6 DIY skincare ingredients to avoid (and one we recommend)
Quarantine life has given us so much more time at home, inspiring us to try our hand in a variety of DIY projects, from sourdough baking to skincare. DIY skincare is becoming increasingly popular and can seem like a great idea when you unexpectedly run out of your favorite products, but proceed with caution. Many of the DIY beauty recipes you’ll find online include ingredients that have the potential to create more problems than they solve. These are the top homemade skincare ingredients to avoid:
Lemon juice is one of the most popular DIY skincare ingredients but also one of the riskiest! Recipes which include lemon juice claim that it can help fade dark spots and work as a natural astringent, however it can do far more harm than good.
Your skin has a natural protective moisture barrier which helps to defend delicate facial tissue from harmful bacteria and other pollutants. This barrier functions best at a slightly acidic pH of between 4 and 6.5 and is also referred to as the skin’s ‘acid mantle’. Lemon juice is highly acidic with a pH of around 2, so it can throw your skin’s acid mantle off balance. This can lead to dehydration, burns and even phytophotodermatitis, an inflammatory response which causes hyperpigmentation and blisters in sun-exposed skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar, otherwise known as ACV, is often touted as a miracle cure-all online, but be extremely wary of recommendations for using it as a toner – even when diluted. If the smell isn’t enough to put you off, vinegar can be harmful for the same reasons that lemon juice is – because it is highly acidic and can disrupt your skin’s natural acid mantle, leading to dehydration, irritation and even burns.
Baking soda belongs in banana bread – not on your face. On the other end of the scale, ingredients with pH that’s too low will also disrupt your skin’s natural balance and leave you with skin’s that’s too basic (!) This can also lead to irritation and potentially allows harmful bacteria to flourish, exacerbating breakouts.
An age-old DIY beauty trick, applying toothpaste to pimples overnight is said to dry them out by the morning. Although this could yield results, as your toothpaste is likely to include acne-busting ingredients such as antimicrobial triclosan, it can also cause irritation and even scarring. Fluoride - which has been linked to causing acne, drying alcohols and irritating hydrogen peroxide are also common ingredients in most toothpastes so there is potential for irritation and scarring. Don’t risk it – keep the CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch on hand instead.
Eggs are a common feature in Korean skincare products as well as homemade facemask recipes, as they are said to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of pores. According to experts, however, eggs are more likely to cause dehydration – thanks to the albumin protein’s astringent effect. Although rare, it’s also possible to contract a salmonella skin infection by applying raw eggs directly to the skin, so it might be best to just save them for breakfast.
Coconut oil is an ever-popular natural remedy which is said to have numerous health and beauty benefits. While we love coconut oil for its deeply nourishing qualities, it’s best saved for use on hair and body. Although it features regularly in DIY beauty recommendations, including for use as a make-up remover or moisturizer, the truth is that coconut oil can be very comedogenic. If your skin is even slightly blemish or congestion-prone, it’s best to avoid using coconut oil on your face.
The DIY beauty tip we recommend: rosewater
An age-old beauty remedy, rosewater is created by distilling rose petals with steam. Rosewater is a multi-tasking hero ingredient with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. It helps restore moisture and combat redness in all skin types and is ideal for use as a toner. Just make sure you’re using the real thing to avoid irritation – look out for 100% pure and fragrance-free natural rosewater.