I had my first Beauty U facial last night — whenever we don’t have any regular customers in the spa, the senior students borrow one of us freshman girls to practice on — and it reminded me to tell you about this.
Jezebel is pretty sure that the Daily Mail is over-hyping this placenta facial as the latest Hollywood craze business (you think?) but it’s not the first time afterbirth has made the rounds as the beauty ingredient du jour. Shiseido, Mila Skin Care, Plazan Cosmetics and other high-end brands have all offered luxe anti-aging products in recent years with this so-called miracle ingredient, derived from bovine and human, um, volunteers. (It’s especially popular in Japan.)
The companies claim that placenta, the organ that nourishes a developing baby in the womb, can boost your metabolic processes, accelerate tissue regeneration and rid your body of toxins, all to help you achieve younger-looking skin. Dermatologists dispute whether it really works.
So that means people with medical degrees are actually sitting around saying “Hmmm, can placenta make you look younger or not?” instead of asking these companies more obvious questions like, “Are you high?” and “Where the heck are you getting this stuff?”
Poole Hospital, in Dorset, England, made headlines last year when it received about $10,000 in “donations” in exchange for delivering up to 70 frozen placentas per week to Sigma-Aldrich, a biochemical company that sells raw materials to cosmetic companies. The moms who signed consent forms after giving birth thought their placenta was being donated for medical research. You know, like to help sick people. Mila Skin Care and Plazan Cosmetics say their placenta comes from maternity wards in Russia — it’s not clear whether those moms know they’re donating (or are perhaps being compensated directly) in the name of beauty science or not.
Okay, so there’s the obvious ick factor. We can be grown ups about that, I guess. But what I’m still working on: Is it okay to turn a body part (albeit a rather temporary one) into a commodity? What makes a woman donate or sell her child’s placenta in the name of erasing crow’s feet? Or is it even more creepy that she may not know it’s happening?
[Photo: Daily Mail]