USERS ON TikTok have a hack or handy tip for just about everything, from cleaning around your home, parenting advice to skincare hacks.
However, not all of these hacks and tips may be as safe as you think as Dr Ahmed El Muntasar knows all too well.
As an NHS GP and aesthetics doctor, Dr Ahmed is passionate about education people around the potential dangers of these skincare trends and uses his own social media accounts to make people aware.
He said: “TikTok is such a minefield for skincare advice and trends and if you’re the average person it’s really hard to know which videos are based on real knowledge or are just random ideas that can actually cause more harm to your skin.”
Dr Ahmed has seen lots of people come to him seeking corrective treatment on DIY treatments they have done at home after seeing them on social media.
Using aspirin to make a face mask
The ‘aspirin facial’ trend, has grown popular on the social media app, but Dr Ahmed said this trend is a big no-no.
In one video, a woman shows how she makes a face mask using aspirin tablets by crushing them into a fine powder and adding water to make a paste to apply onto her skin.
She massages it into her face, so it can exfoliate the skin and she then leaves it for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off.
In the video, she said she uses this method to get rid of pimples overnight.
Dr Ahmed said aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties and if taken orally, can help with skin inflammation and acne, but not applied directly to the skin.
“Aspirin is similar in chemical structure to salicylic acid – which is a known exfoliator.
“However, aspirin purchased from over the counter, which is meant for oral use, will mean the concentration will be off and potentially dangerous for your skin.
“Any kind of salicylic acid for use directly onto the skin is usually around 2% concentration, any higher than this will mean the product is acting more like a skin peel which needs to be done under medical supervision.”
Using makeup removing wipes
Although makeup wipes are popular for many as a quick remover or first cleanse, Dr Ahmed suggests not to use them.
He said: “What they really do is move your makeup around and not wash it off.
“If you want something that goes into your pores to clean them out you should use micellar water, all day, every day.
“Plus, think about the planet.”
Icing your skin to clear acne
Another skincare hack Dr Ahmed has looked at is icing your skin to get rid of acne.
In one TikTok video the woman says to run an ice cube on your face for five minutes to reduce redness, inflammation and to decrease the look of pores.
She also said to not wash your face in the shower and to always use a separate clean towel to dry your face.
Dr Ahmed agrees with using a fresh towel but says it doesn’t matter if you wash your face in the shower as a face wash doesn’t sit on the skin.
In another video, a young woman says she has been on Accutane and has lots of skincare products but that icing her skin morning and night has been the only thing that has helped reduce her acne.
Dr Ahmed said: ““Ice on the skin to help reduce acne is another TikTok trend that I’m confused by; I’m not entirely sure where this has come from.
“The cooling effect of ice can help to ‘de-puff’ skin and has anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s not going to take away your acne.
“It will have short term results, but has absolutely zero science behind it – it’s just frozen water – and your acne will still be there on your skin.”
Although icing your face will not cause you harm, He said there was little science behind it helping reduce acne, but thanks to its anti-inflammatory affect, it can help reduce the appearance.
Touching your face with skincare applicators
In almost every skincare routine video on TikTok, the user brings the pipette full of skincare product to their face and squirt the product directly onto the skin.
Although it may look aesthetically pleasing, Dr Ahmed said you shouldn’t do this, simply because the pipette shouldn’t touch your skin as the bacteria will transfer to the pipette and then the entire skincare product.
Leaving the bacteria to fester in the bottle and you applying it to your skin every day, it is best to drop the product into clean hands and massage over the face.
Turmeric to fade dark spots
Another popular trend found on TikTok is using the spice, turmeric, to fade hyper-pigmentation from past spots and scarring.
One woman used the spice with honey, banana and lemon to create a face mask.
She spreads the mixture across her face and leaves it to sit for 15 minutes, and then wipes it off and washes her face.
Dr Ahmed said although this trend is not dangerous to the skin, it is a bit pointless as the effects of turmeric are very short term.
He said: “Pigmentation on the skin is quite common, especially amongst the Asian and Arabic communities – although it can affect anyone of any colour.
“Turmeric has straining properties so it will help to disguise pigmentation and even out skin tone – but the effects are very short term and the skin will be back to normal within a day or so.
“Pigmentation is caused by an increased level of hormones in your body, resulting in increased melanin, causing the discolouration to the skin.”
Dr Ahmed adds increased melanin can also be caused by sun exposure and recommends using SPF on your skin every day, and then Vitamin C in the morning and Retinol at night to genuinely tackle the problem.
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