Weird Skin Care: Placenta Facials

Somehow Placenta Facials has come up more then a few times in the past month in talking with friends and clients. My job inspires odd conversations which is great!

So why would you want to stick a placenta on your face?

The idea is that because its so clean and pure and highly packed with stem cells that it will have many benefits.  It is associated with many different cultural practices and also is apart of a new esthetics trend called “live cell therapy”.

As you are probably aware the placenta refers to the membranous vascular organ that develops in females during pregnancy. It lines the uterine wall and partially envelopes the fetus. The placenta is attached by the umbilical cord and is expelled following birth.

When you take it at an embryonic state it is not defined, it has not created form and there are no antibodies so there is no allergic reaction and no risk of disease. Well its not the full membrane straight out off of the baby. It can be stored and mixed with other ingredients, or its self chopped/powdered/spun around in a centrifuge and then added to other masks and creams.

According to, health claims include:

  • Increase general energy
  • Allow a quicker return to health after birth
  • Increase production of breast milk
  • Decrease likelihood of “baby blues” and post natal depression
  • Decrease likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders
  • Other benefits are also likely but too numerous to mention.
  • placenta is an effective skin-firmer, lifter and hydrator.
  • It also treats acneic skin and that which has been damaged from over-exfoliation.
  • The stem cells derived from sheep placenta are also used for their anti-aging properties as they promote collagen production and increase skin elasticity.

“…so I was hoping that the mask would help. Almost immediately my face started tingling, which I assume is all the little stem cells burrowing their way into my skin and making me look younger. I mean, this is the same stuff all the royals were taking baths in in Jupiter Ascending, right?…it left my face feeling clean and super soft but it didn’t last.” – the girls from the hairpin trying a mask out

In my professional opinion putting something on top of your skin, can only really go down into your epidermis. Serums particles are formulated so small and are only active ingredients.

Learn more about serums here.

Things that are supposed to fix deeper problems are usually inject-able like botox and collagen. Stem cells don’t worm their way down…. The only other way that medical ingredients can be placed on the skin to fix other issues deeper then skin level are transdermal patches which are made in a specific way with mirconeedles.

When they talk about live cell therapy, you go to the because when you google it it only really comes up about the medical benefits of stem cells through bone marrow transplants and other similar types of surgeries.  But even so, when they refer to the live cell therapy: it is still injections. not masks or creams.

Some vegetarians make an exception for placentas. One writer on Yahoo! Answers justified placentophagia by rationalizing that she eats eggs and placenta is basically human egg white! – science based medicine is a hilarious blog.


Quackwatch labels this as “senseless”, since “cells from the organs of one species cannot replace the cells from the organs of other species” and because a number of serious adverse effects have been reported. So sheep stem cell placenta masks can’t provide the benefits that they claim.

In a 2008 interview with CNN, Dr. Robin Ashinoff, a professor of dermatology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center said she was not aware of any studies that proved the benefits of placenta. She credited the facials’ results to the LED component included in the treatment for skin improvements. A 2015 review of placentophagy research since 1950 again found limited and inconclusive evidence for placentophagy’s health benefits, while also stating that its potential risks are yet unclear.

Next in my mini series of articles : The Vampire Facial: how spreading blood on your face like Elizabeth Bathory doesn’t make you younger.

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