When Jill Jordan walks into the Spa at Shingle Creek at the Rosen Shingle Hotel in Orlando, she's ready to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Her goal is to look younger by getting a special facial.
"Just the typical areas around my eyes and in between on my forehead and maybe just a little bit over here," Jill explained.
However, what's in the products being used to treat her skin may surprise you. It's snake venom -- not exactly the most calming image.
"They have pretty much a negative connotation, not positive. This is supposed to be positive, having a facial, being relaxed and taking care of yourself," Jill said.
The thought of those slithering snakes is actually attracting many women like Jill who are ready to spend the $100 to $200 to see if the product lives up to its promise.
"Lines diminish immediately and that it's kind of the [benefit], instead of going through the Botox, which I don't know if I'd ever do because the whole injecting something into my body doesn't excite me," she continued.
Not everyone's buying the hype. Cynthia Lewis-Younger, Medical Director of the Florida Poison Center in Tampa, had this reaction: "Oh no! Not another substance out there that's supposed to be a wonder drug."
Lewis-Younger said she's concerned that while some of these products use synthetic snake venom, others actually use the real stuff in highly diluted safe concentrations, which means someone actually has to milk the snake to get the venom.
"It doesn't seem like a very humane thing to do to the workers to put their lives at risk so that you can put stuff on your face," she said.
That danger explains why these products are so expensive. Yet, Botox costs even more. So what's the difference?
"Botox -- that has scientific validity and of course, you've seen it used first by physicians."
However, she argues, similar medical studies on snake venom haven't been done, so for results, we had to go back to the spa.
Guillermo Reyes, the spa's director, said, "Once they come out of their treatment they definitely notice their skin is a lot smoother. They see a difference in their lines."
Jill agreed that it worked.
"I can see a difference definitely around here," she said, "it seems smoother."
Her advice to other women is to try it, but for those who study these reptiles every day, there's one way to sum up these expensive products.
"Sounds like snake oil to me."
Lewis-Younger said vanity and venom just don't go together.
"I have wrinkles. They're my smile lines. We should accept them and recognize them for having lived a long and good life; that's my opinion."
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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