Pinterest is filled with great ideas. From crafts, to recipes, to fashion, it’s a great resource for your everyday life and home. But as far as skincare goes, some things the site touts are truly cringe-worthy. And some are even dangerous! Below are the five most notorious beauty “hacks” that abound on Pinterest and why you should stop using them immediately!
Topping our list is this “trick” that has been around since the dawn of the internet (or so it seems), but it’s one of the most dangerous on this list. While it’s true that our skin is acidic, it ranks in at 5.5 on the pH scale. Lemon Juice? That’s a terrifying 2! It’s so acidic that it can leave your skin with chemical burns. And if you go out in the sun at any point after having citrus on your skin, you can be left with burns, skin darkening, and permanent scarring. That’s because in addition to being very acidic, it also causes phytophotodermatitis.
Whatever you’re using lemon juice for (besides delicious lemonade), stop. It should never go on your skin. There are tons of products that can accomplish the “miracles” you see on Pinterest without causing burns or sun damage.
This another of the major offenders on Pinterest. Recipes are everywhere for a baking soda paste that promises to banish blemishes and tone the skin. But while lemon juice is highly acidic, baking soda is the opposite; it comes in at a whopping 9. And for those of you who don’t remember middle school chemistry, that means it’s highly basic. Baking soda can destroy the acid mantle of the skin, leaving you open to infections and dry skin.
If you’re looking to clear acne, go to a dermatologist to find the root cause of your spots. It could be dehydration, over production of oil, hormones, or even a fungal infection. Only then can you solve a problem that is deeper than the skin.
Toothpaste goes on your teeth, but a lot of Pinterest seems to think that it’s a great spot treatment for zits. And while it will dry them out, it will also dry out all of the skin around it. This can lead to flakiness that will make the spot more noticeable while it’s healing. In addition, the menthol in toothpaste can lead to minor burns and scarring.
If you’re looking for a zit zapper, the e.l.f. brand Acne Fighting Spot Gel is a great choice. It clears them quickly and painlessly, and when paired with a hydrocolloid bandage, will get rid of zits almost overnight.
The instant you start searching “cinnamon” on Pinterest, you’re guaranteed to start seeing some beauty masks roll into the results. But if you’ve heard of the cinnamon challenge, there’s one thing this tasty spice does really well: burns. Cinnamon on your face will leave your skin red and inflamed as it burns its way through the top layers of skin. Despite the recipes on Pinterest, most people rarely use this “hack” more than once because the pain is so immense. Some people were even left with blisters after trying the DIY mask.
If you’re looking to brighten up your skin tone, hydrate first and then work with a specially formulated vitamin C serum.
Pure Essential Oils
I love tea tree oil. I have a bottle on my counter and I do, in fact, use it in skincare. But frequently, Pinterest recommends it as a spot treatment meant to be applied straight from the bottle to the skin. And it’s not just tea tree oil that’s the offender. Frequently folks on the internet tout lavender, orange, pine, and other crazy essential oils as the “miracle” your skin has been looking for. The problem with this is that essential oils are highly concentrated and sometimes the source and make up of the oil is suspect. This can lead to (you guessed it) burns, infection, and scarring. In addition, allergies to essential oils can be spontaneous and are sped up by the undiluted use of essential oils.
If you insist on using essential oils in skincare, do so carefully. Research the source of your essential oil thoroughly to be certain that the company is reputable. Try to find the concentration levels and composition of the essential oil. And, when you’re ready to use it on your skin, combine it with a carrier oil to dilute it. The best options are jojoba or sweet almond oil. This will give you all the benefits of the essential oil without any of the negatives. In addition, never let the essential oils touch your pets, as it can interfere with their nervous system.
Coconut Oil for Everything
If the internet is to be believed, coconut oil is a miracle from Mother Earth herself, sent to cure all of the world’s problems. But while it works for some, it is still highly comedogenic. For some people, it can cause intense breakouts that take months to clear up. In addition, coconut oil is a sealer, not a moisturizer. So if you have dry skin, look elsewhere for a little extra hydration. And if you’d like to introduce coconut oil for your skin, make sure to test in a small area first to make sure you won’t have a bad reaction that could demolish your self esteem.
Writer, Photographer, Dream-Seeker