthful-looking hands. They concluded it was a direct result of being in nearly constant contact with the yeast-fermentation process.
The lowdown: While yeast extract is a recognized skincare soother, a rare form, pitera, is only found in sake. It's plentiful in proteins and amino acids, and in time, may improve hydration, soften wrinkles and brighten a dull skin.
SHOP NOW: SK-II LXP Ultimate Revival Serum, $265
Bloody Good8 of 10
The backstory: The Vampire Facelift (which involves injecting a patient's own blood into their wrinkles) has put plasma in the spotlight for delivering younger, smoother skin.
The lowdown: If you aren't bold enough for the vampire procedure, try Circ-Cell's new serum. It's modeled after the bodily fluid, and the synthetic "blood" in this cream, called BTX, brings oxygen to the skin, helping to increase circulation; it also lessens the appearance of under-eye circles.
SHOP NOW: Circ-Cell A.B.O +/- Blood Serum, $118
The Worm's Turn9 of 10
The backstory: Earthworm excrement is filled with peptides and enzymes, making it ideal fertilizer for plants. It found its way into skincare after farmers who used "worm tea" (a topical blend of excrement and water) reported relief from eczema and psoriasis.
The lowdown: Anti-aging compounds like kinetin in worm poop are known to stimulate healthy cell growth and collagen production. Long-term, it may firm sags and iron out fine lines, but its most immediate effect (if you can stomach it) is softer, flake-free skin.
SHOP NOW: Wrinkle Butter, $30
Buzz-Worthy10 of 10
The backstory: After the press heard of Duchess Kate's bee-venom facials, the stinger secretion became news. Now, bee-venom brands are here.
The lowdown: The venom contains melitin, an anti-inflammatory compound that has been shown to ease arthritis symptoms. It may make skin appear tighter and could rev up collagen production, however, skip it if you have bee-sting allergies.
SHOP NOW: Nature’s Beauty Bee Venom Face Mask, $60
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