Stop by any social media platform and run a search for beauty tips and you’ll be bombarded with all sorts of suggestions. Some may be worthwhile. Many more are useless and even dangerous. Yet people try dubious do-it-yourself skincare tips they’ve heard about online and wind up either worsening their problem or landing in a hospital.
We’ve rounded up a list of DIY skincare tips & hacks circulating on Tik Tok and elsewhere that will cause more harm than good. This is by no means an all-inclusive list – just the more alarming examples of what passes for skincare advice on the Internet.
Bottom line, watch out for grand promises. Be skeptical of anything that promotes immediate results or perfect skin. If it sounds too good to be true, well, you know how the expression goes. Also, beware of claims of “all-natural,” which in many cases can be meaningless.
First, let’s crush the easy ones in circulation. On Instagram and Tik Tok you can find disciples of the egg-mayo-and-Sprite shampoo and the lemon-juice-and-toothpaste facial. Neither works. Egg, mayo and soda pop will not clean your hair (though it may make it greasy). Toothpaste with lemon juice will not produce a good facial. There’s even been social media talk of using coconut oil to combat acne. To be clear: Coconut oil does not unblock pores; it clogs them.
We wonder whether these wild ideas get posted on social media just to see if people will actually try them. Don’t.
A Cleveland Clinic survey found nearly half of Americans depend on social media for health advice. Problem is, multiple medical and scientific journals have studied social media phenomena and have found that as much as 90% of online healthcare advice is just plain wrong. When it comes to bad ideas for skincare, here are some of the worst:
Some social media influencers produce videos that walk you through elaborate skin care routines that might require a dozen or more different products. For the moment, let’s set aside the question of whether these routines actually work and consider their practical application for the everyday user. Influencers often receive free products from the manufacturers in exchange for promoting them on social media. Celebrities have the money to buy any and all products they desire. They also evidently have the free time to use them.
The problem with watching these videos is some people might give up on their skincare altogether, believing incorrectly that it’s just too complicated and time consuming. It doesn’t have to be.
A better solution is to consult with your dermatologist or a licensed aesthetician, determine your skin type and the results you want to achieve, then craft a skin care routine unique to your needs.
Toner is commonly used as an exfoliant to help achieve more radiant skin. While the alcohol in glycolic acid toner can kill bacteria that cause body odor, the toner itself does not reduce sweating, despite Tik Tok claims to the contrary. Glycolic acid can also cause skin irritation and rashes, which, when you think about it, is extra-unpleasant when it develops in your armpits.
This will only cause sunburn on unprotected skin. Some Tik Tokkers say you can “sculpt” the appearance of your face by applying sunscreen to selective areas of skin. All you’re really doing is burning your skin and placing yourself at greater risk of developing skin cancer. Plus, you might end up looking like a raccoon for a week or two.
Handheld pore vacuums promise to suck out all of the sebum and bacteria that cause acne. This is a tool that requires training to use effectively. Chances are, you’ll buy a consumer pore vacuum only powerful enough to tickle or so powerful it causes bruising and telangiectasias (broken blood vessels), which will then require laser treatments to reverse the visible damage to your skin.
This is just all kinds of wrong. Sticking a needle into your body to inject substances of unknown origin is a dangerous idea. It takes extensive training and the right equipment to insert a needle at the precise depth where an injectable will actually work. Go too deep and you risk rupturing blood vessels, painful infections and scarring. If DIY injections are made on the skin around the eyes, you could blind yourself.
This may be the worst DIY skincare hack of all. All sorts of consumer products are sold with the promise of DIY mole removal, from cutting tools to low-powered lasers. Never forget this is a surgical procedure that involves using an instrument to open or cut off a growth on the skin surface. Remove less than the entire mole and it will likely just grow back. Make the wrong cut and you could be dealing with a nasty infection and a scar. Lastly and most importantly, you will not know whether the mole is benign or malignant.
Yes, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found on Tik Tok and other social media platforms. Plenty of skincare advice, too. But laughter is painless. Following the wrong skincare advice could cause a great deal of pain – or worse.
If you want to be proactive about your skin or if you have concerns about any skin condition and need dependable answers fast, you don’t have to wonder, worry or wait. Walk-in Dermatology is here to keep you healthy. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and experienced medical staff will address your concerns and provide the necessary care for all your skin conditions. You can also schedule an appointment with us online.
If you can’t make it to one of our offices, we can set up a Video Visit and even prescribe medications remotely. Contact us today.