brazilIn Hans Christian Anderson’s book “The Little Mermaid”  the young fish-girl is told by her grandmother,  “One must suffer to be beautiful”, and for many people this saying holds true. From waxing to plucking to skin peels and plastic surgery, people will go to great lengths to keep that look of youth and beauty throughout their years.

Some people take suffering to a whole new extreme by finding and trying the best, and worst, ways to potentially maim themselves in the pursuit of beauty. Makes me think of the women in the movie Brazil.

Below are some of the strangest and potentially dangerous methods that have become popular to try to fight back age and keep that youthful look.

1. Oily Rags and a Match.

According to the Huffington Post, a new age treatment in China involves covering any wrinkled part of your body with rags soaked in alcohol, a “special elixer” and setting it on fire. This is supposed to “stimulate the skin and addresses dullness, sagging and wrinkles.” … Ok, everyone, raise your hand if you would set your head on fire to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Seriously, raise your hand… I want to know if you think this is a good idea.

2. All that Glitters….

For $360 you too can spend the next 80 min. of your life having your face coated in gold leaf. In a quote taken from Geekologie, “Ron Razeggi, U.S. chief operating officer of the manufacturer, UMO, said: ‘The skin tries to reject the gold because it’s a foreign object. In order to do that, it builds new cells. Right now, the body produces new cells every 28 days. But this accelerates the cell-building and, as a result, it firms and tightens the skin.”

No, I know that if I hold a gold nugget in my hand, by body will not reject it, nor will it reduce age lines if I put it on my face. In order for what  Razeggi said to be true, you are in effect gold-plating your face with a gold thin enough to enter the skin and pores.  According to Wikipedia ” Soluble compounds (gold salts) … are toxic to the liver and kidneys.

Gold metal was voted Allergen of the Year in 2001 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. Gold contact allergies affect mostly women.” So, if I understand this correctly, the process needed to make your skin freak out and firm up in reaction to the gold could also damage your liver and kidneys. hmm.

Honestly, if I was to flush that much money down the toilet to keep my looks, I’d get one of these $425 a capsules dipped in and filled with 24k gold. What do you do with them? Why, you eat them to “increase your self-worth”. No, that’s not a joke, that is really Tobias Wong the creator of the golden capsule really said it would do. Ingesting gold is absolutely harmless to the human body and only makes your poop sparkles in the toilet.

3. Viper Venom

Don’t think injecting botulism is hardcore enough? Planet Skincare has created a Temple Viper venom skin cream that is touted as giving Botox-like results without the needle. According to the Daily Mail “Amino acids in the venom block nerve signals telling muscles to contract, which helps to stop wrinkles forming.

Christine Benson, of Selfridges beauty, said: ‘Products containing snake venom have been used for a few months now in the US, actresses especially love the effect… Unlike Botox it allows the face movement and emotion, but lessens wrinkles and paralyses muscles which cause creases.”

The description on Wikipedia of what Temple Viper venom is and does goes as follows – “Hemotoxins…  toxins that destroy red blood cells disrupt blood clotting, and/or cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage. The term hemotoxin is to some degree a misnomer since toxins that damage the blood also damage other tissues. Injury from a hemotoxic agent is often very painful and can cause permanent damage and in severe cases death. Loss of an affected limb is possible even with prompt treatment.” 

So, where Botox has to be injected directly into the muscle, this stuff is strong enough to be absorbed through the skin with the simple application of a facial cream… think about that.

4. Slap Happy

I do not want to think of the centuries of domestic abuse that led to the development of this treatment. In Thailand, slapping each other has become a popular method of reducing wrinkles, firming up the skin, and even increasing breast size.  This technique has been brought to the United States where in San Francisco, a patron can pay $350 to be slapped by a “licensed” face slapper. [insert joke about hiring  a dominatrix here] . The woman who developed the breast slapping technique said that her grandmother used to do it to her till she got good enough to do it to herself. She can increase her breast size by 4 inches by slapping them hard enough. [again, insert dominatrix joke here.]

Do you know of any strange and dangerous beauty techniques? Let me know.

And please, don’t forget my contest to win a free copy of Crazy Mary or Utopiates. Contest ends at the end of the week.