Youth is a tough thing to let go. It’s no fun to see you skin starting to sag and wrinkles creeping in around your eyes and down your face. For some people, the thought of losing their soft skin and smooth complexion is so unappetizing they’d rather go through an extreme treatment than let time and nature take their course. We’re not talking about dermaplaning or Botox when we say the word extreme. The latest craze in anti-aging beauty has more in common with zoological science than a clinical process. Hiroudotherapy comes from an ancient tradition of blood treatments stretching back for centuries. It involves attaching leeches to the face and allowing them to suck your blood into a mask that can be reapplied to help preserve your body’s natural beauty. Perhaps a leech face-lift could be the key to maintaining your young complexion if you can muster the bravery.
Over the years, leeches have gained an infamous reputation for being hungry, blood-thirsty worms who will latch onto your legs and never let go if you wade in the wrong streams. In reality, they are far less intimidating than novelists and culture make them out to be. They suck a little blood and then go on their merry way. It’s rare for the wounds they leave to get infected if clean and bandage them properly after the leech is detached.
Before we move on to the strange but effective art of hiroudotherapy, let’s pause for a moment and consider some intriguing elements of leech life. They are all hermaphrodites so the whole reproduction thing is ambiguous and simple. Despite this sexual fluidity, they form some of the strongest family units of all invertebrates. Entire families will travel together to find a meal, hatchlings hanging on to their parents to go further faster. It’s surprisingly cute if you forget about the blood-sucking part.
Doctors have used leeches to treat illnesses ranging from acne to pneumonia for centuries. It all started in India when physicians started bloodletting their patients as a cure. This process later translated over to the ancient Greeks who believed the human body was made up of four “humors.” Illness was simply the manifestation of an imbalance in the body which would be corrected if you drained away the unhealthy excess. Obviously, these primitive methods are nothing like the skincare procedure in place now, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
THE VAMPIRE FACIAL
Fast-forward to the current method of leech therapy and the focus has changed. Instead of correcting the four humors, therapists and beauticians are using these little bloodsuckers to rejuvenate your skin. Leeches are used to suck blood from your abdomen or arm. This blood is then formed into a facial liquid that can be reapplied to your face. See why it’s called a vampire facial? Practically the only things missing are fangs and the Cullen family.
AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT
Gross though it may be, leech therapy is broad and effective. The chemicals in your blood brighten your skin, giving it a healthy glow. Platelets have also been known to invigorate your collagens causing the skin around your face to tighten up. These results may not convince you to undergo a leech sucking on your skin for a few minutes, but it’s sure grabbed the attention of some big A-listers.
CELEBRITIES SPEAK UP
Quite a few popular stars have tried out hiroudotherapy and emerged with a positive view of the whole process. Kim Kardashian is one of these celebs. She’s been posting Instagram photos of her face covered in nourishing blood for a few months now. Others, like actress Demi Moore, remember the graphic details of watching a leech suck blood with a little less enthusiasm. Leech therapy is definitely one of those beauty treatments that isn’t for everyone.
Now you know how a leech face-lift could potentially preserve your youthful complexion. Is it worth the squeamish process you’ll have to go through? That’s something only you can decide. As wonderful as anti-aging is, some things are simply too hard to stomach.
— Scarlett Price