Bizarre facials are nothing new. Treatments like vampire facial, placenta facial and caviar facial have all been an instant hit in the past, proving that most people will try just about anything in the name of beauty. The new bizarre facial that has been making news in Hollywood is ‘penis facial’, which is a street name given to Hollywood EGF facial and costs $650. Actors such as Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock have reportedly used the treatment, by celebrity facialist Georgia Louise, to look younger. In fact, after the news about the treatment broke, Georgia said in a statement, “I have text threads, which would blow your mind, from celebs asking for the ‘penis treatment’ all the time now.”
What is penis facial?
Dr Shuba Dharmana, dermatologist, explains, “It’s a very bizarre name that has been given to this facial presumably because it smells so during the process, or otherwise the name could also be possibly because the epidermal growth factor serum has been taken out from the foreskins of Korean babies.
Epidermal growth factor has been shown to increase cell regeneration, and a lot of anti-ageing creams and facials use the EGF serum.”
Describing the process, Shuba further adds, “The facialist that has devised this uses a number of techniques — she first deep cleanses the face and then uses a TCA peel. This is then followed by microneedling, after which she applies the epidermal growth factor serum. Essentially there are a lot of variables in this — it could be that the TCA peel has worked for them and then combined with of course, microneedling, which is known to induce collagen.”
However, Dr Shuba wouldn’t recommend the treatment without further studies. “There need to be more studies to prove the efficacy and safety of this component as there are studies that have shown that EGF can cause tumours, psoriasis and skin irritation. I would be comfortable if I had more studies to be recommending it,” says Dr Shuba.
“The name is the most attractive factor in the west. This facial is something bizzare, out of the ordinary, and is a marketing gimmick. In India, even if the facial does come, I don’t think it is ever going to be known as the penis facial. I am not sure if people would flock to that,” she adds.
A word of caution
“These treatments really need to be looked at for the medical science that they carry. It is important to look at the clinical studies behind them and also wait to completely understand the risks and benefits,” says Dr Shuba, adding a word of caution.