Why did Kate Beckinsale get a ‘foreskin facial’?

Outrage made Kate Beckinsale delete her Instagram post. So now she’s free for a bird-poop facial

“Penis facial”: Kate Beckinsale took down her Instagram post after her beauty treatment prompted outrage. Photograph: François G Durand/WireImage/Getty

“Penis facial”: Kate Beckinsale took down her Instagram post after her beauty treatment prompted outrage. Photograph: François G Durand/WireImage/Getty

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Kate Beckinsale is known on Instagram for her sense of humour. The actor regularly writes funny, charming captions for her photographs. This week she miscalculated, posting an image of her make-up-free face 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?”

Beckinsale was referring to a $650, or €575, treatment offered by the New York-based facialist Georgia Louise. The facial, which has a waiting list and is loved by celebrities, involves the use of microneedles to insert a stem-cell serum into the skin. That doesn’t sound too bad, but those stem cells are cultivated from the foreskins of babies from South Korea, where male circumcision is common.

The actor has deleted the post since it prompted scandalised responses online – as it should have: the ethical issues around unnecessary surgery on babies are extremely complex; the ethical issues around profiting from using their disembodied parts to create a facial serum are less so.

This “penis facial” is not the first instance of the beauty industry spawning weird and discomfiting treatments purporting to improve or deage the skin at exorbitant prices.

Huo liao – otherwise known, terrifyingly, as the fire facial – has become popular in China in recent years. The treatment, in which an alcohol-soaked towel and a serum are placed on the skin in various areas of the body, then ignited, promises to stimulate skin and address dullness, sagging and wrinkles. “Stimulating” is indeed one way to describe fire’s effect on skin.

Kate Beckinsale on Instagram: “After a long flight I do like to lie down and be covered in a mask of liquefied cloned foreskins – frankly who doesn’t?”
Kate Beckinsale on Instagram: “After a long flight I do like to lie down and be covered in a mask of liquefied cloned foreskins – frankly who doesn’t?”
Kim Kardashian after her “vampire facial”
Kim Kardashian after her “vampire facial”
Huo liao: a man has a fire treatment in China. Photograph: VCG via Getty
Huo liao: a man has a fire treatment in China. Photograph: VCG via Getty
Bird poop: a woman has a geisha facial in New York. Photograph: James Ambler/Barcroft USA/Getty
Bird poop: a woman has a geisha facial in New York. Photograph: James Ambler/Barcroft USA/Getty

You might recall the photograph of Kim Kardashian’s blood-covered face that surfaced after she tried the “vampire facial”. If you are interested in trying this treatment, some of your blood will be drawn and then separated in a centrifuge, so the resulting plasma can be injected into and applied to your by now possibly horrified face. Don’t worry, though: as with the foreskin facial, this treatment uses microneedles, which help with healing and stimulate collagen production. Radiant.

If baby parts, fire or vampirism make you uncomfortable, you can always opt for a “snail facial”. While you relax, presumably friendly organic snails are put on your face to excrete their presumably friendly gunge while they slime about. With luck they are polite snails that know to avoid the mouth and eyes. Their gunge is apparently rich in hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, thankfully. Otherwise it would be weird to put snails on your face.

If that just seems too disgusting, you can try the “geisha facial”, in which a beauty therapist with gentle hands will lovingly apply bird excrement mixed with rice bran on to your face, probably while pan-pipes music plays softly in a darkened room. So soothing. In case you would like to book a treatment, this one is also, delightfully, known as the “bird-poop facial”, and it will set you back about €175. A steal, really.

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