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Have you ever wondered how Hollywood A-listers get their glow? Green juices, monthly facials and expensive products likely do their part, but the real secret? Foreskin, apparently.
In a recent interview with Vogue Australia, Cate Blanchett opened up about the celebrity skin care treatment that she and her friends swear by, and it has one, um, odd ingredient.
“Sandy Bullock and I saw this facialist in New York, Georgia Louise, and she gives what we call the penis facial and it’s something — I don’t know what it is, or whether it’s just ’cause it smells a bit like sperm — there’s some enzyme in it so Sandy refers to it as the penis facial,” she told Vogue Australia.
Before freaking out, it’s worth noting that the “penis facial” may not be as as crazy as it sounds. The treatment is actually called the "Hollywood EGF Facial,” which stands for “epidermal growth factor.” According to Louise’s team, the serum used in the treatment is derived from the donated cells of freshly removed foreskin of newborn babies, which helps generate collagen and elastin. The foreskin is taken during circumcision, and the stem cells are harvested and extracted through a centrifuge.
"EGF is derived from progenitor cells of the human fibroblast taken from donated stem cells from foreskin, however, those stems cells are then taken to a lab and cloned. I use the clone EFG cells that are produced in a lab, so we’re not using actual foreskin cells," Louise said.
Does the fact that it's cloned foreskin cells make it better?
The treatment also uses electric microneedling to help the ingredients further penetrate the skin, and by the end of 80 minutes, the whole thing is supposed to leave you looking like, well, a newborn baby.
"EGF (aka epidermal Growth factor) usually derived from human foreskin, promotes the proliferation of skin cells and regulates healing of epithelial surfaces,” says dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss of New York City’s Union Square Laser Dermatology. "Over the past few years, it has gained popularity in skin care treatments as it has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while improving overall skin texture and elasticity by promoting cellular turnover and increasing collagen production.”
So how did this … questionable ingredient become such a fan-favorite among celebrities? “It started last year when Sandra Bullock was filming in NYC and came to see me for a deep-cleansing and long-lasting facial glow," Louise said. "I wanted to give her something that would transform her skin without the need to undergo lasers, so I loaded up her bespoke facial with something that would give her long-lasting results … and from that moment onward the Hollywood EGF Facial was born! I have text threads which would blow your mind from celebs asking for the ‘penis treatment’ all the time now!”
The EFG serum is FDA-approved and not nearly as gross as the term “penis facial” makes it sound (though Blanchett’s description of a “sperm smell" doesn't sound ideal), but Louise is cognizant about making sure her clients know exactly what’s going on their skin.
"I am always very mindful to explain radical serums and potions that I carry in my back bar,” she said. "I remember the time when I used placenta from a pig on a client that was vegan and that didn’t end so well.”
Now, she makes sure to take the time to explain that while EGF is technically derived from newborn baby foreskin, it’s only made with cells that are cloned in a laboratory.
"While I agree that the thought of human foreskin is a little off-putting, I would urge those who are grossed out to ask themselves if they would refuse to ingest Penicillin knowing that it was originally derived from a fungus," Idriss said.
Same same, but … very different? What will celebrities think of next?