Please Don't Do This to Your Face: Stuff You Found on Pinterest Edition
Are you excited for another edition of Please Don't Do This to Your Face? Just tuning in? This is a recurring blog segment in which I address common mistakes people are making with their skin care and what do do instead. As always, this advice comes from a place of love and non-judgement. The world of skin care is vast and not all of it is safe or right for you. What's worse is that there's a lot of incorrect information out there too. It's important to be educated when shopping for skin care and making decisions about treating your skin.
So! After all this talk in our last couple of blogs, about all the bad stuff lurking behind store bought skin care, you're probably about ready to go off-the-grid and start making your own stuff. Natural is good, right? Not so fast. While natural skin care and making your own product can be a beautiful thing, it can also go very wrong if you are misinformed about what you're putting on your face.
Now we all know the internet is a great go-to, when you've got a problem and you want a solution immediately. But you also know that the internet is full of information that isn't verified and can be flat out made up. So then, does it really surprise you, that some of the skin care tips and tricks that you're seeing on social media, might not actually be a good idea? I caution you in general against seeking skin care advice from anyone who is not an educated and licensed professional.
And no hatred for Pinterest. I'm a huge fan. Please continue pinning wedding dresses and Paleo recipes with wild abandon! But we're also familiar by now, with the concept of the Pinterest Fail. You guys. Don't let the equivalent of a Pinterest fail happen to your face!
Let me give you a few examples of bad ideas I've seen floating that could truly result in disaster:
Homemade Pore Strips: There are a bunch of crazy recipes from people who apparently want to save a couple of dollars on their Biores and put school glue on their face instead. Other variations I've seen include gelatin, egg whites or flour and honey. In any event, I don't really recommend any pore strips because they just don't really work. That's a whole other edition of PDDTTYF, so hold that thought.
But knowing that these things don't actually really work, putting a bunch of weird non-skin care products on an area you're trying to unclog, just doesn't make a ton of sense. You could potentially make things worse, or irritate and inflame the skin. Not awesome. The same goes for DIY Spot Treatments like toothpaste, Pepto Bismo or mouth wash. These are products designed for parts of your body that are not your face and therefore, this is probably not going to end well. Don't even get me started on using deodorant to mattify your t-zone or set your makeup.
Using Fruit Peels as Skin Peels: Another easy one to fall for. We grew up being told by teen magazines that we could put egg yolks and avocado in our hair to make it softer. Why wouldn't it makes sense to apply fruit directly to your face? Especially since most exfoliating chemical acids are derived from fruit to begin with. Why not eliminate the middle man? Well, because the middle man is the difference between irritating or seriously damaging your skin. While it's true that fruit and fruit acids have some amazing nutritive benefits for the skin, there are other factors at play here.
Consider: there's a big difference between a professional peel where you have someone monitoring your skin, knowing how to prepare it, choosing the correct formula for your skin concerns, applying it neatly and evenly and calming it back down after vs. rubbing pineapple around on your cheeks in hopes of evening out some unwanted dark spots. Best case scenario you're going to end up with a face that smells like pineapple. Worst case scenario you're going to end up seriously compromising your skin's natural barrier. Do you really want to mess around with that?
And please just forget the lemon juice: If you believe Pinterest, lemon juice is pretty much the miracle cure for all skin woes! It can be used to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, blackheads, aging and even unwanted facial hair! Sorry. But false. All false. Lemon juice is simply too acidic to go spreading on your skin. In most cases you can't be sure the concentration, but citrus oils are extremely potent and can severely irritate your skin. Worse still, these acids can actually make you more sensitive to the sun. So now you've got sensitive skin that's been compromised by the acid in the fruit and the sun is going to fry it. This could legit result in a chemical burn and cause permanent damage. Not worth it.
Baking Soda = Also Not A Good Idea: This one seemed like a no brainer to me, but somewhere along the line a rumor got started that baking soda makes a good natural exfoliant and brightener. A quick search of "baking soda skin care" will show you that baking soda apparently has all of the same benefits that lemon juice has! Pretty strange considering they are practically polar opposites in terms of pH. Whereas lemon juice is super acidic, baking soda is extremely alkaline. How the internet thinks these two things could produce the same results on the skin is beyond me, but I digress. As an exfoliant, baking soda is not effective being that it is a base, not an acid. If anything, baking soda will compromise your skin's natural balance in the opposite direction. You want to keep your natural acid mantle in tact, not neutralize your built-in line of defense against bacteria.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Nope. Again, just too acidic to apply topically. Stick to drinking your ACV, as it can have some amazing benefits when consumed as an nutritional supplement.
DIY Medispa Treatments: This should be common sense, but apparently it's not from what I'm seeing on the boards. If a treatment typically requires a license to perform, there's usually a reason for that. Please do not get it in your head that shaving your face with a leg razor will replace getting dermaplaned by an esthetician. I've seen the results of this "hack" and it ranges from a literal hack (I've seen scars) to some of the worst skin texture I have ever laid hands on. Just don't do it. It is worth paying a professional to take a blade to your face, I promise.
Okay. I could spend all day debunking these, but I think you get the gist, now.
So how can you know what's safe and what's not?
You can't always. But what you can do, is research first. Remember, if it seems a little too simple or too good to be true? It probably is. A quick round of Googling will link you to plenty of articles written by credible skin care professionals. These are the people who can really tell you what will or won't harm your skin. I for one am always happy to answer questions about a product or a treatment and weigh in with a yay or nay. I'm not against natural skin care by any means, I just encourage you to make wise choices that won't further damage or compromise your skin health. I mostly ask that you not go blindly trying out recipes without knowing the risk.
Stay tuned next week for the other side of this topic, and I'll tell you all about some natural remedies and treatments that I DO approve of, including a recipe you can make yourself! Until then, feel free to reach out with any additional questions!