TikTok Beauty Trends: Separating Facts from Fiction

Not all beauty trends are created equal

Debunking Dangerous TikTok Beauty Trends: Separating Fact from Fiction

TikTok is a treasure trove of beauty and skincare tips, but unfortunately not all trends are created equal.

In the pursuit of flawless skin and stunning aesthetics, some TikTokers may find themselves experimenting with extreme beauty trends that could potentially not only be harmful but that can lead to more problems than solutions.


Debunking Dangerous TikTok Beauty Trends: Separating Fact from Fiction


The TikTok trend with the known as "slugging" #slugging is a Korean beauty skincare practice that involves slathering a thick layer of petroleum jelly or a similar occlusive product to the face before bedtime. Advocates claim that it locks in moisture, but dermatologists warn against it. While it may temporarily give the impression that it hydrates the skin by preventing moisture from escaping, it can also clog pores and lead to breakouts and acne, making it unsuitable for those with oily and acne-prone skin.

What we say: Skin repairs itself and exudes contaminants the most during the night when we sleep. Applying an occlusive product before bed prevents the skin from purging itself. Because of this we don't recommend this trend.

Ice Facials or Skin Icing

The trend with the #icefacial started by Bella Hadid consists of either applying ice to the face or dipping the entire face in a bowl of water with ice for prolonged periods of time. It became a popular TikTok trend, with proponents claiming it reduces puffiness and tightens pores.

This myth of pores opening and closing is a constant amongst the masses. Pores do not close or open, rather they get plugged with dirt, sebum and dead skin cells. These "plugs" make pores to appear enlarged as more dirt extend the size of the pores, so no amount of ice water or ice would actually have any effect on them at all.

Cold actually reduces blood flow to tissues by constricting blood vessels. While ice may temporarily reduce redness, it can also damage delicate facial skin especially around the eye area, and exacerbate issues for those with conditions like rosacea. Extreme cold can damage capillaries (thin veins that provide blood to tissues such as skin), cause frostbite and cold burns, leaving you with permanent scars.

What we say: Although ice bags are useful as a temporary home remedy for swelling and inflammation after surgery or injury, when it comes to skincare this trend can go to the box of useless trends and never come back.

Skin Cycling

Skin cycling is a four-day-skincare-regimen designed by board certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, which suggests alternating between using active ingredients and letting the skin rest. According to Dr. Bowe a four-night cycling scheduling consist of an exfoliating night, reinoid night, recovery night, recovery night and repeat.

The focus of this regimen is on ONE active and one active only, retinoids and only for the night beauty routine.

Dr. Bowe recommends the following:

Night One - Exfoliation
Cleanse and exfoliate the skin with a chemical exfoliant, followed by a moisturizer.

Night Two - Retinol
Cleanse, apply retinol followed by moisturizer.

Night Three and Four
Cleanse and if needed apply a hyaluronic acid serum and seal in moisture with a facial oil without active ingredients.

What we say: This is not a regimen for everyone, especially those with sensitive or dermatitis prone skins (including eczema). Chemical or mechanical facial peelings even at home ones should be performed carefully and no more than once or twice a week and recommended for people with normal to acne prone skin. However those with sensitive, dry or dermatitis prone skins should avoid them all together, especially the chemical ones which can burn the outer layer of skin causing more damage and sensitivity.

Freckle Tattoos

Freckle tattoos, one of the silliest and useless of trends, involve applying semi-permanent ink to mimic natural freckles. The scope of this trend is to look cute and angelical. Some are going for removable inks, while others are actually getting the real tattoos, which can lead to infection, scarring, and dissatisfaction with results, especially once the trend passes.

What we say: Not worth the risk. Instead just like contouring, opt for an eyebrow pencil in the color of your choice and paint them on, making them part your makeup routine, just like women did back in the 50's mimicking Marilyn Monroe's birth mark mole near the mouth.

Sunscreen 'Contouring'

One of the most dangerous trends people should rethink 100 times before jumping on, and unfortunately one of the most popular on TikTok. Having just recently been diagnose with skin cancer myself for a third time, I can't but cringe at how irresponsible this is. Should we put this one in the same category eating laundry pods sits in?

Contouring is a makeup technique that creates the illusion of a perfect face or facial features, through the use of light and dark makeup. Based on the chiaroscuro (Italian word for light & dark) painting technique used by famous Italian artists such Leonardo Da Vinci. In this technique, just like in art, light colors are used to enhance certain features, while dark colors are used to hide or shape them, giving the illusion of form.

This trend however involves using high SPF sunscreen in certain areas of the face leaving these areas untanned, while leaving others completely exposed without sunscreen or with a much lower SPF, therefore more tanned, for a more "long lasting" contouring, made famous by no other than Gwyneth Paltrow from Goop (why?!).

The results? Well, for many ridiculous and painful, for others, we'll see when premature aging and skin cancer starts to appear. Not only this trend defeats its primary purpose (UV protection) but can also result in uneven coverage and, in the worst cases, blisters and sunburns, which are definitely neither sexy nor too good looking.

What we say: As much as we're proponents of sun exposure in moderation during the early or late hours of the day for the necessary production of the so important Vitamin D, this level of exposure is definitely not recommended.

At-Home Microneedling

Microneedling involves creating micro-injuries in the skin with tiny needles with the intention to trigger an immune response, with the purpose of stimulating collagen and elastin production. While many including dermatologist claim it can be effective as an anti-aging and to remove acne scars, the risks of infection, complications and scaring exist for both dermatologist performed or at home treatments. At-home microneedling tools are also very dull leaving jagged marks on the skin while spreading bacteria from pimples and breakouts to healthy areas.

What we say: Whether done by professionals or at home, this is a hard no for us.

DIY Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning, is a surgical cosmetic procedure performed by dermatologists, that involves using a scalpel-like blade to skim dead skin cells (exfoliation), smooth acne scars and fine lines, and remove facial — peach fuzz —hair.

DIY Dermaplaining tools are not as effective and attempts at removing the outer layer of skin by yourself can result in cuts, infections, and irritation. One key-point many including dermatologists fail to disclose, just like with brow waxing, once you start shaving your face you will have to do it for ever.

One of the beauties of being women, at least for most of us, is not having to shave our faces.

What we say: Not fans of shaving our legs, much less our faces, and definitely not fan of at-home scars. We leave this to the professionals.

Coffee Face Scrubs

As good Italians, we here at by valenti® love our coffee, but when it comes to the grounds even the finest ones, we agree they don't belong on our faces.

Coffee grounds, even the finest of powders are extremely abrasive and can cause micro-tears in the skin, leading to irritation, sensitization and infections that cam lead to permanent scaring, or that can potentially worsen skin conditions such as acne and dermatitis.

What we say: A flat out no for the face, but great to smooth feet, elbows and knees, and in your compost or around your hydrangeas.

Using Lube as a Primer

The #lubeprimer on TikTok has more than 10.6 millions views. Personal lubricants, are not designed for the face and may contain ingredients that irritate or clog pores. On top lube is intended to remain wet for longer. Anything mixed with it, like foundation might pill and cake, which is definitely a look no one wants to wear.

Opt for a dermatologist-recommended primer to ensure your makeup stays in place without harming your skin.

What we say: Nope! Definitely not!

Evaluating TikTok Beauty Trends and How to Stay Safe

Would you take medical advice from a mechanic? Then why would you take skincare advice from a bunch of TikTokers who have no proper credentials and are only looking to hoard likes and followers to achieve the oh sol elusive trendy status?

We humans are our worse enemies when it comes to following the advice of the masses, later left to seek medical attention to fix the problems later on.

Medical, health, skincare, and nutritional advise should be left to those who actually know what they're talking about, and have your best interest at hand, not only for those who seek the most likes and followers.

To determine whether a TikTok beauty trend is safe to try, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Consult with a Professional: Before attempting any extreme beauty trend, seek advice from a qualified dermatologist or skincare expert.
  2. Research Ingredients: Investigate the ingredients and potential side effects of products used in trends.
  3. Skin Type Awareness: Consider your skin type and any pre-existing health skin conditions before trying a new trend.
  4. Consistency Matters: Consistent skincare routines, rather than constantly changing products, are usually more effective.
  5. Trust Reliable Sources: Follow creators and influencers who prioritize safety, science-based information, and have a track record of responsible beauty advice.
While TikTok can be a valuable source of beauty tips and tricks, it's essential to exercise caution when attempting extreme trends. Consult with professionals, research products, and trust reliable sources to ensure that the trends you try are both effective and safe. Remember, not all trends are worth the risk, and don't forget your dermatologist and your family doctor are just one call away.
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