Leave it to TikTok and the internet to give us wild ideas on what to slather on our skin as the latest pore minimizer or pimple destroyer. Unfortunately, much of what we see on social media is not sound advice.
You’ve likely seen some of these ingredients in store-bought products — but when used alone or without proper sanitation and diluting methods, they have the potential to damage skin, especially over time.
Think twice about DIY methods from your fridge or pantry. Just because something is natural or raw doesn’t automatically make it safe or good for your skin.
1. Lemon or Lime Juice 🍋
Best-case scenario: You’ll feel nothing or a sting and maybe reap the benefits of a little fruit juice exfoliation.
Most serious scenario: The use of citrus fruits on the skin could leave you with bigger worries, like a second-degree burn.
The psoralens in lemons and limes can cause a phototoxic reaction on your skin when it’s exposed to UV light. That means your attempt to fade a spot could result in a bigger and darker spot.
The rash, called phytophotodermatitis, often appears one to three days after you have been exposed to some sun in an area that had the citrus on it (even unintentionally like when making margaritas!)— and it could last for months. Talk about the juice not being worth the squeeze!
2. Egg Whites 🥚
The claim is to slather egg whites on your face and end up with tighter pores and smooth skin.
Best-case scenario: Any tightening benefits will wash down the drain when you rinse off.
Most serious scenario: Raw egg can be contaminated with salmonella. By placing uncooked egg so close to your mouth, you run the risk of contracting a gastrointestinal infection.
A skin infection is also possible, and the danger is upped when applying to open wounds, like a healing pimple or a scratch.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar 🍎
Apple cider vinegar has been touted as the holy grail of DIY ingredients. Claims to fame include that it helps clear acne, fade blemish scars, remove age spots, treat warts, and even remove moles. Soooooo, usually, if a product claims to do many things really well, especially things that are really hard to treat (like scars, age spots, and warts), then it probably does very few things well.
Lowest-risk scenario: Using apple cider vinegar on your face can cause a stinging or burning sensation. It might help irritate a wart intentionally.
Most serious potential: Long-term use of undiluted apple cider vinegar could burn your face due to its highly acidic levels. Vinegar can be caustic if you leave it on your skin. Any acne sores are at risk for incurring a burn or major irritation that could result in hyperpigmentation.
While it’s tempting to find DIY solutions to our skin concerns, some ingredients just aren’t facial-friendly. 🚫 When a natural ingredient is an actual glow booster, hydration helper, or irritation aid, it’s usually safer used as a store-bought or prescribed product that has been tested and safely diluted, packaged, and stored.