An Immortal Face


Human tissue fibroblasts.

Sounds pretty benign? Clinical even? Miraculous, perhaps?

Back when I was doing medical research one of my duties was feeding and maintaining the human cell cultures. We had oblong shaped, flat plastic bottles with little orange screw top lids that I would pour the growth medium into, then add the cells. The growth medium looked like red Gatorade. The bottles would then stack on a machine that slowly rotated them, keeping the cells healthy. After a period of time, I would decant and discard most of them, while a were few kept to propagate the next generation. 

If you are curious, the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fantastic exploration of the story of the woman responsible for some of the cell lines I was using and the ethical implications.

As it turns out, I was given a bottle of the “foreskin face cream” by my dermatologist friend after reading my posts on the subject. (Thank you for reading by the way… I need to have you do a guest post.)

Not to be one to discriminate against foreskins, particularly given my recent posts, and since it had been generously given to me, I determined to go ahead and give it a try.

Truthfully, I stared at the bottle all evening. “It is red and smells like sweaty feet…” He had warned me. I squirted some out on toilet tissue and gingerly took a sniff. Hmmmm. 

The bottle has sat on the bathroom counter all week. 

I stare at it, contemplate it, worry about it.

Please do not think that poor unsuspecting babies are having their foreskins actively harvested for this face cream. A single foreskin over twenty years ago was turned into a cell culture and now those cells are grown and harvested like I described above and the fibroblasts are purified for this cream. 

That boy is probably a man now. I wonder of he knows that thousands of women are smearing the derivatives of his foreskin on their faces twice a day? I wonder how he feels about being that close to Oprah? I hope he is getting a cut of the price of this face cream. Wow.

It is important to know that you are not smearing bloody foreskin all over your face…

Except that it looks like bloody foreskin jelly. It looks like those cell cultures. The smell. I have smelled that smell before. If I did not know what those cell cultures looked like, maybe I could do it? Maybe? I felt like I should give it a go, it was a gift after all…

But I can’t!!!!

I just can’t, even if Oprah thinks it is ah-mazing. Even if it IS a miracle. Now those poor cells will have died in vain. 

Are you tired of hearing about foreskin face cream? How many posts have done on this? I know, I know….

Maybe I will stare at it a bit longer. 


97 thoughts on “An Immortal Face

  1. Ha! We all have those little things in our lives that are annoyances – that are too small to make any big changes and yet too big to forget.They act like the grain of sand in the oyster – some of them producing tiny pearls of wisdom, Ha! Happy foreskin. (You have to know that I’ve always wanted to say that and never figured I’d get a chance in this lifetime – thank you so much for a once in a lifetime opportunity.) Bwahaha!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I recently product tested a face cream. It was in an unmarked jar – no indication as to its ingredients. It wasn’t red, but it sure did smelled like sweaty feet, and my husband made me throw it out after the first try (and believe me, I was glad to do so). After reading your post, I’m sure hoping that smell was from something other than foreskins. Eeeeewwwww.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you mentioned the Henrietta Lacks book. I read it several years ago and I just might re-read it again, it was that good. Part mystery, part detective story and yet a compelling non-fiction look at a family that unwittingly contributed to the advancement of science in a big way.

    From the book description on

    “Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cellsβ€”taken without her knowledge in 1951β€”became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Doc, read what is in that face stuff you bought that was so expensive. Its all cells of something. I am not sure the point of foreskin. Does it makes you a DickHead??? not connecting it?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My rule of thumb is: if I’ve gone a whole week week without hearing about harvested baby foreskin, well then, that is a bad week. I am hoping TLC will do a reality show called “Baby Foreskin Harvesters.” That is a show I’d watch.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Royalties for foreskin, ha!

    I saw an advertisement for some weight loss pills called “Forskolin” yesterday – totally read it as “foreskin” weight loss pills. The only thing possibly more disturbing than foreskin face cream.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The most important question to ask about this foreskin cream is – does it come in a nice bottle/jar? Does it look enticing sitting on your bathroom counter?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. YUCK! I don’t think I could do it either, If you are going to put something on your face you want it to look and smell nice. From your descriptions, this cream is neither. Added to that, the fact that it was derived from a foreskin, it just makes me feel a little queasy to be honest!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: My Article Read (3-19-2015) (3-20-2015) | My Daily Musing

  10. Just tell your dermatologist friend ‘thanks’ and throw the bloody stuff away. I use Papaw Ointment on my face after shaving and it is very soothing. But my face still looks like the rest of my 72 year old body and that’s just the way things are.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would try it in a heartbeat, hon, if it was free. It’s the spending of big bucks on this cr#p that I won’t do. But if I had the bucks, I might be as foolish as the next foolish woman.

    Re: That smell, after school one rainy day, in high school, some boys were practicing track indoors in the hallways, tossing a homemade “baton”. As they approached me, one tossed it my way. The others all cried out in dismay while I easily caught it–and then recoiled, gagging mightily and dropping it, simultaneously. Never had I ever smelled or imagined smelling something so foul. Far worse than feces. Worse than vomit. I cannot–there is nothing I can compare it to.

    I wanted to burn the smell off my hands.

    The item the boys had been tossing back and forth was a balled up mass of exceedingly sweaty, dirty jockstraps. Perhaps THAT is what your cell collection smells like. If so, I would not be able to approach the room it was in.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like to think I’m a practical person…but my reaction to this post indicates I am not.
    It makes me glad I’m allergic to almost everything and have a very good reason not to rub foreskin derivatives on my face, lest I admit what a ninny I am.

    Liked by 1 person

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