7 TikTok Zits Remedies Dermatologists Do not Like
TikTok may seem like a source of amazing skin care advice and inspiration, but medical professionals don’t always think that way.
“I think it’s important to always be careful about what is said on TikTok and always speak to a professional or certified dermatologist when it comes to your personal skin care routine to make sure that what you are using is good for your skin. ”Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick told the HuffPost. “It’s important to remember that just because you see it on TikTok isn’t necessarily safe or good for you.”
This is especially true for acne treatments. HuffPost asked Garshick and other dermatologists to share the acne hacks and fads they saw on TikTok, but do not recommend trying.
From freezing to the “potato chop”, below are seven acne treatment trends that are better avoided.
1. Toothpaste as a spot treatment
“The idea of applying toothpaste to treat acne has been around for a long time, based on the antibacterial properties of an ingredient previously used in toothpastes called triclosan and the drying properties of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide,” said Garshick. “But it’s important to keep in mind that this can lead to irritation and dryness of the skin, especially if it’s applied all over, as some do on TikTok.”
Most commercially available toothpastes no longer contain triclosan, and even if they did, dermatologists still point out the potential for irritation and even chemical burns.
“We have a lot of great acne-fighting agents like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and more that we no longer have to rely on toothpaste for our acne, no matter how convenient,” said Garshick.
2. The “potato hack”
Another TikTok trick that went viral is the “potato hack,” which involves people placing raw pieces of potato over their pimples to make them go away.
“Some justify that [by saying] Potatoes can contain small amounts of salicylic acid, but this stunt about using raw potatoes for severe acne is just silly and ineffective, ”said Dr. Melanie D. Palm, certified dermatologist and medical director at Art of Skin MD in Southern California.
“Why would someone put a raw vegetable on their face when there are effective over-the-counter acne treatments (retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid) that have been proven effective AND safe that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration?” She asked.
She added that potato allergies are rare but exist and can lead to severe symptoms, as are cross-reactive allergic reactions to potatoes from other known allergens like latex and birch pollen.
3. Skin freezing
“Using ice on pimples and removing swelling on the face isn’t dangerous as long as it’s done right,” said Dr. Annie Gonzalez, a certified dermatologist in Miami. “Very often pimples or cysts are inflamed. Ice relieves inflammation. ”
Wrap a washcloth around this ice cube before applying it to your skin.
However, she warned against putting an ice cube on bare skin. Instead, wrap it in a washcloth and go over the area with a light, continuous motion. Don’t rub. And follow that step with a doctor-recommended acne treatment like salicylic acid, she added.
Dr. Sheila Farhang, a certified dermatologist based in Arizona, echoed Gonzalez’s advice not to apply ice directly to your face.
“Direct ice can damage the skin – think microscopic frostbite,” she said. “If you have swelling, I recommend putting a moisturizer in a skin refrigerator so it’s cool, but not too cold, as this can change the formulation. Rollers made of rose quartz or jade are naturally cooling stones, so they are also a great alternative. “
Farhang also warned about skin freezing as a treatment for melasma.
“I literally flinch when I see people recommend icing their skin to soothe their melasma – this can actually make it worse, as anything that causes redness or irritation in melasma turns brown,” she said. “SPF is much more important!”
4. Cover your face with a band-aid
Another popular acne treatment trend on TikTok is covering your face with plasters.
“This is literally a patch solution!” said Palm. “It is ineffective and simply closes off an inflammatory acne lesion from the area. This would be effective for a person picking out every single acne lesion, but this band-aid hack is in no way therapeutic in improving active acne.
She added that the skin usually tolerates hydrogel dressings pretty well, but the potential for allergic reactions still remains. And if the patches are left without cleaning for too long, secondary skin infections can develop.
5. Drink chlorophyll water
Consuming liquid chlorophyll for acne relief became popular in the skin care world on Twitter earlier this year, but dermatologists are reluctant to recommend it as there is no scientific research into its effectiveness in treating acne.
“Chlorophyll is safe for human consumption, but the benefits have not been proven. It is probably a better idea to get chlorophyll from eating green vegetables, ”said New York dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. “There are some studies that have shown that topical chlorophyll can help reduce acne because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. But we don’t have any data on the effects of oral chlorophyll on acne yet. “
So, while you may find some benefits of drinking chlorophyll, you can find out even more by eating a balanced diet high in vegetables that have other beneficial effects on the entire body. And don’t expect it to get rid of your severe cystic acne.
6. Apply lemon juice to reduce scarring
Using lemon juice to lighten or remove acne scars may seem like a harmless trick, but dermatologists disagree.
“Since we are all wonderfully different, a skin care routine or treatment that is great for one person may not be the best option, or it might even be harmful to another,” said Dr. James Ralston, a dermatologist from Texas. “Lemon juice, for example, is highly acidic and can cause irritation when applied to the skin, especially if the skin is sensitive. It can also cause discoloration, especially in people with darker skin types. “
Just because something appears “all natural” or looks like a quick fix for TikTok doesn’t mean it is advisable to use it on your skin.
“Applying a strong citrus acid to your face, like lemon or lime juice, can cause a phototoxic reaction when you go out in the sun, resulting in blistering, burns and hyperpigmentation,” said Dr. Brian Hibler of the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
7. Spray salt water
Spraying salt water on your face to treat acne is generally harmless, but there’s no real data to back up its effectiveness, King noted.
“The salt could help dry out pimples and it could have mild anti-inflammatory effects. But we have much better, science-based options! ”She explained.
“Some of the TikTok folks claim that seawater balances the pH of the skin and kills bacteria, but those claims aren’t exactly true,” King continued. “Acne prone skin has an alkaline pH, and seawater also has an alkaline pH of around 8. You should use an acidic pH such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid to help. And while sea salt water has antimicrobial properties, it’s not really strong enough to fight acne. “
She also noted that attempting this hack could result in a person delaying a visit to a state-certified dermatologist to begin more science-based treatment – a delay that could lead to more acne, discoloration, and scarring.