TikTok may seem like a font of great skincare tips and inspiration, but medical professionals don’t always think so.

“I think it’s important to always be cautious of what is said on TikTok and always talk to a specialist or board-certified dermatologist when it comes to your own personal skin care regimen to make sure. Make sure what you’re using is good for your skin.” New York City board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Marisa Garshick told HuffPost. “It’s important to remember that just because you see it on TikTok, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe, and doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.”

This is especially true of acne treatments. HuffPost asked Garshick and other dermatologists to share the types of breakouts and fads they’ve observed on TikTok but don’t recommend trying them.

From skin treatments to “potato acne treatments,” here are seven acne treatment trends you should avoid.

1. Toothpaste as a Spot Treatment

“The idea of ​​applying toothpaste to acne as a topical treatment has been around for a long time, based on the antibacterial properties associated with an ingredient formerly used in toothpaste called triclosan and triclosan. drying properties associated with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide,” says Garshick. “But it’s important to remember that this can lead to irritation and dryness, especially when applied all over the body, as some on TikTok are doing.”

Most commercially available toothpastes no longer contain triclosan, and even when they do, dermatologists point to the potential for irritation and even chemical burns.

“We have a ton of great acne ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, and more,” says Garshick.

2. The ‘potato hack’ case

Another TikTok trick that has gone viral is the “potato hack,” in which people apply raw potato pieces to their pimples to make them disappear.

“Some justification for this [by saying] Potatoes may contain small amounts of salicylic acid, but applying this raw potato to severe acne is just silly and ineffective,” said Dr. Melanie D. Palm, board-certified dermatologist certification and medical director at Art of Skin MD in Southern California. .

“Why would someone apply a raw vegetable to their face when effective over-the-counter acne treatments (retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid) have been shown to be effective AND safe by the Food and Drug Administration and Pharmaceutical approval?” she asked.

She adds that potato allergies are rare but do exist and can lead to severe symptoms, as well as cross-allergic reactions to potatoes due to other known allergens such as latex and pollen. birch flower.

3. Freeze the skin

Annie Gonzalez, a board-certified dermatologist in Miami, says: “Using ice on acne and to flatten your face isn’t dangerous as long as it’s done properly. “Very often, pimples or cysts become inflamed. Ice reduces inflammation. ”

Jerome Tisne via Getty Images

Wrap a washcloth around the stone before applying it to your skin.

However, she cautions against applying ice to your bare skin. Instead, wrap it in a face towel and cover the area in light, continuous motions. Do not rub. And follow that step with a doctor-recommended acne treatment like salicylic acid, she adds.

Sheila Farhang, a board-certified dermatologist based in Arizona, reiterated Gonzalez’s advice not to apply ice directly to the face.

“Direct ice can hurt the skin – think micro-freeze,” she explains. “For puffiness, I recommend keeping your moisturizer in your skin fridge, where it’s cool but not too cold, as this can alter the formula. Rollers made of rose quartz or jade are inherently a cooling stone so this is also a great alternative.”

Farhang also cautions against freezing the skin as a treatment for melasma.

She said: “I literally cringe when I see people recommend ice to help with melasma – which can actually be aggravated, because when it comes to melasma, anything that causes redness or the irritation turns brown,” she says. “SPF is much more important!”

4. Cover your face with Band-Aids

Another popular acne trend on TikTok is masking with Band-Aids.

“This is really a Band-Aid fix!” Palm said. “It is ineffective and simply causes inflammatory acne lesions from the surrounding environment. This would work for an individual picking up each pimple, but this Band-Aid hack is by no means curative in improving active acne. “

She adds that the skin usually tolerates hydrogel dressings fairly well, but there is still the potential for allergic reactions. And if the Band-Aids are left unattended for too long, a secondary skin infection can develop.

5. Drink chlorophyll water

Consuming liquid chlorophyll to clear up acne became popular in the skincare world Twitter earlier this year, but dermatologists were hesitant to recommend it due to a lack of scientific research on its effectiveness. it in the treatment of acne.

“Chlorophyll is safe for humans, but the benefits are unproven. Hadley King, New York City dermatologist, says. “There are some trials that have shown that topical chlorophyll can help reduce acne because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. But we don’t have data on the effects of chlorophyll on acne yet. “

So while you may find some benefits from drinking chlorophyll water, you can get more out of it by eating a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables, which has positive effects. different poles for the whole body. And don’t expect it to clear up your severe cystic acne.

6. Apply lemon juice to reduce scars

Using lemon juice to lighten skin or clear up acne scars may seem like a harmless trick, but dermatologists recommend doing it differently.

James Ralston, a dermatologist in Texas, says: “Because we are all amazingly different, a good skin care regimen or treatment for one person may not be an option. choose the best or may even harm others. “For example, lemon juice is highly acidic and when applied to the skin can cause irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin. It can also cause discoloration, especially for people with darker skin types.”

Just because something looks “all natural” or looks like a quick fix on TikTok doesn’t mean it’s recommended for use on your skin.

“Applying a strong citrus acid to the face, such as lemon or lime juice, can produce a toxic reaction to light when you are exposed to light,” says Dr. Brian Hibler of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. exposure to the sun, resulting in blistering, burns, and hyperpigmentation. .

7. Salt water spray

Face spray with salt water for acne is generally harmless, but there’s no real data to back it up, King notes.

“Salt can help dry up acne and may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. But we have better options, backed by science! ‘ she explained.

“Some TikTokers claim that seawater balances the pH of the skin and kills bacteria, but these claims are not really true,” continued King. “Acne skin has an alkaline pH and seawater also has an alkaline pH, around 8. You want to use an acidic pH like salicylic acid or glycolic acid will help. And although sea salt water has antibacterial properties, they are not really strong enough to clear up acne. “

She also notes that trying this hack can put a person off from seeing a board-certified dermatologist to start a more scientific treatment — a delay that can lead to more acne. fish, dark skin and scars.


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