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The spermine facial: do the benefits outweigh the 'ick factor'? Add to ...

The Treatment

A potent organic compound initially detected in human sperm, spermine is said to rebuild the fat and moisture balance of the skin.

Norwegian firm Bioforskning (no joke, that's the company name) offers a synthetic version derived from the tail of the tiny swimmers, going to new lengths to deliver baby-faced skin. At New York's Graceful Services, aestheticians use infrared light to allow spermine to penetrate deeper into pores. For easily nauseated spa goers, rest assured, I found the serums more or less fragrance-free.

The Benefits

Do benefits outweigh the ick factor - shall we slip on a terry towel or a Hazmat suit? Spermine, not to be confused with semen, is a robust antioxidant, and while present in seminal fluid, it's also found in human skin cells. Bioforskning claims its Skinscience Spermine offers 25 times the cellular protection of vitamin E. The five-product lineup promotes skin vitality and defends collagen from oxidative decomposition.

The Spa

Graceful Services is one of the few spas in Manhattan to offer the Skinscience Spermine facial. If scented candles and orchid-strewn rooms are most important to you, the place may feel a bit too plain. Still, a loyal following of stressed New Yorkers routinely sacrifice the frills and swear by the efficacy of treatments.

The Basics

Graceful Services at 1095 2nd Ave., 2nd Floor, New York, N.Y.; 1-866-447-2231; www.gracefulservices.com; 60 minutes; $125 (U.S.)

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