“Drink water from your own cistern ….” Proverbs 5:15. This verse was interpreted literally by John W. Armstrong in the early 20th century. Armstrong grew up in a family that regularly used urine to treat everything from toothaches to stinging nettles. Although people have been using urine for centuries to treat burns, bites and other skin ailments, Armstrong is considered the pioneer in urine therapy. In 1944, Armstrong even published a book called The Water of Life: A Treatise on Urine Therapy.
In this current day and age, urine therapy seems like a crazy concept. Nowadays, skin care is a billion dollar industry. There are creams marketed to diminish dark circles, treat rosacea, age, age spots, wrinkles and more. The price tags for these ointments range from low end drug store brands all the way up to hundreds of dollars for Chanel skin care products.
History is a living discipline. So, I decided to bring this particular part of history into my own life. After all, some very famous and successful people in modern times who have regularly use their own urine for healing purposes. Moises Alou urinated on his hands to alleviate callouses from batting without batting gloves. Juan Manuel Marquez drank his own urine for nutritional benefits during tough training camps. Madonna used urine to cure her athlete’s foot.
So, I gave urine therapy a try. Let me be clear. I did not drink my own urine. Some things just do not pass the smell test. However, I saw no harm in trying urine as a facial cleanser.
Most articles I read recommended a seven day cycle for urine therapy, but I went with a ten day trial period. All the experts on urine therapy state that you must use “first morning urine.” Because the body has had all night to store them up, early morning is when the enzymes in the urine are the strongest and most effective. So, I dutifully applied my morning urine to my face with a cotton ball and waited the recommended ten minutes.
To my surprise, the urine therapy felt just like a commercially purchased astringent facial cleanser. My skin tingled and tightened as the urine dried. Then I rinsed off the urine and applied my usual moisturizer and makeup.
I suffer from some facial redness, some wrinkles and fine lines and the occasional breakout. Within five days, I did notice that my skin was slightly less red. After ten days, I observed decreased hyper pigmentation, no breakouts and improved skin tones. It was certainly outside my comfort zone to apply urine to my face, but the most surprising observation was that the urine did not smell bad when it was applied.
During my research, I found almost no scientific or medical data to support the idea that urine was an effective skin treatment. For this reason, it is unlikely that this historic astringent will replace commercial cleansers any time soon. Nonetheless, my personal experiment gave some credence to this time honored treatment.