The 7 Creepiest Products Found in an Everyday Drug Store

By Edit Posted in Culture, WTF

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We are all uniquely and individually disgusting. This was brought to my attention on a recent trip to the drug store, when I discovered, en route to the candy aisle from the shampoo aisle, that there are a lot of really disturbing products out there. So I decided to go back to see what else I could find. Turns out there was a lot of stuff to work with — mostly found on bottom shelves, out of view of the average consumer (but fully in view of little kids, ironically). Only one rule: I’m keeping this list free of “old people” products, of which there are understandably quite a lot. Making fun of the Depends-wearing elderly feels akin to setting a puppy on fire.

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7. Tucks Witch Hazel Hemorrhoidal Pad

If “Tucks” is the brand name, and “Hemorrhoidal Pad” is the product, then what exactly is “Witch Hazel”? It sounds like the potion the old lady dipped the apple in before giving it to Snow White. In order to research this product, I searched for “hemorrhoids” on Google Images. If that didn’t scar me enough, the back of the box did, with the warning not to “put directly in rectum by using fingers or any mechanical device.” Well, I wasn’t going to, but now that you’ve given me the idea…

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6. Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, 8th Edition

What is one of the biggest nonfiction bestsellers of all time doing on this list? Let’s say you didn’t know that — like I didn’t when I first stumbled across this paperback copy, nestled next to Dr. Phil’s latest. At first, I was planning on making jokes about Star Trek, but then I found out that Leonard Nimoy’s character, “Spock” was actually named after The Dr. Benjamin Spock, a 94-year-old pediatrician and author of this book. So don’t be fooled, he’s not a crazy Trekkie – he’s just an old man who features pictures of naked children on the cover of his book. And that’s not creepy at all…

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5. Epsom Salt

You know something’s up when you realize it’s the only medicine in the store that comes in a half-gallon carton. Turns out Epsom Salt is a simple chemical compound — magnesium sulfate — that’s kind of a cure-all: it works on muscle pains, can soothe herpes and shingles outbreaks, and even repairs lava lamps. But the most common use? Stir it into a glass of water and the entire contents of your bowels will rush out of your system like a tidal wave. Preferably into a toilet, but whether you’re near a bathroom or not, the flood will come.

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4. Clubman Pinaud Moustache Wax with Brush and Comb

For the men who refuse to stop rocking the mustache. It says it comes with a brush and comb, but I only see one piece of grooming equipment; maybe they couldn’t decide what to call it so they just settled on both. What is mustache wax? It’s basically styling gel, only with a much creepier name than “styling gel”. Even the eHow article on mustache wax can’t help but make fun of mustache-wearers: “You love the idea of having a shiny, perfectly groomed mustache. You’re even interested in having the pinnacle of mustaches—a handlebar mustache.” Well, okay. A handlebar mustache really is cool.

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3. IdentiGene DNA Paternity Test Kit

In other words, turn your own home into an episode of Maury Povich for only $29.99! Wait a minute — don’t you need, like, a lab to perform a DNA test? Yes, you do. The only thing this kit provides is cheek swabs. You then have to send them into a lab for an additional $119 fee. So there’s really no reason to buy this at all — just go to a lab yourself and cut out the middle man. Or better yet, don’t put yourself in a situation where you would need a paternity test.

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2. Anti-Diarrheal Caplets

We all get diarrhea. And it’s gross every time. But on these store-brand pills, I found a way to get even further grossed out when I read one of the warnings on the back: “Ask a doctor before using if you have mucus in your stool.” I’ve heard of a hardened stool, a blackened stool, and a bloody stool, but I’ve somehow missed out on a mucus-filled stool. Note that you’re still allowed to use the pills if you have mucus in your stool — you just have to ask a doctor first. Frankly, I’d be asking about the mucus in my stool before I started worrying about diarrhea. (By the way, these pills also help prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea — a phenomenon in which 20%-50% of international travelers “experience four to five loose or watery bowel movements each day.” Good thing I’m not rich enough to leave the country.)

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1. Maxoderm (Vazomyne, etc.)

You’re used to seeing male enhancement ads on late night Comedy Central programming and in your e-mail spam catcher, but I didn’t realize similar products were sold in the aisles of average drug stores. “Male enhancement” of course means penis enlargement — but the euphemism is actually more accurate in its vagueness, since none of these products actually enlarge your penis, whatsoever. I’ll defer to Wikipedia for a moment:

Analyses performed by Flora Research of California and by the University of Maryland have uncovered harmful contaminants in a number of “penis enlargement” pills. Contaminants found included mold, yeast, dangerous E. coli bacteria, pesticides, and lead. Dr. Michael Donnenberg of the University of Maryland has described herbal pills marketed as having “heavy fecal contamination”, possibly from animals grazing near the plants harvested for herbal ingredients. There is no scientific evidence that any of these preparations are effective, but there may be a psychological placebo effect, in which the user thinks he now has a larger penis, and thus gains confidence, when there has been no actual change to his penis size.

Maxoderm, a popular brand that I found on a bottom shelf of my friendly neighborhood CVS, even boasts that “well-respected New York doctor” Michael A. Savino claims the product works. Savino is a real doctor — he has a small Staten Island practice — but the only quote I could find was on Maxoderm’s own website in which he said the pill “seems to have the ability to enhance the quality of erections.” So even though Maxoderm paid him to say that, he could still only bring himself to make the most open-to-interpretation testimonial possible: that the pill “seems” — i.e. doesn’t actually — “enhance the quality” — which could mean length of time, hardness, etc. In other words, nothing about size.

And yet despite these well-known facts, male enhancement products continue to sell like crazy thanks to gullible men with raging inferiority complexes.

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Honorable mentions:

The Pedi Egg, a popular product which just sounds gross and consists of an egg-shaped foot massager you fill with dead skin; the multitude of Yeast Infection Relief products (“yeast infection” — another great phrase to input into Google Image Search); Itch Relief AntiFungal Cream, which “cures most jock itch” (emphasis mine); and finally the Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer — for really dry vaginas, I guess.

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