(You’ve probably read about eyebrow-raising health and skincare treatments, like skin-eating fish in Thailand or breast milk facials, before. But there are also the weird AF things people do behind closed doors because, well, because they’re weird AF.
When my son was a newborn, my nanny would try and catch his pee stream in her hands when we bathed him, so that she can put it on her face. She claimed that urine of a breastfed child was really good for the skin. Before asking her to leave my home indefinitely, I went to Google to consult. The jury is still out on this “skincare secret,” but anecdotally, it works, because urine contains urea, an ingredient found in many skincare products in its synthetic form. So, I decided to keep my nanny.
1. Turmeric and Yogurt
“My skin is normally super clear, but when I’m pregnant like now, I get these weird and irrational spot breakouts from time to time. Being the Middle Eastern gal that I am, I was taught at an early age that turmeric makes the world go round and can kill even the nastiest bacteria, so I mixed 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric into 1/2 cup of whole, unsweetened or flavored yogurt, and then, spread it all over in a thin layer let it sit on my face till it dries. Turmeric requires a small degree of fat to really work, which is why I use whole milk yogurt, and lactic acid from milk is an awesome super gentle exfoliant. If I’m feeling extra sassy, I sit with a red light mask on for an additional 15 minutes, too.” —Bryce G., 29, New York, NY
Verdict: It works! “Turmeric is known to have both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” Dr. Bloom says. “When taken orally, none of these benefits will get to the skin. However, when used topically, some of those benefits may be helpful for inflammatory acne.” That said, be sure to check your turmeric supplement for other ingredients that may actually make your skin break out. “As far as yogurt goes, it is well know that all milk-related products, used as a balm, can help inflamed (but not necessarily acnegenic) skin,” Dr. Bloom notes.
2. Adult urine
“For my friends who have eczema, I tell them to pee on it. It really helps! They do it in the shower and just leave it on for a few seconds. Afterwards, use a (sodium laureth/laurel-free WHY?) cleanser. It’s helped everyone I have suggested it to—and who were willing to do it.” – Becky Sturm, 50, St. Paul, MN
Verdict: It may work. “Urine is getting a lot of attention in the press as a beauty treatment lately,” says Dr. Krant. “The urea in urine does help to soften and moisturize skin by penetrating a little deeper and mildly exfoliating the skin gently. Urine is also a bit antiseptic as it is sterile when it is inside the body. I can’t recommend this, but I can see why it might potentially help.”
“I actually heard that sperm is great for your skin, because of all of the protein jam-packed in it.” —Alison, 27, Nashville, TN
Verdict: It doesn’t work. “Sperm does have a lot of protein,” says Dr. Bloom. “But those huge molecules are way too big to get through the skin barrier. Probably a good thing!”
4. Onion juice
“Shred onions on a mandolin and squeeze out the juice. Apply directly to the scalp. Do this three times a week to help with hair loss.” — Anna Globeli, 47, Stuart, FL
Verdict: It doesn’t work. “This recommendation is out there in cyberspace,” says Dr. Bloom. “But there is virtually no scientific evidence it works.”
5. Snail Slime
“To get a youthful radiance to your skin, use snail slime (like Dr. Jart+). The mucus is high in protein, calcium, and lipids. When you apply it to your face, it stimulates growth of collagen and elastin, which repair signs of aging.” – Jessica Seifert, Los Angeles, CA
Verdict: It works! “Snail slime contains hyaluronic acid, the fancy moisturizing ingredient we are all using in topicals and also in injectable fillers,” Dr. Krant explains. “So, I do believe snail slime is probably moisturizing, but it’s much easier to get the hyaluronic acid in a drugstore.”