Circumcision of the males is widely practiced among Kenyan communities, save for the Luo and the Turkana. And now it is emerging that there is more to this practice than just removing the foreskin: it is a huge business.
According to reports, a single male foreskin can be worth upwards of $100,000. And why should foreskin fetch such huge amounts of money? That’s because foreskin fibroblasts are big business.
Well, the human foreskin fibroblast is used in all kinds of medical procedures from growing skin for burn victims and for eyelid replacement, to growing skin for those with diabetic ulcers (who need replacement skin to cover ulcers that won’t heal), to making creams and collagens in the cosmetics industry (yes, the product that is injected into puffy movie-starlet lips).
The flesh trade isn’t as elusive as people might think. Like porn, human body parts are easily available online, for the right price. The Coriell Institute is one of the dozens of websites that offer foreskin fibroblasts for sale.
Foreskin-derived skin, sourced from circumcisions (now considered by many experts to be painful and also unnecessary) is still often considered the “cruelty-free” alternative to testing cosmetic products on animals. One foreskin can be used for decades to produce miles of skin, much of which helps people in genuine medical needs.
And that’s the reason one foreskin can generate as much as $100,000: that’s not the fee from a one-time sale, but the fees from the fibroblasts that are created from those original skin cells.
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But not all uses of foreskin fibroblast are “medical” in nature. One of the most publicized examples of the foreskin-for-sale trend involves a skin cream that has been promoted by none other than Oprah Winfrey. SkinMedica’s a face cream, which costs over $100 US for a 0.63 oz bottle, is used by many high-profile celebrities (such as Winfrey and Barbara Walters) as an alternative to cosmetic surgery.
Winfrey has promoted the SkinMedica product several times on her show, and her website, which raves, there’s “a new product that boosts collagen production and can rejuvenate skin called TNS Recovery Complex. TNS is comprised of six natural human growth factors found in normal healthy skin…the factors are engineered from human foreskin!”