I Tried The Korean Skin-Care Trend Of Cleaning My Face With Silkworm Cocoons

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silkworm cocoons

I hate bugs. 

I hate them a lot. 

It is a deep and irrational fear that is best explained as, "They just have too many legs, and what if their legs touch my skin?"

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See, like I said: not rational. 

My old roommate used to know that there was a roach in the apartment when she got home because there would be a mug in the middle of the floor hiding said roach and I would be standing on my bed trying to remember how to breathe AND not soil myself. 

So how did it transpire, that I, a woman terrified of bugs in the extreme, found myself buying empty silkworm cocoons that I would later rub all over my face?

Vanity, thy name is Becca.

My skin is something I've always been obsessive about. Lotions, potions, face masks, tonics, and creams? I have tried them all.

I've even wiped semen on my face to see if it improved the quality, and got a $200 bird poop facial to see if it reduced redness. 

And while silkworm cocoons might seem like a weird beauty trend, it isn't nearly as weird as some other methods of making yourself younger-looking or hotter. Some people have even tried to stick wasp galls in their vaginas to improve them ... so by those extremes, this isn't even so bad.

I've been lucky and my skin has been pretty clear since my mid-20s, but some hormonal shifts in the past couple of years have me breaking out in acne like a young horny teen whose voice hasn't finished changing yet. 

As a devotee of all things Korean and Japanese beauty (legitimately: their skincare science is 10 years ahead of ours, look it up) I'd been using a bunch of different clarifying masks and it seemed to have only made things worse. 

That's when these silk cocoons were recommended to me. That's right, these are ACTUAL empty cocoons. They are cheap and easy to find in Asian beauty stores or just by doing a quick search online. Each cocoon is only used once, so don't be weirded out by how many come in a packet when you search for them online. 

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Here's what silkworm cocoons are supposed to do in three parts: 

1. The silk cocoons are supposed to be this ultra-soft way of ridding your face of dead skin.

I usually go for abrasive scrubs when it comes to exfoliation, and this seemed like a less painful alternative. 

2. Silkworms produce sericin when they spin their cocoons.

Thus, you're supposed to get sericin on your face when you use them. That's a good thing because applying sericin regularly can actually improve the strength of your skin's barrier properties, making it healthier and younger looking. SIGN ME UP. 

3. Silk cocoons are also supposed to impart collagen to your skin and we love collagen.

However "we" have also been writing about skincare long enough to know that smearing collagen on TOP of your skin isn't really going to do anything, but I'll give them a pass on this. 

To use the silk cocoons, you've got to let them sit in hot water for about 20 minutes. Do not panic — they do not dissolve or anything. They just sort of turn into this soft, soggy finger-shoe.

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Once the cocoon is primed (she wrote as if this were some sort of alien tome) pop it right on your finger, briefly terrorize the people you live with by running around yelling "I'm hatching, I'm hatching!"  and then finally gently exfoliate your problem areas by rubbing the cocoon on your face in small circles until you have cleared your skin of unwanted flaky patches. 

You don't need to scrub very hard or for very long. I briskly scrubbed my problem areas and tossed the things in a total of about three minutes. 

You guys, these things really work! I used them around my nose, my mouth, and select places on my forehead. 

Because they are tiny they give you a controlled amount of exfoliation so you're just scrubbing off your dead skin not hurting sensitive and not-so-flaky skin in the process. 

I noticed that putting on my foundation and sunscreen was much easier since I didn't have to deal with little flaky dead patches of my own skin.

And the effects have lasted, which makes me think that there are in fact, benefits to smearing sericin all over your person. You're supposed to exfoliate your face about once a week, but my skin still felt clear and smooth two weeks out. So apparently they do keep your skin clearer for longer. 

Definitely try them out. They will not cure your fear of bugs, but they will make you feel better about getting older. 

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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.