The good, bad and ugly… beauty advice is a bit of an information minefield. The beauty of the internet and social media is that we have access to so much information.
It can clear up many things... Hey, Siri! What is the deal with Taylor Swift’s love life? And it can also give us good advice. The ugly truth, however, is that a lot of the content and advice out there can also be marketing hype/false/wrong/actually harmful.
Let us help you find good advice on your journey to healthy, good-looking skin.
RULE #1: Question everything
It’s easy to become obsessed with makeup tutorials, and why not? They’re gorgeous and fun! But when it comes to getting your skincare and health advice from social media, you need to be a more careful.
The rise of the ‘skinfluencer’ has seen photogenic folx who are skilled in performing, lighting and camera angles getting millions of views for their beauty hacks. But does that mean they are skincare or beauty experts? Probably not. Do your homework on their expertise before you trust their advice.
And just because something’s trending, doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin - trust us.
Our advice: If it looks like something that’s going to go viral because it’s dangerous or weird (menstrual blood facial, anyone?), best to avoid it. Enjoy these TikTok posts as entertainment, but take them with a healthy pinch of salt.
If you want to get your advice from social media, find reliable sources, like dermatologists, cosmetic scientists and skincare therapists, or influencers who quote these. The rise of #Dermtok in response to #badbeautyadvice is a win for all of us. These skin experts explain ingredients and trends, do some myth-busting and offer great skincare tips.
Let’s unpack our top 5 GOOD bits of beauty advice in response to the mad, bad, and even dangerous, advice out there.
1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
There are some pretty dangerous viral skincare hacks out there. Let's check out some top ones:
Aspirin and Head & Shoulders as skin treatments
The Skinfluencer’s thinking... 'Salicylic acid is the ingredient we use as an exfoliator and to treat acne. Aspirin is also salicylic acid. Hmmm. Sooooo instead of spending money on a skincare product, why not just use cheap aspirin instead? And let's try using Head & Shoulders to clean acne-prone skin. I mean, it clears bacteria, right?'
The truth: This is so wrong! These products are not designed for delicate facial skin and clearing acne's not their purpose. They can cause bad skin irritation and damage.
The salicylic acid used in skincare products is used in careful, safe doses and it is buffered to be gentle on the skin and cause as little irritation as possible. Other soothing ingredients are also added to help prevent irritation. And skincare products also undergo extended skin safety testing.
Our advice: Stick to a good salicylic-acid skin treatment, like PHA + Salicylic Acid Serum.
Menstrual blood facial
The Skinfluencer’s thinking... 'Kim Kardashian gets vampire facials using her own blood. I get free blood every month when I menstruate. Hey, I can do this to get great skin benefits.'
The truth: Don't go there! Seriously! It’s a dangerous riff on the idea of the vampire facial aka PRP. This medical procedure – performed under sterile conditions - uses a person’s blood, taken from their veins, which is then spun to extract concentrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This is then applied to the skin using a dermal roller to help it penetrate.
PRP is used in all sorts of ways in the belief that it has growth factors that can generate healing and skin rejuvenation. The research is promising, but its benefits are still a question of debate.
Our review: Using menstrual blood as a face mask will not have a similar effect. Period. (Sorry, we went there.) There is no proven benefit to placing whole blood on the skin. And you’re risking infecting your skin with vaginal bacteria or fungi, not to mention a sexually transmitted infection, if you have one.
Our advice: Don’t. Just… don’t!
2. More is not always better.
Using a bigger amount, using many different products, or using more expensive treatments doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to see more benefits for your skin.
Our advice: It is, um, more important to choose the right treatments for your skin concerns, use the recommended amount, and find skincare that suits your skin and your budget.
- You might be overstimulating your skin with too much product or too many steps, so keep your routine simple.
- Choose core products (cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, sunscreen, and the right serums for your skin concerns).
- Pick ingredients that have good scientific evidence behind them, like vitamin C, hydroxy acids, cica and hyaluronic acid.
- Choose skincare brands that have good skin-science behind them, and choose one that fits your budget. Often, these brands belong to bigger companies which use their more expensive flagship brands for research and development of products and ingredients. Their less-expensive brands benefit when this research passes down for their use.
3. Creating your own skincare with ‘natural’ ingredients isn’t harmless.
We love natural ingredients as much as you do, and use many in our formulas. But we know what we’re using, what their actions are, and we know how to make sure they won’t have a negative reaction on your skin.
- We’ve seen people rub chillies on their lips for a bee-stung effect. Yeah, that’s called major irritation. Our advice: Please don’t do it.
- Creating your own fresh tomato face mask, washing your face with salt water, and using raw coconut or olive oil to cleanse or moisturise can cause dehydration, irritation, sensitivity and breakouts. Our advice: Stick to skincare products to do the job.
- So not a good idea to use pure lemon juice or citrus oils to fade dark marks. Our advice: This can have the opposite effect as they can cause a phototoxic reaction that darkens your skin, as well as irritating it. Vitamin C is your even skin friend.
- And coffee-ground scrubs? Our advice: Nope! Those sharp edges create microtears on your skin and its protective barrier. Rather use a gentle exfoliating cleanser with chemical exfoliants.
4. Don’t mess with the sun and sun protection.
Some of the most dangerous beauty advice we’ve seen are the SPF facial contouring and beer-tanning TikTok trends. And influencers who say that sunscreen can cause cancer.
The facial contouring hack involves applying sunscreen on parts of your face and leaving the areas you want ‘contoured’ bare as you expose yourself to the sun, so they go darker and your face looks more sculpted. Beer-tanning advocates say that slathering your body in beer helps to stimulate the skin to tan.
Our advice: Avoid this and warn any friends who are doing it to stop. Sure, some of it may work in the short term, but you’re exposing bare skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays and you’re basically frying it.
You could also get severe sunburn and heat stroke. And dark pigmentation blotches that will be hard to shift. Oh, and those exposed areas will develop early wrinkles and become saggy. And did we mention you’re increasing your risk of skin cancer a lot? Rather stick to bronzer or fake tan.
Repeat after us: There’s no such thing as a safe tan! Your skin goes darker to protect the skin-cell nucleus from damage that can lead to skin cancer, premature aging and other undesirable effects. We can’t stress this enough: Please don’t do this!
Re the ‘sunscreen can cause cancer’ so-called advice:
Er, that’s a little information being misinterpreted dangerously. Some chemical sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, have shown cause for concern as they can enter the bloodstream. But these are banned in most countries. Check your sunscreen label to ensure it doesn’t contain these.
- The risk of skin cancer from not using sunscreen or sun protection is a lot more of a worry than any risk from using sunscreen. It’s one of the most common forms of cancer, and the deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, is on the rise around the world. So please, please follow sun-safe practises, which includes using sunscreen.
- Sun-safe practises: Make sun protection – using protective hats, clothes, sunglasses and sunscreen - a part of your everyday skin routine, especially in summer. And avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm, when it’s at its peak.
- If you’re still worried about using sunscreen, choose mineral-based sunscreens that contain the mineral filters zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are also recommended for and well tolerated by sensitive skin types.
Re 'Sunscreen prevents the skin producing vital Vitamin D' advice:
We need to get the balance right between getting enough sun to stimulate natural vitamin D production in our bodies, and avoiding sun damage.
Well, there are easy ways you can do this. Just consider these factors for your situation:
- what is your skin tone? Fair skin is more sun-sensitive, while darker complexions have more melanin (which acts as a natural sunscreen), so you might need slightly longer sun exposure for darker complexions
- where do you live? If you live nearer to the equator, you will have more sun exposure, so you probably need less
- what is the season? There’s more sun in summer than winter, so keep it short in summer and slightly longer in winter
So, you can spend between 10 (for pale skin) and up to 30 minutes in the sun (for darker skin), two to three times a week. Expose the skin on your arms and legs to help your body produce enough vitamin D. Just don’t forget to make adjustments for the factors above.
5. Anything that causes skin harm or injury can be dangerous.
Mad, bad and dangerous to know
There have been some truly crazy #SkinTok hacks out there. How about sticking your head into a fish tank for a ‘fish facial’. Seriously, dude? Or who wants to remove their own skin tags (those funny little bits of loose skin that suddenly pop up)? Ouch!
We won’t even go into the hygiene and infection risks of the fish facial idea. It’s a no-brainer! But removing your own skin tags? Not-a-good-idea! First off, you could cause skin injury and infection because you’re not a trained professional. And how do you know that that little doodad is a harmless skin tag? It could be something that needs medical attention. Go to your GP or a dermatologist to identify it correctly and have it removed.
Microneedling and dermal rollers
We’ve all seen the great results achieved by professional microneedling and dermal rollers. They stimulate your skin to produce collagen and help correct some skin problems. So, of course, the home-use products had to become available.
Our advice: This is a tricky one as the tool is only as good as the user. It’s probably best left to the professionals because, if you’re a ‘cowboy’ who attacks their skin with gusto, you could cause lasting damage, like scarring or hyperpigmentation.
- But if you really want to do this at home, please, please be very careful. Do it very, very gently and follow all the instructions. Don’t think that more is more – in pressure or in how often you do it. Start off very slowly, with the lightest touch.
- Also, be very careful about the ingredients you use with these tools. They punch small holes in your skin's protective barrier so the ingredients can enter more easily. Only use gentle ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Don’t use it with any hydroxy-acids or other highly active ingredients or you could end up with a chemical burn.
- And, of course, hygiene is hugely important. Make sure you use them on a clean skin so that dirt and bacteria don’t get through the barrier, which can cause infection and breakouts. And clean the tools afterwards carefully with a sterilizing alcohol spray.
You only have one skin. It’s a miraculous organ that is your shield against the world. It’s also one of your greatest beauty assets. Treat it with the love, consideration and gentleness it needs and deserves.
If you aren't sure what skincare your skin needs, let us help you find your ideal CERM skin journey.
We look forward to hearing about your skin’s transformation journey.