Are These Bizarre Skincare Ingredients Worth The Hype?

Are These Bizarre Skincare Ingredients Worth The Hype?

The promise of perfect skin is appealing to many, and if you're one of the skincare junkies among us, you're likely no stranger to experimenting with your skincare regimen. But how far are you willing to go to get that even-toned glow? Do you draw the line at face creams formulated with bird droppings? How about donkey milk? 

Keep reading to find out which of these strange and unusual ingredients are lurking in what you thought was just an ordinary skincare product, and are they even worth the hype?


First up we have:


Rich in growth factors that help to enhance skin healing, cell regeneration, collagen and elastin production; placenta has been a popular skincare ingredient in Japanese and Korean skincare for decades. And with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Hillary Duff going so far as to eat their placentas, Westerners are also starting to recognize its benefits as a health and beauty tool. [1] 

Before you get too grossed out by the idea of introducing after-birth to your skincare routine, you should know that this ingredient comes in many different forms, some of which are actually vegan & cruelty-free.

While some beauty brands use animal-derived placenta (primarily from sheep), some manufacturers produce synthetic options that cause zero harm or exploitation of any animals in the process. 


Created in safe and sterile lab environments, synthetic placenta alternatives are manufactured to produce an identical outcome, with the same skin-enhancing benefits as organic placenta. So you don’t have to worry about the quality or origin of the contents.


Organic placenta can appear in ingredients lists as:

Placenta, Placental Extract, or Placental Protein.

However, synthetic placenta alternatives are likely to appear on ingredients lists as the individual growth factors: 

sh-Oligopeptide-1, sh-Oligopeptide-2, sh-Polypeptide-1, sh-Polypeptide-11, sh-Polypeptide-9.


Next Up:

Bee Venom

Bee therapy, or apitherapy, has been used as an alternative treatment for conditions such as arthritis or chronic pain for centuries. But it wasn't until Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Middleton were both reported to use bee venom facials as an all-natural, anti-aging treatment that it started to gain popularity as a skincare ingredient [2]. 


Applying bee venom is said to increase blood circulation, leaving skin appearing more plump and smooth temporarily. Similar to the swelling you'd experience after actually having been stung - only a much milder reaction [2]. But that's not all the bees have that these beauty brands want. Other bee-derived skincare ingredients can include royal jelly, beeswax, and of course - honey.


My thoughts? With bees being essential for all life on earth as pollinators, and their numbers rapidly declining, it's a trend I wouldn't mind seeing buzz off (pun intended). After all, bee-derived products aren't the only ones boasting these benefits. So I'll be keeping my skincare routine bee-free.


Most commonly appears in ingredients lists as: 

Apitoxin, Melittin, Apamin, or bee venom [3].


Last But Not Least:

Snail Mucin

Who could have guessed these slimy little critters would make such an impact on the beauty industry? Snail mucin, or snail secretion filtrate (SSF), is one of the most talked-about skincare ingredients right now, popularized by K-beauty. 


You may be thinking this ingredient is the stuff you see trailing behind a snail as it moves, but that's not the case. Turns out, when snails are stressed, they excrete a viscous fluid to protect and repair their bodies from harm. When used in skincare, this secretion is said to promote collagen production, and repair the skin's moisture barrier [4].


While I don't doubt the ability of this ingredient to moisturize and protect the skin, I think I'll stick to other sources of hydration that don't involve stressing out a snail to harvest whatever comes oozing out (ick).


Most commonly appears in ingredients lists as: 

Snail mucin or snail secretion filtrate (SSF)


So, Are They Worth The Hype?

That's up to you. Just like opinions, your skincare routine is personal. With that said, you should gather as much information as you can about any skincare ingredient before you try it out for yourself. We all interpret information differently, so what I believe to be a negative attribute of a product, you may see as a positive. It all depends on what you're looking for to take care of your skin.

So, which of these ingredients do you believe to be worth the hype? Are there any other bizarre ingredients we should add to the list?

Leave a comment to share what you think!


Looking for more? Read this next:

5 Clinically-Proven Ingredients To Level Up Your Skincare Routine



[1] Tromans, Chelsea. The Bizarre Ingredient That Can Fight The Signs Of Aging. Beauty Crew, 2020.

[2] Lukas, Erin. 6 Buzzworthy Skin Care Product Infused with Bee Venom. InStyle, 2016. 

[3] Wehbe, R., Frangieh, J., Rima, M., El Obeid, D., Sabatier, J. M., & Fajloun, Z. (2019). Bee Venom: Overview of Main Compounds and Bioactivities for Therapeutic Interests. Molecules, 2019.

[4] Rud, Melanie. Here's Everything You Need to Know About Snail Mucin. Byrdie, 2019.


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