Do you already feel like hesitating at the thought of putting placenta on your face? Then you may want to look away. Being rich in rejuvenating stem cells, afterbirth is becoming an increasingly popular miracle cure.
Hollywood stars January Jones and Alicia Silverstone made headlines in 2011 for taking placenta pills to regain their energy after giving birth, but now the focus is on anti-aging.
In LA, A-listers doctor Harold Lancer is known as the man behind the placenta facial, beloved by Victoria Beckham. It involves applying a serum made from sheep’s placenta to the skin. And you’ll see placenta popping up in more and more high-quality anti-wrinkle creams too.
Usually sourced from sheep, pigs, cows or deer, placenta is used in Asia for its rapid skin healing powers, and is being studied in the medical field to aid the slow-healing wounds of diabetics.
Victoria Woodhall gives verdict on a selection of placenta products for sale in the UK as the ingredient has been dubbed the new elixir of youth (file image)
‘The placenta is rich in proteins, enzymes and growth factors from stem cells. When processed properly, they can have skin-enhancing benefits,” says Dr Sophie Shotter, who has seen great results with Calecim Professional Placenta Serum in reducing downtime after clinical facials. “Studies show that placenta proteins have anti-aging benefits,” she adds.
It is vital to check how the placenta was obtained and processed in your cream. dr. Maryam Zamani, who includes Elle Macpherson as a client, clearly mentions the placenta of sheep (sheep) in two of her anti-aging creams, although she didn’t tell me until I emailed that the placenta was ethically sourced from a rural sheep farm in New Zealand. Zealand, who collect the placenta after the animals give birth.
You may be wary of the idea of applying afterbirth to your face, but no live placenta cells make it to the final creams. The cells are frozen, heat treated or cultured to release a rich cocktail of proteins, growth factors and amino acids called “placental protein.”
‘Placetal protein contains active enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants that stimulate skin cell renewal and slow down the aging process,’ says Dr Zamani. Strict safety and ethical controls mean that a good placenta cream comes with a high price tag, says Dr. Shotter.
Still not sure? We tested six placenta products, so you don’t have to. . .
EYEGEL OF NEW ZEALAND SHEEP
Nature’s Beauty Ovine Placenta Eye Gel, £12.95, kiwisheepskins.com
Victoria said Nature’s Beauty Ovine Placenta Eye Gel (pictured) wasn’t worth the £11 postage from New Zealand
What is it? A cooling cucumber and Manuka honey gel with sheep placenta protein.
How is it going? It may seem cheap but I had to spend £11 on top of my order to have this shipped from New Zealand. The country has high animal welfare standards and the placenta is organic, but I wasn’t convinced enough to finish the pot.
Pronunciation: Not worth the shipping cost. 2/5
WRINKLE BUSTER WITH OWN SCENT G
MZ Skin by Dr. Maryam Zamani Replenish and Restore, £255, mzskin.com
Victoria said that MZ Skin from Dr. Maryam Zamani Replenish and Restore (pictured) is a tried and proven doctor’s formula
What is it? An overnight recovery mask with five percent placental protein solution (from sheep) and two percent vegetable placenta from asparagus stem cells, as well as peptides and hyaluronic acid.
How is it going? This silky smooth mask left my dehydrated skin feeling plumper overnight.
As Dr Zamani likes to minimize added fragrance, there is a slight egg odor from the active ingredients. I like that the product itself has been tried to show a decrease in wrinkle depth of up to 14.4 percent after a month of nightly use.
Pronunciation: A time-tested proven doctor’s formula.4/5
NUTRITIONAL LAB AFTER BIRTH POTION
Sarah Chapman London Skinesis Comfort Cream D-Stress, £66, sarah chapman.com
Victoria said Sarah Chapman London Skinesis Comfort Cream D-Stress (pictured) is a soothing cream for modern stress
What is it? A nourishing repair cream with bio-placenta, a blend of synthetic growth factors made in a lab to soothe sensitive skin and increase elasticity.
How is it going? It softens and plumps up misbehaving menopausal skin, and also acts as a shield against pollution, with ceramides to lock in moisture. It uses ‘bio-placenta’, ie placenta made in a lab.
Although it does not contain the proteins of animal placenta, it is a complex of similar growth factors with anti-wrinkle properties.
Pronunciation: A soothing cream for modern stress.4/5
THE BEST DEER NAVEL CREAM
Calecim Professional Multi-Action Cream, £61 for 20g, calecim professional.com
Victoria said Calecim Professional Multi-Action Cream (pictured) produced noticeable results in improving skin tone
What is it? A high-quality anti-aging lifting cream made from the umbilical cord lining of red deer, which is even richer in stem cells than placenta. It is usually only available in clinics, but you can buy it directly from the supplier.
How is it going? Targeting skin laxity and showing noticeable results in improving tone, puffiness and cheeks after four weeks in an independent study, this cream is one of the most rigorously tested serums for safety and efficacy.
Pronunciation: This works. 4/5
BEAUTY BOOST CLAIM THAT’S A LITTLE FISH
Skin Inc Beauty Jelly Dose, £21.60, feelunique.com
Victoria only got a small mouthful of Skin Inc Beauty Jelly Dose (pictured) before pouring it down the sink
What is it? Removable sachets of jelly infused with marine placenta for ‘detox, glow and lift’.
How is it going? I only got a small mouthful of this sickly peach candy before pouring it down the sink. No doctor I spoke to mentioned fish placenta as a source of anti-aging proteins, and there’s no evidence that eating fish placenta gives you a detox glow.
It contains a small amount of marine collagen from fish scales, plus apple cider vinegar (for metabolism), vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which help to support skin hydration and collagen production.
Pronunciation: stomach churning. 0/5
HIGH PRICE ANTI-AGER
Skin Chemists London Placenta Moisturiser, £110, skinchemists.com
Victoria said Skin Chemists London Placenta Moisturizer (pictured) is too expensive, with uninformative packaging
What is it? A moisturizing cream for mature skin, with placenta protein to ‘reduce the visible signs of aging’.
How is it going? The first ingredients are water and glycerin, followed closely by coconut oil – cheap substances that don’t seem to justify the huge price tag.
Could it be the placenta protein that is special? With no details on how much it contains, or where it comes from, on the packaging or website, this artificially scented cream did not inspire confidence.
Pronunciation: Overpriced, with uninformative packaging. 1/5