When celebrities share their beauty secrets, you can’t help but perk up and wait for the latest news on the most innovative products and miracle treatments. When that celebrity is Gwyneth Paltrow, you drop everything to find out what the next big thing that the 43-year-old actress and Goop impresario is obsessed with. Whether it’s cupping, a bone broth diet or her favorite detox, the healthy-living lifestyle guru seems to always be ahead of the wellness trends. This time around, you might not want to follow her down the beehive.
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In an article with The New York Times, she talks about her penchant for trying new things in the name of beauty and a bizarre and painful practice involving bees. “I’m open to anything. I’ve been stung by bees,” says Paltrow. “It’s a thousands-of-years-old treatment called apitherapy. People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.”
Wait, what? As crazy as it sounds apitherapy, or bee venom therapy, is a real thing. According to the American Apitherapy Society, the medicinal use of products made by honeybees can treat many conditions, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, wounds, pain, gout, shingles, burns, tendonitis and various other infections. The ancient practice is not limited to bee sting therapy; any use of product straight from the hive can help with the treatment of these conditions.
According to Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, you should definitely skip the actual bee sting part. “The use of bee venom, honey, royal jelly and pollen—all products derived from bees as medicine—has been proven to have beneficial properties that can help with common skin issues like acne, psoriasis and eczema, but there are no studies that suggest that actually getting stung by a bee can help with inflammation or skin issues like these. In fact, a bee sting would cause redness, pain and even more inflammation to occur.”
Paltrow herself warns about the pain associated with bee sting therapy, but Dr. Downie is concerned about a much more serious threat than just pain. “I wouldn’t recommend getting purposely stung by a bee to anyone. Many people aren’t even aware that they’re allergic to bee stings until it’s too late. At best you can get a bad bee sting, but the worst case scenario is that if you are allergic to bee venom, you could die.”
This is one crazy health and wellness practice where the risk may outweigh the potential benefits. We’re gonna skip this one for now and hope that her next beauty advice is a lot less painful.
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