You've probably heard of celebrities ingesting clay, making their faces bleed or coating themselves in caviar and gold to look younger. And in Dubai there's a method to help defy the signs of aging that sounds just as quirky - the placenta facial.
Now upon hearing the name, it's understandable that anyone would think of a new mom offering up her insides for the sake of someone else's eternal beauty. And my suspicion was seemingly confirmed when I called the Biolite Clinic in Dubai to enquire about the treatment, which costs an eye-watering AED2,500.
"Where does the placenta from?" I probed, to which the receptionist answered, "America."
Even though I wondered why they'd go out of their way to import from the States instead of right here in the UAE, I let it go and decided to focus my thoughts on preparing for the task ahead. Enduring an hour with someone's placenta on the end of my nose required a serious pep talk.
When I entered the room I was glad to see it wasn't laid out in an unsightly steaming heap or something, instead it was neatly packaged in a tube and labeled with the Beverly Hills seal of approval. But when my therapist, Anna, asked me what I already knew about the facial - one their website lists is popular with Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon and Micha Barton - it was clear there had been some miscommunication.
Admittedly, it was slightly disappointing to learn that the placenta used isn't from a human - but only because I'd psyched myself up for he challenge of course. Instead the clinic would be using EMK Placental products to turn back time and renew the cells on my UV ray-damaged face. Using placenta (from plants) that's bio-identical to humans, is the key to tricking the skin to revert back to baby softness. The products contain plenty of proteins, amino acids, activated peptides, enzymes, plus vitamins and minerals to boost appearance.
They say beauty comes from the inside out, and that's exactly the case with placenta, which makes skin cells communicate. It's the only true way to rejuvenate the epidermis by producing pro-collagen 3, which is only normally present in children up to the age of 10. So when I was told my cheeks would be as supple as a baby's, they weren't exaggerating.
Anna primed my skin with a cleanser and exfoliator, using oxygen to help the ingredients penetrate deeper. The O2 felt very cold, similar to Cryotherapy. Next a live mask was settled onto my face and an LED light worked its magic to help the products go the extra mile. When removed the skin is supposed to look glowing and lifted. While I didn't necessarily feel a dramatic difference in that area, it was definitely more toned and hydrated.
My skin stayed as delicate as a newborn's for about two days after but I admittedly wasn't following the best post-facial skincare regime. It's a good investment if your skin needs new life breathing into it (literally thanks to the oxygen boost the Placenta Diamond Facial provides) but you need to keep up with a solid beauty routine to benefit longer.