7 Celebrity Health Trends You Should Never Try, According to Experts
Following your favorite star's wellness routine could be hazardous to your health.
Some celebrity health routines make a lot of sense. Jennifer Aniston, for example, has found a healthy way to solve her solve her sleep problems, and on the advice of her acupuncturist, Lucy Liu transitioned from being vegan to going with a vegetarian, plant-focused diet that allows her to share some eggs with her son.
On the flip side of that, strange celebrity health trends have existed since the time of Old Hollywood, ranging from a silent movie star's "Lamb Chop and Pineapple Plan" (exactly what it sounds like: eat nothing but lamb chops and pineapples) to Elizabeth Taylor's eat-whatever-I-want-whenever-I-want dietary approach. And while some of these trends are simply ineffective, others are downright dangerous. Read on to find out what experts say about seven questionable celebrity health habits.
Most people will run in the opposite direction when they hear a telltale buzzing sound, but Gwyneth Paltrow has raved about apitherapy, which involves being stung by bees. "It's a thousands of years old treatment… People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring," Paltrow told The New York Times. "It's actually pretty incredible."
Megan Ayala, a nutrition, fitness and health expert at Patricia and Carolyn, disagrees—for several reasons. "Bee sting therapy is literal death for honeybees," she says. "It is a cruel act towards the insects." In addition, "bee venom is known to induce a histamine response," Ayala warns. "This causes anything from irritation like swollen, reddened skin, to severe allergic reactions that can be life-threatening."
"I like [to] give my vagina a little vitamin D," actress Shailene Woodley told Into the Gloss, advising readers to "spread your legs and get some sunshine."
This concept is "absurd," says Ayala. "Yes, getting vitamin D is essential, but directly exposing your private parts to the sun is taking it too far." Ayala also discourages people (such as Josh Brolin, who posted on Instagram about getting burned from the activity) from perineum sunning.
Sunning in general can cause sunburns and skin cancer. And "It's even riskier for people who have high-risk strains of HPV," warns Ayala. "Sunning the genital area would essentially increase the risk of HPV-related cancer."
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Kim Kardashian made headlines for having her face smeared with her own blood, known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or a "vampire facial" (she later regretted the procedure, calling it "the most painful thing ever").
"A vampire facial is supposed to restore your youthful skin cells, right? Wrong," says Ayala. "Getting your blood injected back in the skin can cause burning, redness, prolonged swelling, and bruises on the face." Ayala also advises that "Certified dermatologists are hard to find, and they charge high fees, prompting people to go cheap, which is [hazardous] to their skin."
Vitamin IV drips
Celebrities such as Rihanna have tried vitamin infusions, which were popularized in the 1960s and are said to "help boost the immune system and replenish lost electrolytes and vitamins," according to Fashion. But the scary side of vitamin IV drips was exposed when Kendall Jenner was rushed to the hospital following a bad reaction to the treatment. Jonathann Kuo, an anesthesiologist in New York, told Vogue that vitamin IV drips aren't really necessary, adding that "there are some vitamins and substances that react with each other" and can cause a bad reaction.
There are more reasons to be cautious about these infusions. "Aside from possible infections from improper needle use (which can happen in both hospital and home settings), vitamin toxicity can occur," reports BuzzFeed News. "For example, if you take too much vitamin B6, which is associated with brain health and mood improvement, you can damage your nerves in a way that can lead to permanent numbness in your limbs."
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Makeup artist Bobbi Brown told Yahoo! News that she experienced an "almost addictive feeling of wellness for most of the day" after trying cryotherapy—described by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) as "a three-minute session in a freezing tank." Normally used on specific areas of the body to target skin conditions like warts, skin tags, and some types of cancer, a form of cryotherapy known as Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is trendy among stars these days. "I did feel a little less inflamed and my clothes felt a little looser," Brown reported. "I had been having pain in my joints, and that definitely subsided."
"Exposure to extreme cold can cause injuries," notes Ayala. "Dousing your whole body in a frozen chamber increases the risk of getting frostbite or cold-induced rashes, [and] the extreme cold may also aggravate your other health conditions."
In addition, "Despite claims by many spas and wellness centers to the contrary, [the FDA] does not have evidence that WBC effectively treats diseases or conditions like Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stress, anxiety or chronic pain," the FDA says on its website.
Gwyneth Paltrow is at it again! In 2018, Paltrow's beauty and wellness empire Goop promoted something called a "coffee enema" (a DIY flush of coffee into the rectum) via a device called the Implant O' Rama. But the "treatment" is now known to have caused serious side effects including rectal burns, infection, bowel perforation, and even death, according to Healthline. "At-home enemas like the one Goop is promoting have also been associated with severe infections and sepsis and severe 'degradation' of the colon wall and perforations," David M. Poppers, MD, PhD, told Men's Health. Coffee enemas have even resulted in death, according to WebMD.
It's not just what's in the enema, either. "Celebrities have professionals to help them out, but it's different for a normal person," says Ayala. "An incorrectly administered enema can damage tissue in your rectum, cause bowel perforation and, if the device is not sterile, infections."
Drinking your own urine
Celebrities like Madonna (who reportedly said that she likes to follow an ice-cold bath by drinking her own pee) and Bear Grylls have touted the benefits of drinking their own urine.
"Consuming urine can cause bacteria and toxins to be directly immersed in your body [and] it can lead to kidney and multiple diseases," Ayala explains succinctly. "Not only that, it's disgusting."