Navigating the realm of skincare advice on social media can be overwhelming. Online tips can range from harmless to not recommended to downright dangerous. Our board-certified dermatologists are shedding light on concerning trends that could jeopardize your skin’s well-being.
- At-Home Cosmetic Procedures: Just Say No
To avoid seeing a doctor for procedures, some people are looking to the internet for at-home alternatives. Performing cosmetic treatments at home, such as microneedling, injecting fillers, or using lasers for hair removal is strongly discouraged by our dermatologists. Here’s why.
- At-home microneedling (known as dermarolling) raises the risk of infections and improper techniques. When the improper technique is used, it can potentially cause permanent scarring and darkening of the skin.
- At-home Dermal Fillers. While a prescription is required to purchase dermal fillers in the U.S., some people are circumventing this by purchasing fillers online and from other countries, some with questionable ingredients. This is extremely dangerous. DIY facial filler can not only cause excruciating pain and lead to facial disfiguration, but can even result in death.
- At-home Laser Hair Removal. When it comes to laser hair removal, compared to professional devices, they are smaller, far less powerful, and are difficult to use over a large surface area, such as the leg.
Even if the cosmetic procedure you are performing on yourself seems safe, you can’t be certain the results being shown on social media are accurate. Don’t waste your money, and don’t risk your health and safety. See a trusted medical professional for any and all cosmetic procedures.
- Nasal Tanning Spray: Bad News
A troubling trend on social media is the use of nasal tanning spray in order to achieve a faster tan. The spray contains a synthetic substance called Melanotan II, colloquially referred to as the “Barbie drug.” Individuals claim that inhaling it and then sunbathing provides a lasting radiant complexion, but the associated health risks are substantial.
The interior lining of your nose is composed of mucosa, which lacks the same protective barrier as skin, allowing substances entering your nose to be absorbed into your bloodstream more rapidly. Upon entering the bloodstream, Melanotan II stimulates the natural production of melanin. This melanin allows your skin to tan more quickly and deeply than usual when exposed to sunlight. But inhaling the spray and then exposing your skin to the sun without protection increases the risk of skin cancer and premature aging as well as puts you at risk for troubling side effects and other possible long-term consequences. Melanotan II is not FDA-approved and is illegal to sell in all 50 U.S. states as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Still want a sun-kissed glow? Safer options include tanning lotions or spray tans applied to the skin. Tanning beds and sun exposure for tanning are never recommended by our dermatologists.
- Hot Peppers for Fuller Lips: An Unhealthy Hack
It’s not a surprise: full, luscious lips are the ideal. But using hot peppers to achieve fuller lips is potentially dangerous. The spicy sensation in red peppers is attributed to capsaicin, which when applied to the lips induces vasodilation, leading to heightened blood flow to the area. This transient boost in blood circulation creates the appearance of fuller lips, making them look redder and slightly plumper.
However, red pepper is a strong irritant and allergen. Directly applying it to the sensitive skin of the lips can result in severe allergic reactions, such as redness, swelling, itching, and potentially blistering. Individuals with pre-existing allergies or sensitive skin are especially susceptible to these adverse effects. The verdict from our doctors on hot peppers for plumper lips is clear: it’s not a good idea.
Don’t Risk Your Skin
While influencer recommendations may look tempting, don’t make your skin a testing ground for online trends, hacks, and work-arounds. It’s not worth it. For expert guidance on cosmetic procedures and overall skincare, consult one of our board-certified dermatologists. Your skin deserves to stay healthy and radiant, now and in the future!