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In the eternal quest for unclogged pores and a gorgeous glow, some people will slather any product on their face. But it takes serious guts to give these six revolting remedies a try. Some have roots in cultural traditions, while others are DIY concoctions straight from your kitchen or medicine cabinet. But one thing is for certain: All are pretty foul. Here, find out if any of these gross treatments actually work.
1. Bird Poop
Nightingales supposedly produce an enzyme in their excrement that exfoliates skin—and strangely, it’s not the bacteria carnival you’d think. “The bird dung is UV irradiated to make it sterile,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. While you could get pooped on by a bird for free just about anywhere, the facial version using powdered nightingale droppings will cost you $180 at Shizuka New York Day Spa in New York City (Victoria Beckham and Tom Cruise are reportedly fans). But does it improve skin? That’s iffy, says Jaliman.
Sperm’s anti-aging benefits: rumor or real? A powerful antioxidant found in spunk called (appropriately enough) spermine is supposed to smooth skin and get rid of wrinkles. Spermine facials are even offered at some upscale salons, including Graceful Services in New York City. Jaliman says it’s a toss up: “Semen does have vitamin E, so it may be beneficial.” Bottom line: If you really want to try it, it can’t hurt.
3. Snake Venom
We’ve heard that snake venom has a Botox-like effect—and there’s actually something to this one. “Snake venom has peptides in it that work to relax muscles and ease wrinkles,” says Jaliman. The only kind of venom used in products and facials (like the one at Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic in Beverly Hills) is the synthetic kind—but it should work the same way.
4. Preparation H
This anti-hemorrhoid OTC cream constricts puffiness and fights inflammation. If it works on your butt, it’ll work under your eyes to decrease bags, right? It’s possible. “It has phenylephrine, which is a vasoconstrictor that eases swelling, and it has hydrocortisone, so it also helps inflammation,” says Jaliman. But is it worth getting up close and personal with that fishy smell? Your call.
This video explains it all: Just 10 minutes of wearing a thin layer of this candy pink stomach med reportedly softens skin around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Does the thought of doing this make you want to puke? Perhaps it shouldn’t: “Pepto-Bismol contains salicylic acid, which is anti-inflammatory,” says Jaliman. “So this can be used as a facial mask.”
Apparently a six-pack might be good for more than just drinking; put some suds on your face, and the yeast in it supposedly prevents breakouts. “Some people add it to an egg white and use it as a mask that way,” says Jaliman—but she warns that the yeast can actually be problematic. “It can be very drying to the skin,” she says. Better stick to enjoying this one at happy hour only.
More from Women’s Health:
5 Skin-Care Products That You Should Never Use Together
How to Exfoliate Every Single Body Part—the Right Way
11 Ways to Use Honey to Get More Gorgeous Skin, Hair, and Nails