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Is snake oil good for your skin?

Maggie hisses this question: My teacher says that beauty products are really just snake oil. Does that mean they’re poisonous?

The Left Brain slithers a response:

Actually, Maggie, the term “snake oil” is usually used to imply that a product is fake or ineffective. Real snake oil, according to Wikipedia, comes from China, where “it is used as a remedy for inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis and other similar conditions. Snake oil is still used as a pain reliever in China. Fats and oils from snakes are higher in eicosapentaenoic acid than other sources, so snake oil was actually a plausible remedy for joint pain as these are thought to have inflammation-reducing properties.”

After Chinese rail-road workers introduced snake oil to Westerners in the 1800’s, “The snake oil peddler became a stock character in Western movies: a traveling “doctor” with dubious credentials, selling some medicine (such as snake oil) with boisterous marketing hype, often supported by pseudo-scientific evidence, typically bogus.”

Given the history of the ingredient, it’s not surprising that Haiying Cosmetics in China markets Seabion Whitening and Moisturizing Lotion with, you guessed it, Snake Oil extract.

There’s no mention of joint pain, but the product supposedly replenishes moisture and nutrients, promotes skin metabolism and prevents damage from cold weather. But let’s face it, almost any decent skin lotion will do all those things.

Despite the “natural” angle, I’m guessing Snake Oil products wouldn’t sell very well here in the States.

And tell your teacher that he or she should visit the Beauty Brains!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Juliet March 10, 2016, 9:33 am

    Am a Nigerian with interest on natural skin in care. I decided to research more on our ancient traditional beauty products, because I saw one work magic. My granny had an accident in 2006 a fatal one luckily she was the only survivor but was left a huge scar but the scar all melted away leaving no dark patches, peels off dead skin. I decided to research more on the side effects considering that snake is poisonous.

    • Adeolu July 28, 2016, 11:16 pm

      Hello. Im glad to hear about improvmeny in your granny’s scar.
      Please for about how long did she have to apply this oil?

  • Tesfaye February 1, 2017, 8:46 am

    I want to use snake oil for hair treatment, because may hair is become damage. so how can I use it? and for how long?
    Thank you.
    Tesfaye from Ethiopia AddisAbaba

    • Randy Schueller February 3, 2017, 7:47 am

      I’m don’t know how to source snake oil and I’m not aware of any scientific data that suggests it will do anything for your hair. I suggest saving your time and money and looking for another more conventional product.

  • Dokass June 1, 2017, 7:52 am

    I am a Nigerian my sister had some accident from cooking gas. Although the burn after it healing was left with annoying scars. She was ask to use snake oil on the scare, right now her skin us becoming more beautiful to look upon. It works trust me for this kind of situation.

    • Ehis March 4, 2019, 2:05 am

      Am a nigeria.i have stretch mark over me,pls can snake oil remove it.and how do i get snake oil

      • Ozy betsy August 9, 2019, 6:42 am

        If you haven’t gotten it yet I can get it for you any quantity you want and it’s the original.. Contact me 08137343451

      • james September 30, 2019, 3:45 am

        just apply the snake oil on the area you have the stretch mark or you can mix it with your body cream or lotion.

    • Emmanson Joy July 26, 2020, 4:05 am

      Pls i will really love to know where to get this snake oil, because i once fell into a gutter and my skin peeled, after healing it left this very embarrassing scar on my leg.

  • Obinna June 16, 2017, 5:14 am

    just had an encounter with armed robbers,and they tore my face few days ago and have been looking for a way to remove the scar,tho the suture has not been removed

  • okogun Monica July 21, 2017, 6:14 am

    I av stretch mark can snake oil cleared it

    • Dave October 6, 2017, 7:01 pm

      If you are in the U.S and have keloid scar, striae (stretch marks, or skin problems then worry no more. Text me on 281 884 9935

      • OLIVIA SMITH January 21, 2018, 9:46 pm

        I have hyperpigmentation and ance scars, please help me I’ve tried everything I just want to peel and look beautiful

      • Victoria May 11, 2019, 6:12 pm

        hi, I have keloid, can you help me if you have something to write for my meila

      • Ewa June 10, 2019, 7:10 am

        hello, please write me an email I have keloid help me

  • Kate yayra kpei February 27, 2018, 12:37 am

    Hello please, can python or snake oil clear scars and blackspot on my legs and hands faster?

    • Perry Romanowski March 12, 2018, 3:17 pm

      No. There is no scientific evidence that it will have this effect.

  • Bibi April 1, 2019, 8:04 am

    I have stretch mark on my thigh and upper arms can snake oil heal it

    • Perry Romanowski April 1, 2019, 2:52 pm

      I’m afraid not. sorry.

    • Fiona January 26, 2020, 3:47 pm

      Yes …it can…it gradually removed mine

      • Perpetual Paul March 23, 2020, 1:35 pm

        How many weeks or month will snake oil take to clear stretch mark from d body??

  • Rebeca Chavez June 26, 2019, 5:56 pm

    Can snake oil help with psoriasis? My daughter has it on elbows,knees,hands,feet.

    • Perry Romanowski July 3, 2019, 10:41 am

      No, it won’t help for that.

      • Ogar oby May 20, 2020, 12:22 pm

        Can python oil be added in the body cream?

  • Rose November 6, 2019, 5:50 am

    Can snake oil remove knuckle on my hands

    • Perry Romanowski November 6, 2019, 12:56 pm

      No, it won’t help with this.

      • Treasure January 7, 2020, 12:08 pm

        yes it can I have try it, and it work

        • Perry Romanowski January 13, 2020, 5:35 pm

          It’s easy to fool ourselves when we want something to work.

  • Tina November 11, 2019, 4:23 pm

    Can snake collagen cereal extract clear my Scars

    • Perry Romanowski November 12, 2019, 12:41 pm

      No, snake collagen will not clear your scars.

  • Silver Anora November 13, 2019, 2:03 am

    I have scars on my face as a result of teeth bite, can snake oil clear it?

  • Dennis Syrian November 21, 2019, 12:42 am

    Please can snake oil be applied on the face?

    • Perry Romanowski December 3, 2019, 9:29 pm

      Sure, but it won’t have many positive effects.

  • Gold January 8, 2020, 8:20 am

    Please how long will I apply d snake oil on my body for a better result? And I heard it’s not good snake oil should touch a man hood, is dat true?

    • Perry Romanowski January 13, 2020, 5:34 pm

      Snake oil will not give you anything but an emollient effect.

  • Lipy Schitz January 27, 2020, 12:05 pm

    I use snake skin oil on everything, very yeasty infections, my itchy nipples, the feminine odor since it shortens my periods, it even helped with my visible
    herpes, hpv, driving in the hov lane I often Wonder what else this little slither juice can do.. Has anyone tried it during anal intercourse as lube? I bet my step daddy would really come back for another round of tag with my sisters husband who can’t get it all in without coconut oil; that stuff Smells too beachy, masking my natural lady scent, mmm snake skin oil has to be better! I wanna go practice in my room, scratching these two or three fingers (with no hands) mmmmm I’m in the mood for Subway sandwich – gonna go hard and get those double meats for tag it later. Getting the super size snake oil