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Would you let a bunch of bees sting you for a beauty treatment?


Photo: Gábor Veres/Unsplash
Photo: Gábor Veres/Unsplash

A bee sting may seem like the worst thing ever, but Gwyneth Paltrow says the painful prick could actually be loaded with health benefits.

The goop founder and Juice Beauty creative director recently shared her beauty regimen with The New York Times, and it glamorously included getting stung by bees. Like, on purpose. “I’m open to anything,” the beauty guru told the Times. “I’ve been stung by bees. 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.”

Paltrow may have introduced the idea of apitherapy to the masses, but the buzz about bee venom-based treatment is hardly new. Apitherapy uses bee products—including honey, wax, pollen, and secretion—to treat a whole host of symptoms, like those associated with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and more, according to the American Apitherapy Society. (And yes, the treatment involves intentionally getting stung as many as 80 times per session. Ouch!)

So is it legit?

Biohacker and Bulletproof wizard Dave Asprey says yes, claiming bee venom is helpful for everything from thyroid issues to arthritis. He also acknowledges that bee venom can cause slight inflammation.

But Gary Goldenberg, MD, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says no way. “I do not recommend bee stings as anti-inflammatory agents to patients,” he tells Health. “Many patients are severely allergic to bee stings and may not know it. Bee stings should be avoided, not used as treatment.”

Either way, bee venom treatments should only be done under the supervision of a total pro. (Or stick with other less painful parts of apitherapy, like honey or royal jelly.) And keep those bees from buzzing near your precious smoothie.

Another beauty ritual that gives us all the (scared) feels: cryotherapy. Have you tried apitherapy or cryotherapy? Tell us about it in the Comments!