I Tried A 'Urine Facial' To Treat My Severe Acne

The things we do for clear skin.

woman touching face Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

I have done many strange things in the pursuit of beauty. 

There was the time I got a bird poop facial to brighten my skin. There was also the time I put my boyfriend's semen on my face to improve my complexion. 

So it goes without saying that when I first read about the urine facial, my curiosity was piqued. 

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The idea behind the urine facial is simple enough. 

Using a cotton ball, you cover your entire face in your own urine. 

I was relieved to learn that I would not be required to procure the urine of a stranger for reasons that I hope are very obvious. 

Once the urine has been applied, you sit and wait for 15 minutes. Presumably, you also should avoid the outdoors and human beings altogether. Then splash with water to remove. 

Urine facials are supposed to clean your acne and brighten dull, dead skin. Apparently, your pee is good for you.

This sounded pretty good to me. I'm in my 30s but I still get the odd zit (especially during that time of the month) and the changing seasons have my skin flaking off like layers of croissant dough, only infinitely less inviting. 


As insane and medieval as this practice sounds, there is a little (very little) science to support it. 

Our urine is made up mainly of two things. The first is water (which we already know is quite good for our skin, lol) and the second thing is urea. 

Urea can act like an exfoliant because of its mildly acidic properties, but it doesn't stop there. 

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Urea is keratolytic, meaning, it can dissolve the rough buildup of keratin. In fact, a lot of creams and cleansers on the market contain urea, especially items designed to remove calloused skin on your feet. 

But it's worth noting that products with urea in it contain a 15% solution. The amount of urea in your own urine maxes out at about 5%, so the results won't be anywhere near as intense, and also you will have your own pee on your face. 


Having done my research, I got to work. 

I procured a small bowl I keep on my dresser to display pretty stones. I dumped out the stones and considered cleaning the bowl, but then, realizing I was going to be peeing into it, decided that was a waste of time. 

Peeing into a bowl made me feel a lot like a monster person. Especially because halfway through my cats both came in to stare at me being all "What on EARTH are you doing?" 

Judgmental cats are the worst. 

My urine gathered I decided to bite the bullet. Because the only thing worse than putting your own urine on your face is putting your own cold urine on your face

My pee did not smell great.


I currently have my period, so in addition to smelling like fresh hay, my urine had notes of decomposing fall leaves with maybe a body buried under them. 

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Dabbing on the urine was a strange experience. I started out gritting my teeth, but much in the way that it is hard to be grossed out by your own farts or poop smells, I wasn't really that bothered by smelling my own menstrual urine. 

It was strangely comforting.

Immediately after having this thought, I wondered what my life would've been like if I'd decided to be a lawyer and not a stay-at-home writer who will gladly smear her own urine on her face for fun and profit. 


To get the full spa experience I poured myself some sparkling water and watched reruns of Vanderpump Rules for fifteen minutes while I let the urine work its magic. 

When the timer went off (right after Jax was arrested stealing sunglasses in Hawaii, for all you Vanderpump fans) I washed my face with warm water. 

My skin felt smooth and soft, but it was also a little red and irritated. I noticed in the final moments of my facial that my skin had begun to burn. 



Once my skin calms down, we'll know for sure, but right now I'm going to go ahead and say that a urine facial is a disgusting waste of time, but a not-unpleasant way to spend a rainy Friday at home with nothing else to do. 

Rating: C+

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a freelance writer and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.