By Zoe Bradbury
Celebrities have been known to try crazy beauty treatments for years. Remember Cleopatra bathing in milk? Nowadays, everything from Vampire facials, to hemmorrhoid cream under the eyes, to eating clay has become the norm.
Not limited by time, money or resources, celebrities usually have access to new and innovative beauty treatments. They’re the first to try things that everyday people wouldn’t, but do they actually work, and are they worth the money?
Here’s a guide to celebrity beauty treatments.
Vampire facials first rose to popularity after Kim Kardashian was filmed receiving the treatment on a 2013 episode of Kim and Kourtney Take Miami, and other celebrities to have tried the trend include model Bar Refaeli and English actor Rupert Everett.
Vampire facials involve injecting a small amount of the person’s own blood back into their skin on the face.
The procedure occurs by removing blood from the person’s arm, then spinning it in a centrifuge, which separates the cellular components of the blood and extracts the platelets. It is then injected back into the skin with microneedles or applied topically.
Otherwise known as a Platelet-Rich Plasma facial (or PRP facial), this treatment reportedly can improve skin tone and texture, reduce fine lines and acne scars, encourage healing and promote hair growth.
They have become popular as no foreign or artificial substances have to be injected into the body, and as no one is allergic to their own blood, there is reportedly little risk of negative side effects.
COST: $1000-1500 depending on clinics
The platelet-rich plasma, which is injected into the skin, helps stimulate collagen, new blood supply and vessels and hair follicles, says New York City-based dermatologist Dr Bruce Katz.
This is what creates the appearance of youthful, plumper skin after the procedure, with the increased collagen improving the elasticity of the skin and reducing fine lines.
However topical treatments such as blood-infused creams or moisturizers are not as effective, says Dr Katz.
Blood on the skin alone will not contribute to transformative effects, because “the plasma in the cream dies right away, and it’s no longer active,” he says.
But if users are expecting to come out looking like Kim Kardashian’s famous blood-faced selfie after getting the procedure, they will be surprised.
Blood is not actually smeared over the face, and what can be expected is only a few minor drops from where the needles are injected.
While the effects of the vampire facial are relatively long-lasting, due to the growth factor in the platelets which cause increased collagen production, it is not a permanent solution.
Dr. Sal Nadkarni, a Los Angeles-based cosmetic physician, says this is because collagen naturally depletes in the face each year due to the body’s normal aging process. “The facial should therefore be repeated at least once a year to ensure renewed collagen production,” he says.
True PRP facials can only be conducted by nurses and doctors who are qualified to inject the plasma into the appropriate depths of the skin. Check the qualifications of salons that offer PRP with a quick google search.
Divergent actress Shailene Woodley is all about natural healing, and she claims eating clay has been an effective way to detox and remove toxins from the body.
Hearing about the practice when an African taxi driver told her it was a local custom conducted by pregnant women, Woodley began clay eating, and says that it “helps clean heavy metals out of your body… it provides a negative charge, so it binds to negative isotopes.”
Woodley consumes a teaspoon of clay daily when detoxing, and other reported benefits include strengthening the immune system, balancing pH levels and promoting natural healing.
COST: Woodley uses Bentonite Clay, which can be bought for under $20 from health food stores, however this has not been certified by a medical professional.
Does it actually work?
Eating clay has occurred in indigenous cultures for generations due to the lack of certain nutrients in their diets, like calcium from dairy or iron, says Dr. Roshini Raj, a gastroenterologist and TODAY show contributor.
But in terms of this being done as a beauty treatment, there are little scientific or medical studies to support the practice.
Dr. David Katz from the Prevention Research Centre at Yale University says that, “removing metal from the body is not necessarily good – iron, for example, is a metal and essential to health.”
And Woodley’s claim that consuming clay produces a negative charge which binds to negative isotopes, removing unwanted toxins? Dr Katz says this is “meaningless.”
Organs such as the liver and kidneys already naturally excrete any harmful substances or impurities, and any potential vitamins and minerals found in clay can also more easily be consumed via fruit and vegetables.
Sandra Bullock credits her youthful skin and lack of eye bags to Preparation H hemorrhoid cream, which is usually applied to swollen veins around the bottom.
Instead, Bullock claims that by applying the cream underneath the eyes, it reduces puffiness, eye bags and fine lines.
She says this is because the cream works as a “vasoconstrictor”, which means the skin tightens around the areas it is applied to.
COST: Bullock uses the American brand Preparation H, which retails under $10, however Australian equivalents are available for under $15.
Does it actually work?
Yes – but use with caution
Hemmorrhoid cream will temporarily reduce eye bags, puffiness and fine lines, says Dr. Sejal Shah from Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York City.
This is because it contains anti-inflammatory substances, which works to restrict blood vessels and reduce swelling, while also making skin discoloration (the blue-brown commonly seen in eye bags) less noticeable.
However, caution must be taken when applying the cream underneath the eyes, because if any of the cream enters the eye it can cause severe irritation.
The label on most hemmorrhoid creams advises to not use the product in or near eyes, so it is not recommended that this treatment is repeated regularly.
In addition, ingredients commonly found in hemmorrhoid cream such as petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin can clog pores, which can lead to breakouts, says facial plastic surgeon from New York Dr. Michelle Yagoda.
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