Sharp shells pressed into your back, blood injected from your skin, below-freezing air blasted on to your face… no, these aren’t methods of torture, these are actually considered a bit of a treat.

In the quest for tighter skin, a smoother complexion or inner zen, many are heading off the beaten track when it comes to beauty treatments.

Some will instantly alienate the squeamish among us, but hey, sometimes looking this good doesn’t come easy.

So with no further ado, here are seven of the weirdest and wackiest treatments on offer around Dubai.

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1. The freezing facial

cryotherapy facial

If you’re crying out for a cool breeze during this super-hot summer, then this futuristic facial might just do the trick. The CRYO Glow blitzes the face with cryogenically-cooled air for 10 minutes, or the 30-minute CRYO Signature adds on a skin cleanse, facial mask and gentle scrub. The icy temperatures – up to -180C – are said to induce the production of collagen, giving you a plumper, smoother complexion, while the swift shock also kicks your circulation into gear. A shot of below-freezing air costs Dhs325, or the 30-minute facial costs Dhs450, and the treatments are available at several spas around the city.

2. The placenta facial

placenta facial

It’s said to be loved by Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Victoria Beckham, but it might take you a while to wrap your head around this facial’s off-putting star ingredient. The placenta may give life to growing foetuses, but Biolite Spa claims its vitamin, mineral, peptide and amino acid-rich makeup also breathes new life back into skin. The regenerative Dhs2,000 facial – which, we assure you, doesn’t look even remotely graphic, it’s just a mask – is recommended for all skin types, but especially problematic (the tightening effects are also good for mature skin, too).

3. Get a dimple custom-created


Like freckles, there’s something incredibly youthful about a dimpled cheek – but do you envy them enough to have one marked into your face? Considered a sign of good fortune in some cultures, dimples are technically tiny defects in the muscle under the skin. If you weren’t born with them, you can fake your way to one on your cheek or chin with a 20-minute surgery. Under local anesthesia, a small cut is made on the inside of the cheek and then a small stitch inserted to create the distinctive dip in the skin. Ouch. (prices vary). 

4. The vampire facial

kim kardashian vampire facial

The bloody treatment was first made famous by a certain Kim Kardashian, who underwent the procedure on her reality TV show back in 2013. If the sight of blood makes you weak at the knees, this isn’t one for you, but if not the “platelet-rich plasma therapy” is recommended for its anti-aging qualities. The aptly named treatment requires customers to have a little blood drawn, which is then whizzed through a special machine that separates the red cells from the nutrient-rich and regenerative plasma. This plasma is then injected into the facial skin, where it supposedly encourages collagen production, and softens fine lines and large pores.

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5. An infrared body wrap

We’re familiar with mud, clay and seaweed wraps (and we’re especially good friends with a shawarma wrap), but being encased in actual energy? That’s new to us. This hi-tech treatment uses electromagnetic radiation to soften fat within the body, and then converts it to calories for you to expend as energy. It promises to tighten skin and reduce cellulite, but it has some non-cosmetic benefits too – it’s said to help relieve chronic muscle pain.

6. A hot shell massage

lavana spa

Hard lava shells don’t sound like the most relaxing thing to have rubbed all over your body, but Dubai’s Lavana Spa say it’s the “ultimate calming massage”. That’s because the sea shells are polished down for a smooth glide, then gently heated and worked over your limbs and back. The marine-themed massage costs Dhs700 for a 90-minute session (or, more likely, a delicious 90-minute snooze).

8. A gold facial

gold facial

If you want to feel like a queen for a day, you can’t really beat being smothered in 24-karat gold, can you? And it’s not just a gimmick – the precious metal has been lauded for centuries for its natural healing properties. Among its many benefits, the shimmery stuff is meant to stimulate cellular growth, plump up sagging skin, reduce inflammation and battle free radicals (it also looks really great in earrings – what a multitasker). It’s not easily absorbed, but this Dhs2,000 gold-leaf facial is paired with some fancy “nano mist” that dissolves it into a size able to pass through the skin’s barrier.

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