From delightfully disgusting laundry stripping to faking a facelift with makeup and pro-tips on mastering mermaid waves, TikTok has gifted us some legit game-changing hacks:
Still, like any place on the internet, the video-sharing app can quickly veer into dangerous territory. This is especially true when it comes to skincare.
In fact, there are some TikTok skincare trends going viral that make dermatologists grimace at the thought, and we’re discussing them below.
TikTok Skincare Trends You Shouldn’t Try
1. Sunscreen Contouring
When it comes to TikTok skincare trends, this has to be one of the silliest we’ve seen. With how much dermatologists stress the importance of wearing sunscreen, there’s no way they’re giving a stamp of approval to sunscreen contouring. For those unfamiliar, the basic premise is to wear sunscreen on certain areas of your face and body and forgo it on other areas to create a suntan contour, like you would with sunless tanner or bronzer.
“I definitely would not recommend contouring sunscreen,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Paula’s Choice. “Skin cancer is on the rise. It is necessary to wear sunscreen every day—rain or shine—because ultraviolet light penetrates even through clouds. It is important to protect the entire face and body with an even layer of sunscreen.”
Not to mention, you are subjecting certain areas of your skin to premature aging when you pick and choose where to apply SPF.
2. DIY Lip Filler
If you’re even quasi-intrigued by the idea of doing a DIY lip filler, please think again. This ill-advised TikTok skincare trend went viral earlier this year after videos circulated of people using at-home kits to inject their own lip filler. And while most were using tools known as hyaluron pens, which use pressurized air to force filler into lips as opposed to needles, this is still a recipe for disaster.
“This is a very bad idea,” confirms Dr. Toni Stockton, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Phoenix, Arizona. “Even under the best circumstances, with good knowledge of the lip anatomy and years of experience using fillers, you can have complications.”
Lips bruise and swell easily, but what’s even more concerning is the potential for improper injection leading to blocked blood flow. “You need the skill to treat the complications when they happen in order to prevent permanent damage,” says Dr. Stockton. “I also have concerns about what products people are injecting in the lip, as there are examples of products with suspicious origins.”
Even if you’re not actually injecting anything into your lips, using suctioning tools or other DIY items to temporarily plump your lips can be dangerous, too. (Let’s not forget the horrifying Kylie Lip Challenge of 2015.) Dr. Whitney Bowe, also a board-certified dermatologist, goes into more detail in this Instagram video on the dangers of this type of DIY lip plumping. Long story short: unsightly swelling, bruising, and broken blood vessels.
3. Microneedling Makeup
Microbladed brows are great and lip tattoos can take your makeup game up a level. However, these types of treatments should never be attempted at-home. Like Dr. Stockton said, even in the best-case scenario of knowing facial anatomy and understanding how to use professional tools, there’s always the potential for a job-gone-wrong and no proper recourse.
We’ve also recently seen an uptick in microneedling foundation, which Dr. Bowe also calls out as a huge no-no in this Instagram video. Foundation contains ingredients, like pigment and preservatives, that aren’t meant to penetrate the skin, she explains, and they can ultimately lead to irritation, infection, granulomas (aka areas of inflammation) or worse. Your best bet? Find a like-skin foundation you love and stick with it.
4. Soap Brows
While this TikTok beauty trend isn’t necessarily dangerous, derms say to proceed with caution as the soap brow technique can cause skin irritation. The idea is to use a bar of soap to groom your eyebrows so they appear fuller, glossier, and more tamed. Unfortunately, not all soaps are created equally and your delicate skin and sensitive eye area are at risk with this trend.
“People who have very sensitive skin may find this too irritating since the soap will be in contact with your skin for an extended time,” explains Dr. Stockton. This could lead to contact dermatitis, with symptoms that include rashes, itching, and visible bumps or blisters. She adds that you may be okay using a mild glycerin-based soap, but to definitely avoid harsh foaming agents or scented soaps.
Another risk with soap brows? The technique could potentially lead to brow hair loss, leaving bare patches where the soap was too drying and tugged at the follicle. Ultimately, it’s better to use a product that’s intended for eyebrow grooming and has been approved for usage around your eyes.