The so-called penis facial lives on.
Sparked by a tongue-in-cheek endorsement by actor Kate Beckinsale, the “Hollywood EGF facial” – as it is officially known – is making the news again eight months after fellow ageless actor Cate Blanchett outed the existence of the elite treatment to us plebeians during an interview with Vogue Australia.
Developed by facialist to the stars Georgia Louise, the skincare service was previously only offered to her salon’s top-tier clients, who would then spread the word to other A-listers (Blanchett apparently learned about it from Sandra Bullock).
In the caption of an Instagram selfie (which has apparently since been deleted, but the photo, also shared by Louise, lives on), Beckinsale wrote:
“After a long flight I do like to lie down and be covered in a mask of liquefied cloned foreskins-frankly who doesn’t? Thank you @georgialouisesk for an amazing facial. I especially liked you reassuring me it would be ‘light on penis’ as it was my first time x”.
The multi-step treatment involves a cleanse and a trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel, followed by a micro-needling application of an epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum. As its nickname implies, the EGF used in the serum is produced by fibroblast (skin cell) progenitor stem cells taken from the discarded foreskins of Korean infants who were circumcised. This step is then followed by an algae-derived mask that is rubbed in with a galvanic device.
Louise notes that all ingredients in the serum are FDA approved for cosmetic applications.
Though there is little peer-reviewed science to back it up, Louise and other aestheticians who work with EGF claim that the growth factor protein revitalizes skin by boosting production of collagen and elastin (structural proteins found throughout the body that give skin tissue its firmness and springiness, respectively; as we get older, our mature fibroblasts produce less, and thus our skin sags). There is strong evidence, however, showing that EGF treatments boost the wound healing response in human skin. And since the EGF in Louise’s facial is being introduced into the dermis, the layer of the skin that contains the fibroblasts (and the collagen and elastin fibers they produce), there is a chance that this luxe facial actually delivers results.
A 2009 study conducted in hairless mice showed that dermal injections of adipose (fat tissue)-derived stem cells, which produce EGF among other growth factors, lessened the appearance of UV radiation-induced wrinkles by reducing cell death and boosting collagen synthesis.
If you have $650 lying around and want to give it a try, Louise's Manhattan spa has openings this week – when we wrote about it in March, there was a six-month waiting list.