Beauty hacks are all over Instagram. From DIY makeup applicators made out of diapers — albeit clean ones — to milk cream and yoghurt exfoliating creams, there’s certainly a variety of weird, wonderful, and wild suggestions making their rounds on social media. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save a few bucks on beauty products or turning to natural alternatives, you can’t always tell how well a beauty hack will work just by a picture or video on social media. Worse yet, you can’t always tell just how safe these hacks are. Some are actually pretty dangerous.
Thankfully, experts have weighed in on some of the most popular trends and revealed which ones are worth giving a try and which ones have no place in your beauty routine. We’ve rounded up eight of the very worst beauty hacks on the internet. Here’s what you need to know about them.
If you’re thinking of extracting your own blackheads, you should know it’s not recommended. One beauty hack that promises to “melt blackheads” suggests coating your face in Vaseline and then covering the skin with plastic wrap. Similar hacks also call for placing a hot towel against the covered skin. While this trick may very well open up your pores and make your blackheads easy to squeeze and pop, it’s really terrible for your skin.
First, extracting your own blackheads can cause irritation and induce redness, and there’s a potential for scarring. Also, the last thing you want to do if you have acne-prone skin is slathered petroleum jelly all over it. “It may be a great option if you are struggling with dry skin,” dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Sejal Shah told Self. “However, applying Vaseline to the skin may actually promote the development of clogged pores and acne.” In other words: more blackheads.
Egg white masks
You might also remember your Granny using eggs in her beauty routine. While she may have slathered it in her hair and on her face without thinking twice about it, we don’t exactly have that, um, luxury today. Salmonella in eggs wasn’t an issue to be concerned about until the late ’70s and early ’80s (via The New York Times). Today, however, the bacterium is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Nevertheless, you’ll see plenty of beauty vloggers touting the benefits of egg white masks.
While these masks do as many people claim, including shrinking your pores, the health risks outweigh the benefits. Salmonella can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.
Kitty litter face masks
There are some things in life you never think you’ll have to say, like, “Don’t put kitty litter on your face.” But here we are. Thanks to the internet, these unusual face masks managed to become popular. Believe it or not, though, there is actually some science behind slathering your face in kitty litter. Dermatologist Jason Emer told Allure that kitty litters that are clay-based often contain a couple of ingredients that are also used in common skin-care products: silica and bentonite. Both ingredients absorb oils and hold in moisture, which is what many people are looking for in their facial products and, yes, in their kitty litter too.
While silica and bentonite are safe to use on your skin, dermatologist Joshua Zeichner told Allure that it’s all of the other stuff in kitty litter that makes it a bad idea to — you guessed it — rub it on your face. According to both dermatologists, using a clay-based face mask is a much better alternative because, you know, it’s meant for your face.
Adding Mr Clean to your beauty routine
If you’ve ever used Mr Clean Magic Eraser to remove scuffs from your walls, you know that it’s basically, well, magic. However, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to start using the product on yourself. People have discovered that it works to remove unwanted spray tan lines, but this hack is a dangerous one.
“As a general rule, it’s never a good idea to use a household product on your skin,” Randy Schueller, a cosmetic chemist and the co-founder of Thebeautybrains.com told Allure. “They’re not subject to the same safety testing requirements as personal-care products.” Although Mr Clean Magic Erasers don’t contain “harsh” chemicals, the product is made out of melamine foam, which is very abrasive. It could also trigger an allergic reaction.
Pimple-popping with pins
If you’ve ever had one of those pimples that more closely resembles Mount Vesuvius than your run-of-the-mill zit, we understand why you’d want to make it erupt. But, whatever you do, don’t stick a pin in it. It may sound like it’d bring instant relief to just shove a safety pin in that sucker, but it’s only going to make everything worse. And that’s true even if you thought to sanitize the pin first.
When you break the skin, the bacteria that are on your face can penetrate it, and the contents of the pimple get pushed deeper. All that irritation is going to take much longer to heal and can lead to scarring
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