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Notable Notes
June 2016

Exfoliative Excrement

Author Affiliations
  • 1The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Galveston
  • 2University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(6):701. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.5023

Uguisu no fun, which means “nightingale feces” in Japanese, refers to the excrement produced by the Japanese bush warbler (Cettia diphone) (Figure). The use of nightingale droppings dates back to the Heian period (ad 794-1185) when it was introduced to Japan by Koreans. The Japanese used the bird droppings to remove stains from kimonos and expanded its use as a beauty treatment during the Edo period (ad 1603-1868). During the Edo period, geishas used a combination of lead- and zinc-based makeup to achieve their much admired pale porcelain complexion. Uguisu no fun was used by geishas and kabuki performers as a facial treatment to lighten their skin as well as remove heavy makeup.

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