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The 5 Weirdest Animal-Derived Skincare Ingredients

Are you a follower of the 10-step Korean skincare routine? Or is the most effort you can put in is to slap on some sunscreen before stepping out of the house? Whichever camp you are in, you most likely have at least one skin care product stashed in your medicine cabinet.


The Booming World of Skincare

Skincare is an essential part of most women’s (and men’s!) daily routine, and the beauty industry knows it. It is impossible to walk in a shopping mall without stumbling on the brick-and-mortar stores of different beauty brands. The shelves of supermarkets and drugstores are also lined with a seemingly endless number of skincare products. Whether you are looking for a product to erase the wrinkles on your face, or to reduce the appearance of stretch marks on your body, you are bound to come across a product that targets your specific skin concern.


The Weird World of Skin Care Ingredients

However, have you ever wondered what these products are made up of? Glancing through the ingredients list of most skincare products would show you a jumble of long and complicated names of chemicals, with a smattering of familiar ingredients such as water and alcohol. Plus, it is not news that some ingredients in skincare products are derived from animals like cows and pigs, such as gelatin and collagen. While these seem normal enough, here are some ingredients sourced from animals you might not expect.

Fish Enzyme

Not just sourced from any fish, this enzyme is taken from the eggs of the omega-3-rich fish, salmon. This enzyme is used as an exfoliating ingredient, specifically for those with sensitive skin. As people with sensitive skin will know, finding an exfoliator can be extremely difficult as the regular ones available are usually too harsh for their delicate skin. Physical exfoliators such as scrubs tend to contain microbeads that are too rough on the skin, while chemical exfoliators with ingredients like glycolic acid can aggravate the sensitivity of the skin even more. Exfoliating products containing the salmon egg enzyme, meanwhile, is gentle enough yet effective in sloughing away dead skin cells that have built up on the skin’s surface.This makes the salmon egg enzyme suitable for those with skin sensitivity. Plus, it’s exfoliating property may help to improve skin concerns such as removing acne scars and pigmentation.

Bee Venom

Yes, you read that right. People are actually using bee venom, a liquid produced when a bee stings you, as part of their skincare. This sounds extreme, but a few notable celebrities such as the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, as well as actress and Goop founder, Gwyneth Paltrow, have been known to use products containing bee venom on their skin. So, how does bee venom benefit our skin? Touted as a natural substitute for Botox, applying products with bee venom helps to plump and tighten the skin, thereby allowing you to achieve a more youthful appearance. This effect occurs because as the bee venom comes into contact with the skin, it causes more blood to rise to the surface, exactly as if you were stung by a bee. When this happens, it tricks the skin into starting the healing process by producing collagen, the ever-popular substance in skincare that gives your skin achieve a more plump and glowing appearance.

Snail Mucin

If you are an avid user of products from Korean beauty brands, the use of snail mucin in skincare is probably not a surprise. As this ingredient is increasing in its popularity, Western beauty companies are jumping on the bandwagon and creating products containing snail mucin too. If this is the first time you have heard of snail mucin, it is basically the slime produced by snails. It contains chemicals that are known to be humectants, which are substances that allow the skin to retain its moisture levels. Thus, this makes snail mucin a particularly popular ingredient to include in products that target those with dry and dehydrated skin.

Bird Poo

If you are not keen on spreading snail slime on your face to combat parched skin, what about some bird poo instead? Also known as guano, using the excrement from birds (the nightingale species, to be exact) on the skin were popular among Japanese geishas as well as kabuki actors because of its effectiveness in removing their makeup completely. This was essential for the geishas and kabuki actors as the makeup used at the time was usually made of zinc and lead, which are harmful to the skin. Furthermore, using guano enabled them to remove their thick makeup without stripping away their skin’s moisture, thus preventing their skin from becoming dry and dehydrated. Nowadays, you can find guano used as a facial treatment in a number of spas around the world to help customers achieve soft and smooth skin.

Horse Oil

This is another ingredient to take note of if you are dealing with dry and dehydrated skin. Horse oil, which is obtained from the fatty deposits of horses, has moisturising properties that allow the skin to remain hydrated. It is also claimed to have the ability to heal small cuts and wounds on the skin due to its linolenic acid composition. Thus, as bizarre as it is, if you have skin concerns such as improving acne scars, horse oil may be a good option to consider.