While there are many spa treatments available, Beverly Hills spa owner Vida Emanuel warns that a number of recent exotic-sounding treatments do not meet their lofty claims. As with many fads, certain treatments do not have the backing of scientific studies and can actually do more harm to the body than help.
A medieval-sounding procedure has recently gained new interest. The procedure is called “ear candling” and can be done at home with a cheap, easily purchased kit. Used to eliminate excess ear wax, it involves placing a cone in the ear and lighting the end. As the flame moves closer to the ear canal, the heat is said to form a vacuum that draws out ear wax. It is touted as a chemical free option for removing unwanted ear wax. However, a certain level of ear wax is important to the protection of the ears against infection and to keep them moisturized. Additionally, ear wax is not like ordinary wax and can react unexpectedly to fire due to its makeup of a number of substances. This provides the chance for burning the ear canal and according to the Mayo Clinic, it can actually push ear wax deeper into the ear.
Another popular new treatment is the use of fish in removing dead skin from the feet. It involves clients putting their feet in a fish and water-filled tub and letting the fish nibble on the feet. Many states have banned this procedure due to health and safety concerns. There has not been enough research to guarantee the fish will not transmit diseases to people. Additionally the nibbling can inflict tiny cuts on the feet that are prone to infection as the water that holds the fish cannot be fully sanitized. There are also animal abuse concerns, as the fish are kept starving so they will go for the feet whenever required. Vida Emanuel recommends people wanting softer, exfoliated feet get a traditional pedicure which can be fully sanitized and produces just as effective results. Her Beverly Hills day spa even offers a 24-Karat gold pedicure that uses acid balanced water for optimal disinfecting in advance of a full cleansing and microdermabrasion procedure the leaves the client with beautiful, soft feet without the need for making said feet fish food.
Another recently popular procedure that also utilizes animals for theoretical beauty treatments is called the Geisha Facial. The Geisha facial requires covering the face with nightingale droppings. It gets its name because Geisha used the technique to remove their intense daily makeup. However Geishas used the technique when modern face cleansing was unavailable. Modern day Geisha Facial providers claim to sanitize the nightingale manure and add additional face soothing minerals and ingredients to further improve the benefits of the facial. Many dermatologists are unimpressed with the new procedure and equate its effectiveness to that of a store-brand face mask. Vida Emanuel recommends skipping the bird poop mask. Most modern day facials, including the ones at her Beverly Hills day spa, will clean the face with scientifically proven, hypoallergenic cleansers that are just as effective without the need for covering the face with manure.
In a similar vein, a new technique that is gaining popularity and even has Madonna as a supporter, is using human urine to treat all sorts of ailments. Madonna used urine to treat athlete’s foot. Most people, however, are using it as a moisturizer and also an astringent to prevent breakouts. Users believe that the combination of urea and various minerals in the urine can be beneficial when applied to the body. In fact, urea has been used for years in face creams and beauty products. Urea is well studied in having beneficial effects, but using personal urine may not be as effective. Urea attracts water molecules so when it is absorbed by the skin, it helps the skin hold onto water. It can also be effective in helping cell turnover producing a lightening, brightening, and de-blemishing effect for the skin. Personal urine, however, has unreliable levels of urea and there has been no proven evidence that the skin will even absorb urine. This means people may be applying urine to themselves but none of its proposed benefits will take effect, as it will simply sit on the surface until it is washed off. Many creams that contain urea are very affordable for all budgets, so Vida Emanuel recommends people interested in the benefits of urea skip trying to use urine and simply look for products that contain urea. These creams have also been tested and approved by the FDA, whereas urine, while usually fairly harmless can be unpredictable and its proposed benefits are untested.
Many of the fad treatments come from exotic places, or ancient recipes or techniques. While many times, modern-day scientists have been surprised by the effectiveness of techniques utilized by peoples who did not have the science to know why their techniques worked, Vida Emanuel recommends potential clients of these procedures wait until there is also significant scientific studies backing certain procedure’s lofty claims. Just as there are a number of surprisingly effective traditional techniques, there are exponentially more, supposed miracle cures that cannot live up to their bold claims. Attempting procedures with unsubstantiated claims can not only seriously hurt a client’s wallet but can, in some cases, seriously hurt the health of the client.