Silence of the Lambs - A new dawn in anti-ageing cosmetics, or is it!


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Are we seriously taking a step back into the dark ages for skincare? This is my first reaction on hearing about the "sheep placenta" facial.

Here I was thinking the industry had moved away from such kinds of animal insertions into skincare. With the revelation of the European Union banning cosmetics to be sold within the EU having undergone testing on our lesser earth sharers in the food chain (unless they were imported before the ban). Yet, here we are hearing the likes of Simon Cowell and Victoria Beckham ‘supposedly’ affirming that this facial is the success of their skincare! What a load of gobblede-gook. Go back to botox and Restylain. Which brings me to my next question; Botox, previously used as a rat poison, doesn't this constitute as animal testing? Some how I don't see this being banned...

So how can it be that we can side step the EU regulation and allow animal placenta to be used to beautify our skins? Somehow this makes me feel sickly vain. Unfortunately for me this is bad timing and bad taste, considering the British sheep farmers have had such a terrible lambing season due to the long winter. An entire farming economy is suffering and yet the bi-product of their hardship is being shipped from around the world into salons, to be exhibited and plastered onto our skins.. Years ago, animal bi-products were widely used in skincare, it was the normal practice at the time, yes the results were great, but this was before we started thinking about ethics, introduced to us by organisations such as Green Peace, and looking towards innovation for enhanced replicas through bio-technology. Squalene was taken from Shark Cartilage, a common ingredient in face creams for their moisturising properties. Squalene has since been extracted from olives. Bovine extract (cows blood) was used in a certain placenta mask - yes it was called placenta mask and it resembled sticky thick blood. It was taken off the market for the same very reason. I also remember thinking what a shame when it was discontinued even though we squeemishly laughed at the bazaar texture at the time, it also gave great results in brightening the skin, vitamin and mineral masks are just as effective. Finally, whale blubber, used to create lipsticks, this has also been replaced by alternative waxes. Many more ingredients that we have been blissfully unaware of at the time or preferred not to think about are now creeping back into skincare - but where is the animal care in this? I'd rather hear more about plant stem cell technology.

On the flip side of this, there is also the argument the placenta is the bi-product that is discarded and there is no harm to the animal, some may even say recycling... I'm not a vegetarian and my roots lie deeply and closely with farming so the less wastage and greater use of all farm life is always better, normally however the sheep mother would ingest the placenta afterwards, partially as nutrition and partially as instinct to protect the lamb from predators looking for the easiest targets. Placenta in other cultures was and is still ingested by the human mother as part of their tradition. ‘Placentophagy’ also seems to be a growing trend in modern society to replenish the loss of hormones which is prevalent in post natal depression. However, I just can't pull my ethical mind to grasp placenta facials are a good thing, I’m open for persuasion, but make up your own mind – would you paint placenta over your face? Sounds more like war paint to me to scare off your neighbours.

I wonder what's next... fresh salmon fillets for an O-Mega mask!

Fishing anyone…where's the can of worms?

Best Wishes, Felicity