Optimism is linked to vitality and good health, and optimism can be LEARNED. Oh yes it can!
Inspired by – or, more accurately, amused, astonished, repelled by – the recent media attention given to snail facials (yes, you read that right), I decided it was time to do a Ten Ickiest– not to mention silliest, wrong-headedist, waste-of-moneyist–Anti-Aging “Treatments” list. Warning: Read on an empty stomach.
1. Snails on the face (imagine Samuel L. Jackson – “Snakes on a Plane!” — yelling this). This is a mysteriously popular facial, currently de rigueur in Japan, in which, you guessed, live snails crawl across your face. The slime they secrete along the way is supposedly rich in anti-aging gook.
2. Bee Venom facials. Happily you don’t stick your head in a hive for this one. Unhappily, someone slathers your face with apitoxin (bee venom), a complex mixture of proteins that presumably tightens your skin – probably by causing local inflammation.
3. Snake venom facials. Mimics a snake bite (and this is a good thing?)– by freezing the face and erasing fine lines.
4. Freeze-dried placenta face mask. Human, sheep, pig. You choose! Claims to “stimulate immune system.”
5. Bird droppings facial cleanser. Nightingale guano, dried and powdered, is full of “deep-cleaning enzymes”! Who knew.
6. Blood injections. Your own blood, actually just the separated and purified plasma, is re-injected, because…hell if I know.
7. Leech therapy. Leeches have actually made a comeback and are being used in hospitals to help heal wounds. That’s not what this is about, though. Here many repulsive crawling things are placed on your (unwounded) body. They attach themselves, and, while sucking at you, release “blood purifying” enzymes.
8. Bull semen hair conditioner. No comment.
9. Fish tank mani-pedi. Okay, so you immerse feet and/or hands in a tank filled with toothless carp who nibble away at the dead skin on said body parts. This has got to be the weirdest way to exfoliate I’ve ever heard of.
10. Beer bath. Very big in Prague (where pivo is cheaper than water). Involves sweating away toxins in a yeasty, hoppy hot tub. (Predicated on the erroneous notion that you sweat out toxins. Better to just drink the beer.)
What do these Top Ten have in common in addition to their expense, total lack of scientific backing and general repulsiveness?
They have little or nothing to do with anti-aging. Even if letting snails inch across your face improved the quality of your skin, even if bee venom or snake venom or bird shit smoothed out wrinkles…so what? Exfoliated feet, shiny hair? What exactly does this have to do with living a healthy, vigorous, engaged life, with physical and mental fitness, with the vitality, resilience and creativity that is at the core of staying youthful?
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