22 June 2022
TikTok- love it or hate it, there’s no denying its impact on the world of skincare of the world. As one of the fastest growing apps in the world with 2.6 billion downloads to date; TikTok has created a wealth of beauty and skincare content for us all. Some of these viral videos have propelled skinintellectuals like Hyram Yarbo to fame (FYI, he has collaborated with The Inkey List for his own skincare line); broke sales (The Ordinary’s AHA and BHA Peeling Solution crossed sales of 100,000 bottles in weeks) and gave rise to some questionable trends.
Just like everything else on the internet, not all that you see can be trusted. To help you separate fad from fiction, here’s a doctor’s guide to the top 5 TikTok beauty/ skincare trends to avoid. If you’d like to find me and my amateur video efforts on TikTok, my handle is @drrachelho.
Meet to the newest IT drink on TikTok: chlorophyll. Yes, you read that right. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants for photosynthesis. TikTok-ers such as @marycjskinner have been extolling the dermatological benefits of drinking liquid chlorophyll as they swirl down their chlorophyll cocktail. According to these TikTok influencers, some of the benefits for drinking chlorophyll are improvement in acne and rosacea.
So what’s the tea on chlorophyll? Chlorophyll is a rich source of antioxidants and inflammatory compounds. Inflammation plays a role in acne and rosacea; however drinking chlorophyll is not validated as one of the treatments for these conditions. In fact, there are no large, controlled trials to support the drinking chlorophyll at all for acne and rosacea. You can learn about the link between diet and acne in Foods to Avoid for Less Pimples.
It may be worthy of a TikTok video, but drinking chlorophyll isn’t going to improve anyone’s acne or rosacea. If you’re still thinking of taking chlorophyll drops, why not get it the natural way- vegetables? Spinach is a rich source of chlorophyll. One cup of spinach offers more chlorophyll than 1-2 drops of chlorophyll.
Another TikTok trend that will make your doctor cringe? Using toothpaste to dry out your pimples! According to these influencers, using toothpaste as a spot treatment can dry up zits overnight.
Historically, toothpaste used to contain an antibacterial agent called Triclosan. However, since 2019, the Triclosan is no longer available in commercial toothpastes due to concerns that Triclosan could disrupt thyroid hormone levels.
It may seem intuitive to reduce bacterial infection and inflammation with toothpaste. There are however, more elegant and safer ways to address these in acne with antibiotics, skincare and pimple patches. If you need to quickly reduce an angry pimple or cyst, steroid injections by your doctor can help with that safely. Toothpastes contain many ingredients that could trigger irritant contact dermatitis; so consider these safer alternatives!
Another bizarre viral TikTok trend that does not seem to be abating anytime soon- leaving raw potatoes on your face for hours. The videos of users pasting spuds on their faces are worth a watch for their comic effect
Where did this idea originate from? The origins of this urban myth are unclear but it might have something to do with the salicylic acid content of potatoes. Salicylic acid is often used in anti-acne skincare to exfoliate the skin. There are numerous over the counter salicylic acid facial washes, toners, serums and moisturisers for acne. You don’t need to tape a potato to your face ok?
Joining the treasure trove of really bad TikTok advice is DIY skincare. Having agency and being really involved in your skincare routine is definitely a good thing. Attempting to create your own skincare products with ingredients from the grocery store? Not a great idea.
One prime example? Using freshly squeezed lemon juice as a serum or toner. It might be rich in vitamin C, but the acidity can burn your skin. Household ingredients and DIY skincare are not refined or processed for sterility, safety and longevity. This hack of creating your own skincare may instead disrupt your skin barrier, cause burns and infection and irritant contact dermatitis. Not fun at all.
Another TikTok trend that’s also viral on Reddit- slugging. Slugging refers to slathering your skin with Vaseline or petroleum jelly overnight. This seals in the skin’s moisture so that you’ll wake up with moist, plump, baby soft skin.
When applied to the skin, petroleum jelly or vaseline forms a protective seal against water loss from the skin. In turn, skin becomes moisturised. The problem with slugging? Slugging with Vaseline or petroleum may clog the pores and exacerbate acne. If you have oily skin or acne, there are ingredients that can keep the skin barrier healthy and well moisturised- hyaluronic acid and ceramides are wonderful and affordable examples.
If your skin is still parched and dry- consider seeing your doctor for more definitive treatments. Injectable moisturisers such as Profhilo and Skinbooster can replenish the skin’s hydration for longer lasting results.