Luxury skin treatments are a truly global industry. With a blend of old-school remedies and cutting edge science, spas and products are on-hand to offer the best skincare money can buy.
The following are some of the most luxurious skin treatments:
1. Vampire Facial
‘Vampire facial’ is a name as descriptive as it is off-putting. As you’d assume, blood is involved.
Made popular in recent years in the US thanks to some serious celebrity endorsements, there’s still considerable controversy as to whether these facials are effective.
A dermatologist draws blood from their patient’s arm before separating the plasma from the red blood cells. This plasma is full of platelets, fragments of blood cells used in clotting. The facial skin is then pierced with tiny needles and the plasma injected.
Allegedly, platelets are involved in healing and can therefore rejuvenate collagen. This should lead to firmer skin, although there’s minimal support from mainstream dermatology.
Treatments typically cost between £1400 and £2000.
2. Ruby and Diamond Peel
Looking for a way to get rid of those unwanted precious gems? Renowned Hollywood aesthetician Scott-Vincent Borba has devised a luxury skincare routine for just that purpose.
The treatment involves rubbing crushed rubies and diamonds across the skin, then doing a lactic acid peel to promote cell regeneration, then running heating wands across the area, before applying LED lights.
This is a luxury version of standard exfoliation. The gems have a dermabrasive effect, removing dead skin cells, while the heating wands are supposed to help drain the lymphatic system.
Treatments typically cost £5638 ($7000).
3. Bird Dropping Facial
Surprisingly, the use of nightingale feces as a skin treatment isn’t a new trend. ‘Uguisu no fun’ dates back to 17th-century Japan. Famed for its ability to remove the dyes in fabric, bird feces was also supposed to brighten the skin..
With clinics opening in Manhattan, this historical treatment has spread to the West.
Nightingales are used because their diet consists of seeds, creating a specific enzyme in their fecal matter. This is sanitised with a UV light before being dried, ground into powder, and shipped globally.
The urea found in the bird’s excretion has a moisturising effect, while the “fat-degrading” enzyme allegedly smooths the skin surface.
Treatments typically cost £180.
Source: Ian Redman
4. Radiofrequency Skin Tightening
Are you looking for a non-surgical way to lift your face? Radiofrequency tightening uses advanced heating technology to revitalise skin, but comes with a hefty price tag.
Radiofrequency energy is used to direct an electrical current to the skin. Cellular resistance converts these frequencies into heat, denaturing collagen. This stimulates replacement growth and creates visibly tighter skin for several weeks following the procedure.
Because it’s non-invasive, this treatment is an attractive solution to the standard facelift. However, it’s not without risks. It’s a procedure that must be carried out by a skilled professional.
Treatments typically cost between £1600 and £2400.
5. Sake Bath
You may or may not have heard of sake, the traditional Japanese rice wine, but it has some interesting skin benefits. One of the stranger treatments on this list, in Japan it’s possible to bathe in this beverage.
By slowly dripping sake into a hot tub, naturally moisturising amino acids are said to replenish dry skin. On top of this, kojic acid is supposed to improve complexion. Traditional geishas used to apply sake before makeup for its rejuvenating effects.
Spa treatments are only offered by inns (‘ryokans’) in Niigata, the top sake-producing region. With such a strong national affinity for the drink, it’s difficult to sort fact from fiction, but it’s certainly a cultural experience to remember.
Bottled extract typically costs £70.
6. Bee Venom
Bee venom is the mysterious luxury compound that many claim can reduce the appearance of ageing. Although the way it works is a mystery, it’s thought that the venom triggers an anti-inflammatory response in skin.
Melittin, the main compound in bee venom, relaxes the face and breaks down cell membranes. This anaphylactic response promotes healthier circulation, smoothing the appearance of wrinkles and adding vibrancy to your complexion.
Does this mean we’re tricking the body into thinking it’s been stung? Effectively. With the extra blood flow to ‘affected’ areas comes the added benefit of collagen and elastin production, key components of firmer, younger skin. So far, lab tests have been inconclusive.
Treatments typically cost between £120 and £600.
Based on thousand-year old Ayurvedic practices, turmeric holds a special place in Indian culture. With proven benefits for our internal health, it makes sense that this spice could be used externally.
The ‘ubtan’ is the traditional full-body turmeric mask worn before a girl’s wedding day. Designed to increase her radiance and beauty, modern women continue to use variations of this treatment.
Curcumin is the antioxidant in turmeric responsible for increasing skin elasticity, healing wounds, and preventing collagen breakdown.
Turmeric has some serious science backing up its historical claims. Of the numerous herbs and spices used for their health benefits throughout history, turmeric has retained its top position. Many luxurious products and treatments now use this humble herb as their main ingredient.
Face masks typically cost £30.
Source: Simon A. Eugster
Despite their popularity, only a few of these skin treatments have been proven to be effective. However, as with many things tagged with ‘luxury’, new experiences are often seen as valuable as positive results. From the hot tubs of Niigata to the dermatology clinics of America, these treatments promise to give customers lifelong memories.