TikTok skincare trends have become popular over the course of the pandemic as people have been spending more time at home than usual. While some videos provide helpful reviews and tips, there are some that can be misleading.
Megan Routt, a registered nurse at Derma Health Skin & Laser, said do-it-yourself (DIY) skincare has been trending on TikTok because quality skincare can be hard to come across.
“There are over four million views when you look up #DIYskincare on TikTok,” Routt said. “A Millennial isn’t going to see a dermatologist unless they’ve had specific skin conditions, so easy ways for Millennials to seek out treatments is searching online and finding hashtags on social media with acne being the most common.”
Although some DIY skincare tips and tricks are helpful, Routt said she has seen lots of people using products on their face that they think are safe, but can be harmful when applied to your skin. For example, she cites citrus fruits as a product people are using that they think is safe because they can eat it.
“Our stomach acids break down a lot of the acidic enzymes that are in these acidic fruits, therefore it’s not the same as if you put it on your skin because your skin doesn’t necessarily have a lot of these enzymes,” Routt said. “Just like our intestines have the ability to extract out nutrients from these particular foods, our skin does not have those same components, therefore when you apply those to your skin topically, you can irritate your skin or potentially burn it, or harm your skin and produce more bad than good.”
Routt said people are using coffee grounds on their skin, which can be harmful because people see ingredients such as caffeine extract and think coffee grounds are an appropriate substitute to exfoliate their skin. “Again, our skin doesn’t have the ability to break down these enzymes so when you put them directly on the skin they’re very potent and harsh, and if you have inflammation on the skin and you exfoliate it with something like coffee grounds, you’re going to exfoliate it too hard, so a store-bought product to use instead that exfoliates would be St. Ives Apricot Scrub.”
If people see a trend on TikTok and want to try it out, Routt suggests using natural products that are safe to use at home, including Aloe Vera. “A lot of us have access to Aloe Vera in Arizona, as they grow naturally in our environment and a lot of people have an Aloe Vera plant in their backyard or in their home,” Routt said. “It’s a very safe product to use on the skin, it’s hydrating and soothing—you can use it as a hydrating mask too. I also suggest steam; use a steamer if you have one or even a damp washcloth and apply it directly over the face to open up the pores and release congestion and exfoliate afterwards.”
In addition to using pantry and fridge at-home products like ground oats, apple cider vinegar, egg whites and lemon juice to make masks, tools such as jade rollers, facial steamers and facial toning devices are becoming more popular in the beauty and skincare industry, which Routt said help keep your skin healthy without causing injury.
Using a jade roller, Routt said you can do a Gua Sha massage, which is a Chinese facial massage method that involves using the roller on certain areas of your face to stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage, which helps with fine lines and wrinkles. Routt said this method is used by med spas because it allows serums and products to absorb deeper into the skin.
If TikTok members want to buy products, Routt recommends looking for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which can hold a thousand times its weight in water so it’s great for hydration and is mild and gentle; and salicylic acid is beneficial too which helps heal acne and can be purchased over the counter.
If users want to create skincare review or tutorial videos on TikTok, Routt recommends they mention they’ve learned these helpful tips and tricks personally and they are individual based on your experience, in addition to, “saying that if you have any sort of irritation to the skin, don’t do any at home treatments and seek help from a licensed professional, because a lot of people with acne and rosacea end up doing at home treatments because they don’t know where to turn and it results in more harm than good.”
Many skincare specialists, like Derma Health Skin & Laser have licensed professionals who can assist with treatment options for skin conditions or irritations. Routt says a visit to a med spa doesn’t mean the products are going to be expensive.
“Derma Health Skin and Laser has cleansers that are $20 and some as low as $5,” Routt said. “So seeing the right professional is important and getting a free consultation, we also do virtual consultations where we can look at your skin and we also have an online shopping platform where you can order your products and have it delivered within 48 hours.”
While the largely female-dominant beauty industry has made strides for more inclusivity for men, including marketing more products towards men and men becoming influencers on social media, Routt said men can benefit from a skincare routine as well.
“There’s a lot of products out there geared toward men and we use Skin Script, which is an all-natural skincare line and they have a charcoal mask and a bourbon enzyme so they can attest to those male trends that have these more musky, manly scents to go along with it. But I think a lot of men now it’s less stereotypical, it’s becoming more common and prominent amongst the male community when it comes to skincare.”
Routt thinks the skincare influencer trend will continue as more Millennials in their 30’s are seeking preventative treatment and will be seeking out skincare tips and tricks.
“My hope in all of this is that when a person of influence decides to post a video talking about skincare, at-home skincare or certain endorsements, that they take that endorsement very seriously to their heart,” Routt said. “Consider if this is a company or brand that can be universal to everybody, because what you don’t want is products that certain skin types can’t use and you’re endorsing it and you’re potentially causing a problem.”
“I know a lot of influencers do services and treatments for their skin, so I don’t want them to portray the message that ‘this product is going to make you look like me’ when there’s so much behind it as well like facials, lasers, Botox and fillers,” Routt said. “So I hope that if you are at a level that people look up to, that you’re being honest and transparent about what you personally do to look the way you do, along with endorsing products that you personally use, not necessarily for advertisement or financial gain.”