The Penis Facial: Is It Really Worth the Hollywood Hype?
By Amy Lee
You've heard of the penis facial, right?
The controversial beauty treatment first broke the surface when Cate Blanchett dished in an interview with Vogue Australia in March that she and Oceans 8 co-star Sandra Bullock received "penis facials" from New York-based aesthetician Georgia Louise.
“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," the Aussie actress told the mag.
In May, Bullock confirmed she indeed got the eyebrow-raising facial on TheEllen DeGeneres Show in May, while promoting their heist film.
Earlier this week, another A-list actress brought more attention to the treatment. Kate Beckinsale posted a selfie on Instagram with the caption, "After a long flight I do like to lie down and be covered in a mask of liquefied cloned foreskins – frankly who doesn’t?," crediting Louise for her glowing face.
The post, which garnered lots of negative comments, was subsequently deleted, although Louise reposted the pic with the caption, "How gorgeous is @katebeckinsale post Hollywood EGF facial?!"
Yes, it has a proper name and it's called an EGF facial. So what really is it? How does it work? And is it really questionable as it has been made out to be? Let's break it down.
What is EGF?
EGF stands for epidermal growth factor, which is a protein that helps regenerate new cells and speed up the healing of wounds, believed to boost collagen and elastin production in the skin.
How is it used?
Louise uses EGF for her now famous, Hollywood-approved facial by deeply penetrating a serum containing EGF into the skin via micro-needling.
"I am very careful to talk clients through the potent serums that I use, so I always explain that the EGF in my serum is a synthetic copy of a molecule derived from circumcised foreskins," Louse told ET. "It does not include the original extract itself.”
Is it really from a penis?
Yes and no. Like Louise said, it's a synthetic copy of a molecule. According to The Cut, the EGF is from a cloned cell grown in a lab in Korea. It is technically from circumcised foreskins, but they're copies from their fibroblasts -- connective tissue cells that produce collagen and other fibers -- so what's going on the face is not directly from newborn male babies.
Is there another way to get EGF?
If foreskin cellular clones still gross you out, Nurse Lauren Pack of GoodSkin clinic in Los Angeles explained growth factors can also be retrieved from the plasma by drawing your blood, spinning it and separating the blood from the plasma.
Pack emphasizes this process of "using your own body's growth factors" is more effective than using outside, lab-grown EGF.
"I think if you’re using it in a serum, you’re putting in other synthetics into your skin, anyways, so how effective is it? [It's more effective] when I can just pull your blood and know that it’s completely concentrated and there’s nothing in that separation process between the blood and the plasma, which is made up of 90% water and all of your growth factors and platelets."
Pack draws the blood herself to extract the patient's own growth factor, which is then used via treatments that make a wound in the skin, whether that's with laser or micro-needling, which in turn stimulates more growth to the targeted area of the skin. Only doctors and nurses should take blood as aestheticians don't.
"You’re fertilizing your face to reproduce better, stronger cells that then gives you brightness, youthfulness, smoothness, all that. So if you’re going to do any type of skin treatment, using your own body’s growth factors are going to help you heal faster and look better."