I Wiped Pee On My Face to Cure My Acne
Real words that came out of my colleague’s mouth.
Recently, a WomanElle coworker made this exact confession to me, and I felt…nothing but fascinated. Was it weird? Did it smell? But most important, DID IT WORK? And because I’m sure half of you reading this are more than willing to do a whole lot worse for good skin (hi, I once took an acne drug that made me get my period every eight days for a year), I went ahead and reported this beautiful lil story to uncover how it all worked out. Or didn’t.
“It was not my first choice in treatments,” says Christina, who asked that her name be changed to protect her privacy and also to pay homage to her childhood idol, Christina Aguilera, who has probably not put pee on her face. “I had terrible cystic acne in college that wouldn’t clear with products or prescriptions, so I would sit on Google, crying and looking for a cure.”
She ended up in an online community that swore by urine as an exfoliating zit fix (sounds crazy, but there are still plenty of blogs and Red- dit threads out there full of people cosigning this claim). “It was gross, but I was desperate, so before bed, I peed on a Q-tip like a pregnancy test and wiped it all over my cheeks,” says Christina. “I remember looking in the mirror-like, This is what it’s come to; this is what I’m doing.”
That smell tho
“The sites said the odor would go away when it dried—it didn’t—and that I should apply pee daily with my skincare routine,” says Christina. “I was hoping for a miracle, but my skin looked the exact same the next morning and I just couldn’t do it again.”
Fair. But what if someone (hi again) were to rub pee on their face for weeks, months, even years?
“What? No,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD. “I have no problem with urine itself—it’s sterile—but what that urine comes out of definitely isn’t.” Basically, your pee can introduce a host of issues and bacteria that could lead to anything from pink eye to some weird face infection.
IDK, guys, and maybe it’s just me, but when I hear “weird face infection,” I also hear “not worth it.” Like, I get that urine is technically high in urea, an exfoliant that, yes, can break down your top layer of skin cells to smooth bumps. And that it works kinda like salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids— but “all of those are safer and more effective and don’t carry the possible risk of E. coli,” says Dr. Gohara. So.
Listen, if no other zit- killing treatments existed and if you could somehow catheter yourself (pls, no) to get that sterile urine straight from its golden source… fine. Go forth. But even then, there isn’t really legit scientific reason urine would be superior to proven pee-free acne products.
As for Christina, she has moved on from her deep-web experimentations and has this parting take: “Honestly,” she says, “if the pee had worked, I would still be rubbing it on my face today—and probably would have convinced all my friends to do it too.”