Let’s face it — we try some pretty outrageous things in the name of beauty. When you suffer from skin issues, it’s often your body’s way of telling you that something just isn’t quite right. From allergic reactions to inflammation, there are many reasons why your skin may lack that “glow” you seek. What is your skin trying to tell you?
Over the years, I’m sure you’ve heard it all — yogurt masks, the benefits of activated charcoal and the list goes on and on. If you’re trying to clear up blemishes, you’re probably willing to try it all. What if someone told you that urine was the magic solution? Would you give it a go? Can you picture yourself collecting pee in order to put on your face? Yes, “golden facials” are a real thing — but do they work?
Can urine really treat acne?
When I was younger, we drove down to Myrtle Beach for some fun in the sun. My sister met a young man while we were there, who ended up going to the hospital after he reacted badly to a jellyfish sting. I remember thinking, oh god, my sister is going to pee on him.
Luckily, he was fine — but it is during these moments when we’re willing to do wild things. You know, like pee on one another. On that note, know this: If you or someone around you gets stung by a jellyfish, this remedy is actually an old myth. Urine does not possess the right chemicals in order to soothe the sting. Instead, as recommended by the Red Cross, slowly pour seawater (or vinegar) over the affected area.
Hmm, okay. So say no to urine when suffering from a jellyfish sting, but say yes when you have acne? When you break down urine, approximately 95 percent is water. The next highest concentration is urea. This compound is created when protein is metabolized, which is then excreted through urine.
The truth is, urea is already used within a range of exfoliating and moisturizing skincare products. For those who suffer from calluses, for instance, urea can help dissolve keratin in the epidermis. Although it is known for its exfoliating properties, urea is also a humectant. This means it can hydrate your skin, locking in moisture. So in theory, yes — urine may offer some skin health benefits.
Why a golden facial may not be the best bet
With that being said, the concentration of urea in your urine isn’t high enough to make a significant impact. In comparison to some of the skincare products on the market, which contain up to 15 percent urea, urine offers less than five percent. Generally speaking, it’s closer to around 2.5 percent.
Still, urinotherapy has been used throughout history in order to treat anything from acne to arthritis. Yet, after looking at the available research, it appears that this alternative therapy may lead to some significant health risks. Within one study, published in The Pan African Medical Journal, researchers tested human urine that contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Therefore, the researchers concluded that urine therapy in children should be discouraged.
What are my options to treat my skin naturally?
Based on the lack of research regarding the benefits of urine, there’s no need to start dabbing pee on your acne. There are many other available methods to try instead. If you would like to eliminate over-the-counter acne treatments, utilizing the power of natural ingredients, try these options:
1. Tea tree oil
When I was in school, lice was an issue one year. I remember my mom combing tea tree oil through my hair to repel these pesky critters — what a strong and distinct scent!
Now that I’m older, experimenting with essential oils, I have found so many beneficial uses for this natural remedy. Containing antibacterial properties, tea tree oil not only kills bacteria but also soothes the skin. If you’d like to experiment with other oils, clary sage, lavender and rosemary are also effective.
How to apply it
For optimal results, combine a 1:1 ratio of raw honey and a carrier oil, such as jojoba. Add two to three drops of tea tree oil, combine and apply to problematic areas. Leave this remedy on overnight, before rinsing in the morning. Repeat on a regular basis.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is officially amazing. It’s a common ingredient in the salad dressings I make, offering a wide range of health benefits. Although ideal for internal health, ACV also benefits our external health — helping to maintain the acid mantle of our skin.
Believe it or not, our skin is naturally acidic. When we use many conventional skincare products, the pH of our skin is disrupted, leading to vulnerability. ACV, on the other hand, not only restores the acid mantle, but will also remove dirt, oil, bacteria and dead skin cells.
How to apply it
Purchase organic ACV that contains “the mother.” Simply dilute with distilled water — a 3:1 ratio or water to ACV is recommended. If you have sensitive skin, add more water. After washing your wash, apply this toner to problematic areas and allow to dry. Repeat twice daily.
3. Green tea
I drink a whole lot of green tea, including matcha. But in times of need, I also apply it to my skin. Loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, green tea has some powerful effects on the human body. When it comes to acne, green tea can help target bacteria, prevent scarring and prevent cell damage.
How to apply it
Although drinking four to five cups daily can help support healthy skin from the inside out, you can also apply topically. Simply brew green tea, then apply to breakouts using a cotton ball. For enhanced results, stir in a small amount of raw honey. After it has dried completely, rinse with warm water and repeat twice daily. You can also apply the cooled tea bag, holding it onto the area for five minutes before rinsing.
As you adopt these types of beauty regimens, you’ll find yourself creating new, healthier habits. After all, that’s the end goal, right? Becoming a healthier version of your current self? In order to do so, it’s important to step outside the box, trying alternative remedies that truly work — all while reducing your exposure to chemicals.
Although some women swear by a golden facial, there isn’t enough evidence to support its use. So in my opinion, you’re better off experimenting with the suggestions above. Instead of filling a cup with pee, drink a cup of green tea instead. The latter will support healthy skin, while avoiding a messy situation — and, umm, putting pee on your face.
— Krista Hillis