STRANGE FISH AND ANIMAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO COSTLY ANTI-AGING COSMETICS

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Camels are not very good looking but their milk is about to be an ingredient in high priced cosmetic products. A Dubai company, EICMP, is targeting premium cosmetic manufacturers to launch their “natural moisturizer.”

One of Cleopatra’s beauty secrets is reputedly bathing in a tub full of camel’s milk. Bedouins still use it today to counteract the skin problems of their harsh desert environment. The Dubai company maintains the Vitamin C found in camel’s milk contains anti-antioxidants and fatty acids which help to protect the skin. As a cosmetic ingredient, camel’s milk is expected to be promoted as an effective moisturizer and anti-aging wrinkle fighter.

One of the reasons products containing camel’s milk will probably be expensive is because the average lady camel is stingy with her milk—putting out only about 7 liters of milk daily for 16 months.

If you don’t want to slather yourself with camel’s milk, how about snail slime?

Japanese spas started the practice of dotting clients faces with live snails to help fend off skin aging. Described as “sticky” and “ticklish”, the treatment is touted to also help with sunburn and rashes.  The fancy name for the procedure is now a “Celeb Escargot Facial”. The mollusk mucus makeover reportedly contains beneficial proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid (a sugar compound in connective tissue). These ingredients are aimed at helping the skin retain moisture, reduce inflammation and remove dead skin.

Don’t want snail slime? How about fish anti-freeze?

A Vancouver-based biotech firm is developing an anti-aging formula from the natural anti-freeze contained in Artic fish. The product reputedly protects human skin cells “from damage and has the potential to allow the cells to live longer and keep people looking younger.”

The snail, camel’s milk and anti-freeze fish facials are not as strange as Fish Pedicures to beautify feet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).The CDC described one of the popular but which the agency considered risky—salon parlor Fish Pedicures. Patrons dip their feet in a tub of water filled with small fish called Garra rufaGarra rufa are sometimes referred to as “doctor fish” because they eat away dead skin found on peoples’ feet, leaving newer skin exposed. Garra rufa are native to the Middle East, where they have been used as a medical treatment for individuals with skin diseases, like psoriasis. CDC noted it is not aware of any published reports on illnesses resulting from fish pedicures but pointed out nail salon foot baths have caused outbreaks of bacterial infections which left  infected pedicure customers with boils and scars. Some states have banned fish pedicures for some of the following reasons:

  • The fish pedicure tubs cannot be sufficiently cleaned between customers when the fish are present.
  • The fish themselves cannot be disinfected or sanitized between customers. Due to the cost of the fish, salon owners are likely to use the same fish multiple times with different customers, which increases the risk of spreading infection.
  • Chinese Chinchin, another species of fish that is often mislabeled as Garra rufa and used in fish pedicures, grows teeth and can draw blood, increasing the risk of infection.
  • According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceGarra rufa could pose a threat to native plant and animal life if released into the wild because the fish is not native to the United States.
  • Fish pedicures do not meet the legal definition of a pedicure.
  • Regulations specifying that fish at a salon must be contained in an aquarium.
  • The fish must be starved to eat skin, which might be considered animal cruelty.

Cosmetics have long contained strange ingredients and procedures. In the Seventh Edition of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic ingredients, for example, I list ambergris from the intestinal tract of sperm whales and from the testicles and ovaries of pigs and the thymus and the udder of cows. Then there is musk, a secretion from the behinds of certain deer and civet cats.

If that doesn’t surprise you, how about placental extract?  This is an ingredient in expensive anti-aging cosmetics prepared from the nourishing lining of the human womb or the cow womb. Placental extract has been highly promoted as effective against wrinkles. The American Medical Association experts say there is no such evidence that it works and besides, they note, babies come out of the womb with wrinkled skin.

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