Urine Therapy Raises the Bar on Debatable Beauty Trends

Step one, collect your urine. Step two, wash with it. Step three, become nauseous while grossing out those around you (presumably). This might sound like some sort of cruel hazing ritual, but it’s actually the latest trend in beauty therapy.

It’s called “urine skin therapy” and it’s exactly what it sounds like: using urine to wash one’s skin with. Practitioners of urine skin therapy claim that pee – preferably the first pee of the day since it has the most nutrients and antibodies – helps with everything from acne to dry skin and eczema. It has also been said to boost the skin’s elasticity. Sure, you may have to wash with pee, but your skin will look radiant.

And just like every other beauty practice that gets labeled as a “new fad”, there are those who will rush to point out that it has actually been practiced for centuries. Shape magazine reports that the earliest documented accounts of washing with urine showed up in India around 500 years ago, but it is actually believed to have been practiced as far back as the Middle Ages and even ancient Egypt.

While washing one’s face with urine might seem gross, urine has been a popular – albeit ineffective – remedy for years. You may have heard of athletes using urine as a locker room remedy for curing athlete’s foot. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough urea in human urine to effectively compete with over the counter remedies. Another area where urine has been said to be an applicable fix is in the case of jellyfish stings. Regardless what your prankster friend tells you, peeing on the stung area probably won’t do much good. The urea in human urine just isn’t strong enough to break down the toxins. “Despite what anyone tells you, do not apply vinegar, urine or meat tenderizer to the affected area,” says UAMS neurosurgeon Dr. T. Glenn Pait.

The shift of using urine to wash one’s skin is likely just a part of western culture’s interest in getting back to natural products. “There are a variety of urine treatments people have become interested in recently, especially as we continue to look for more natural treatment options,” says Monica Schadlow, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. “Urine therapy can be topically applied as fresh urine, and there are even some devotees who also promote ingestion of urine.”

“Wait a second, isn’t urine made up of toxins my body is getting rid of?” Well, yes… sort of. It’s mostly just water and excess nutrients your body didn’t need upon ingestion. “Urine itself is sterile, unless you are ill and have a urinary tract infection, and there are other electrolytes and hormones excreted in it,” says Schadlow.

If the idea of washing your face with urine makes you gag, well, we have some bad news that you may want to sit down for. Those skincare products you swear by – they might already have urine in them. Rachel Nazarian M.D. of Schweiger Dermatology Group, recently said that urine is already used in a lot of our skincare products. Read the ingredients and if you see “urea” listed, there’s a chance you’ve already been washing with some percentage of pee all along.


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