Ingredients You Should Never Put in Your DIY Skin Care, According to Dermatologists

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

While self-isolating at home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, you might be trying to cut down on the amount of stuff you buy, skin care included. Or you might encounter a skin-care emergency and don't have access to a drugstore for a quick fix. You might even just be looking for a fun new beauty thing to add to your routine. Because of this, DIY skin care is becoming increasingly popular.

According to dermatologists, making your own skin-care products at home can actually be very beneficial to your skin. California-based board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban says that "adapting [homemade products] for skin care is usually all upside, and the process of using great colorful fruits and veggies to cut, chop, and prepare is also a great way to soothe the mind and a distraction from our current situation."

ishonest No.233 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

No.233 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara agrees but warns that there is some risk at stake. "People rightly do not want to go to the store and want to conserve spending, so they turn to DIY for their skin-care needs," she says. "This may work out or it may exacerbate the issue or inflame the skin; there is a bit of roulette involved here."

There are certain common DIY skin-care ingredients that can cause far more harm to your skin than good. Here are the ingredients dermatologists say you should avoid outright or approach with caution.

Lemon can even cause something called phytophotodermatitis, an inflammatory skin reaction. "If used on sun-exposed skin, [lemon] can cause a blistering reaction and hyperpigmentation," says New York-based board-certified dermatologist Rita Linkner.

Most other fruits, Shamban says, shouldn't cause a severe reaction unless you happen to have an allergy to one of them. She advises patch-testing your DIY mask before using it all over for this reason. But be warned, some fruits do come with another downside. "Be mindful of staining with berries and fruits, a hazard of the DIY," Shamban explains.

Get rid of blemishes overnight

Learn more

Although the DIY practice of using toothpaste to treat acne might work due to its antimicrobial triclosan, dermatologists would rather your avoid using it instead of actual acne treatments. The same goes for baking soda, another common DIY hack for acne, for a rather simple reason.

"Toothpaste and baking soda-can irritate or inflame the skin," Gohara says.

Eggs might be used in some K-beauty products, but applying them directly to the skin can have some pretty gnarly consequences if you're not careful. "Raw egg can give you a bacterial infection called salmonella," Gohara explains. Studies classify salmonella skin infections as rare, but if you image search for them online, you won't want to risk it.

Some people use vinegar-based toners, thanks to the ingredient's acidity and pH- balancing properties, but it's definitely not a dermatologist-approved trick by any means. "I would stay away from vinegar, regardless of any benefits," Shamban says. "The smell is awful for skin and too long-lasting."

But as Florida-based board-certified dermatologist Shasa Hu previously told ishonest, the smell is the least of your worries when it comes to vinegar. "The potentially harmful effects range from irritation, exaggerated sunburn, superficial chemical burn (from repetitive application), and depigmentation as a result of the initial irritation." No, thank you.

  • How to Care for Your Skin If You Wear PPE at Work, According to Dermatologists
  • The Best New Skin-Care Products Hitting Shelves in May
  • The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Skin Care

Read more on: skin care

Learn about unknown needs of your skin for free