8 DIY Skin Care Hacks That Can Ruin Your Skin

Just because it’s natural, doesn’t always equal safe and effective.


Photo: ingimage

We’ve read it all before and possibly are even guilty of trying a number of these. Tips like how toothpaste can be a substitute as a pimple cream, or  that “natural remedies” are the safe and good alternatives to cut cost on our beauty spending, or DIY facial recipes that are all the rage on Pinterest. But did you know that these natural ingredients can cause actual harm to your skin? Just because you can eat it doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin!

Here are a few examples of what natural ingredients you should avoid putting on your face:

Baking Soda
We’ve heard wonders of baking soda hacks (everything from being a pore tightener to exfoliator on the cheap)  but turns out this isn’t good for our skin at all. Baking soda is far too alkaline to be used on the face. But because our skin is slightly acidic, adding any alkaline substance on the face can irritate and damage the skin’s natural barrier, which is crucial for keeping bad bacteria out. Baking soda also causes moisture loss and compromise your skin’s ability to regulate itself.

Sitting at about a 2 on the pH scale, citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit can harm your skin in both the short and long run. With immediate symptoms including irritating rashes or burns, lemon dries your face (as it doesn’t help retain moisture) and just like baking soda, using raw lemon can break down the skin’s acid mantle, which protects the skin against bacteria.

Toothpaste as pimple cream is one of the most popular DIY skin hacks, but it does more harm than good. Toothpaste is full of ingredients that are drying and irritating. It can dry out a zit, but it’ll also zap healthy moisture from the surrounding areas and has the potential to chemically burn the skin, leaving dark scars on your face.

Egg Whites
Plenty of Korean skincare products feature egg white as an ingredient for tightening pores. So naturally, you might think of using the real thing might be more effective.

Yes and no. Raw eggs may contain dangerous salmonella bacteria, and if you ingest it by accident, you can end up with a nasty bout of food poisoning. To avoid this, you can find pasteurised eggs at select supermarkets but they are hard to come by and expensive.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Ingesting apple cider vinegar (ACV) is great for your health, but it certainly isn’t suitable for your skin. One of the most famous DIY facial recipes out there is to mix one teaspoon of ACV and one crushed aspirin, and that is a disaster in the making.

Even though ACV contains exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids (malic acid) and aspirin contains anti-inflammatory salicylic acid (a common acid used in some acne products), both are unstable once crushed. Not to mention the resulting mixture will be far too concentrated, and can cause major irritation and with topical application, and repeated use can cause irritation and burns burns to the skin. Your best bet? Get properly-formulated skincare products.

Spices add a kick to every meal, but if a DIY facial scrub recipe calls for cinnamon, please kick it to the side. Cinnamon can irritate skin, causing rashes and even blisters.

We already know that eating too much sugary foods may cause skin breakouts. Turns out using it on your skin isn’t that much better either. While sugar is a popular component when in DIY facial scrubs, the texture of the sugar grains is far too rough for the fragile skin on our faces. Such rough exfoliation can create tiny tears that’ll damage and prematurely age the skin. Keep sugar away from your face and opt for facial scrubs that are designed for the face.

However, sugar scrubs are still great for your legs and the rest of your body where skin is thicker and more resilient!

Petroleum Jelly
Good ol’ petroleum jelly is on the list. Petroleum jelly is a great emollient, but you should not use it as your only face moisturiser.

As an emollient, petroleum jelly seals in moisture on super dry skin and lips, bug bites, and wounds. But using petroleum jelly without a moisturiser underneath actually cause dryness over time because it keeps out additional air and moisture without delivering moisture to your skin. Be sure to apply moisturiser first, then seal it all in with petroleum jelly and you’re good to go!

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