Creating your own skin care concoctions is a fun project, but requires some due diligence – there are plenty of dangerous DIY skincare myths out there. Before you go throwing everything but the kitchen sink into an organic face mask mixture, it’s important to understand which ingredients do more harm than good. Skin is a sensitive organ, composed of protective barriers that keep acne and free radicles at bay while producing moisture for younger-looking skin. Stripping skin of it’s necessary protective layers through harsh, albeit natural and inexpensive components, is not recommended.
Unfortunately, many of the most damaging ingredients are commonly found in do-it-yourself (DIY) skincare recipes seen across the web. For a safer skincare routine, omit the following items from your next DIY:
The surface of skin is slightly acidic with a pH of 4 to 5, protecting it against environmental pollutants and bacteria. The oil-producing sebaceous glands lie beneath the skin’s epidermis – or outer layer – and allow your skin to maintain moisture and glow. Lemons are highly acidic at a pH level 2. When lemon juice contacts the skin, the harsh acids strip the outer layer. While this process is said to help with exfoliation, mimicking a chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment, acidic treatments are not safe to try at home. Often, the skin’s surface is left raw and reddened without the proper safety tools and post-treatment care. Just as lemon juice burns your eyes, it burns your facial skin. Plus, citrus oils can be phototoxic. If the sun hits your face while wearing a lemon-based treatment, you may be left with chemical burns. Obagi’s Clear lightening product from the Nu-Derm line is a better alternative, offering power-packed hydroquinone to lighten sun and age spots without damaging skin. If you prefer to mix your own blend, mix plain yogurt with pineapple for a mellower, inexpensive lightening treatment.
Every puberty-ridden teenager has heard of the toothpaste trick: just dab a little paste on to a budding zit and make it go away overnight! While the efficacy of toothpaste on inflamed pimples isn’t formally substantiated, it doesn’t make much sense. Toothpastes have a highly basic pH level, altering the skin’s natural acid composition. The acids on your skin actually keep pimples away, so creating a more basic environment is the last thing you want to do for a breakout. Plus, the minty flavors are too strong for sensitive skin, leading to redness and irritation. If you want to go organic for pimple eradication, consider diluted tea tree oil. While hormonal acne is virtually unavoidable, drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet low in sugar can minimize blackheads and zits.
Baking soda as a natural exfoliator has been touted for decades – even before Pinterest was introduced to the DIY world. The scrubby particles in baking soda are too harsh for skin’s surface. Plus, baking soda is another basic substance that alters skin’s acidity and protection.
Sugar is even harsher than baking soda given its rigid composition and sharp edges on each particle. Sugar used as an exfoliator instigates scratching and irritation. While skin may seem smoother at first, eventually it damages and takes a long time to heal – prolonged depending on your age. Instead, use a microfiber cloth to gently scrub away dead skin cells. Or, consider Exfoderm from world-renowned beauty and skincare expert Obagi. This lightweight lotion lightly tackles dull cells on the epidermis while promoting turnover for a fresher face.
You can be smart about your DIY ventures, as long as you know how your skin works and which ingredients help it thrive. Still, it’s best to have a skin evaluation from an aesthetic dermatologist to assess skin irregularities before you try and combat them alone. To schedule a consultation with the highly experienced Miami dermatologist, Dr. Mariano Busso, call us directly at 305-857-0144.