Bee venom anti-aging products are a new fad.

In 100 years or so cosmetics historians will still be giggling over some of the crazypants things people used to put on their faces. “People used to drink arsenic! Makeup contained lead and sometimes mercury. Some people wore false eyebrows made of mouse fur. And in the 2010s, people rubbed bee venom into their faces!”

We’re really in no position to make fun of the lead-painted beauties of yesteryear, because some modern beauty products sound practically medieval. Like, for example, bee venom.

Bee venom anti-aging treatments used to seem like a punchline, or an antidote to those “Stars, They’re Just Like Us” magazine spreads of celebrities walking dogs and drinking Starbucks. They’re not just like us; they get bee venom facials! They’re crazy. (Gwyneth Paltrow is said to be a fan.)

But we might not be able to laugh so much at out-of-touch celebrities anymore, because according to the Wall Street Journal, bee venom is the latest crazy, must-have, anti-aging product—and you don’t actually have to get stung by anything, because the ingredient is turning up in all sorts of face creams, serums, and masks.

“The toxic ingredient appears in a growing number of high-end anti-aging serums, masks and moisturizers from various companies. Manuka Doctor, a line from New Zealand, boasts a purifying process that removes extraneous elements such as pollen dust or bee bits. The U.K. brand Heaven Skincare claims to use a secret ingredient that activates the bee venom.”

I will be very disappointed if the secret ingredient does not turn out to be love.

Proponents say bee venom is like Botox but natural. It is said to work by making your brain think you’ve been stung, which sends blood to the skin to help heal it and sparks an increase in collagen production.

“Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and stimulating a healthy immune response,” asserts the American Apitherapy Society, which also says bee-related therapies may be as old as human medicine itself and can be used to treat conditions including, “multiple sclerosis, arthritis, wounds, pain, gout, shingles, burns, tendonitis, and infections.”

Dermatologist Francesca Fusco told the WSJ that bee venom can decrease inflammation, but that she thinks the bee venom anti-aging trend is just another “new flavor of the month,” like how people used to be obsessed with rubbing apple stem cells into their faces.

Bee venom products aren’t exactly cruelty-free cosmetics, depending on one’s feelings regarding the suffering of honeybees. To collect venom without killing the bees, bees are given a tiny jolt of electricity that makes them release a bit of venom. The venom is collected on a piece of glass and scraped off when it dries, then mixed into fancy face creams that start around $150.

What do you think—would you try bee venom facial treatments, or is this just another crazy anti-aging fad?

Via The Wall Street Journal/Photo: Shutterstock