DIY Skincare Scaries
With Halloween just around the corner I wanted to talk about some spooky DIY skincare trends that have become pretty popular and why they may not be the best thing for your skin!
People have been using baking soda as a face scrub to control excess and treat acne. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, baking soda is alkaline with a pH 9 while the skin is normally acidic with a pH 4.7-5.4, due to the acid mantle. This acid mantle is comprised of lipids, amino acids and a microbiome to create a healthy skin barrier. When introducing a highly alkaline product to your skin it can disrupt the acid mantle and destroy the skin’s protective barrier. The drying effect of baking soda can make wrinkles more prominent, potentially cause an overproduction of oil to compensate for having the natural oils stripped and create chronic inflammation as the skin no longer has a defence system against environmental aggressors. If you need to treat acne or control excess oil there are safer, more gentle methods found in skincare products that will also maintain the health of your skin barrier.
Alternatives to Baking Soda
There are a lot of DIY skincare recipes that include the use of lemon juice. People believe lemon juice is helpful in exfoliating the skin, brightening dark spots, fading acne scars and reducing wrinkles. This is due to a few key ingredients found in lemon juice including, ascorbic acid, citrus acid and niacin. The dosage of these ingredients is too low and can vary based on the ripeness and storage. This does not make a very effective product in comparison to a skincare product. There are also some scary side effects to using lemon juice. In citrus fruit, there are phototoxic chemicals called psoralens that when on the skin react with UV rays and cause blistering (phytophotodermatitis), hyperpigmentation and cell death. Additionally, the low pH level (pH 2) has been found to have a toxic reaction in the skin causing hypo-pigmentation, leaving areas that now lack pigment (chemical leukoderma). It is a lot safer to use skincare products that are formulated in a specific way to not create harm or side effects. Formulation and delivery methods matter when it comes to healing the skin and keeping it healthy.
Alternatives to Lemon Juice
Blackheads can be very stubborn and sometimes difficult to manage, often times people will look for a quick solution. Enter pore stripes, a small strip that covers the top of the nose with adhesive to stick to the oil, dead skin and blackheads. As the strip is removed so are the blackheads and other debris trapped in the pore. However, the majority of the time what is being removed from the nose is sebaceous filaments, not blackheads. These sebaceous filaments are a natural and necessary component of the skin and are found on everyone’s nose. Unlike blackheads, they are uniform in size, beige and long in structure and will reappear in 5 days after being extracted. The adhesive on the pore strip often contains alcohol and astringents which can over-dry the skin and damage the skin barrier. The quick motion of ripping the strip off can cause trauma to the nose, breaking down the integrity of the pore wall which can stretch and enlarge the pore and create visible capillaries. There are safer and more gentle methods to treating blackheads such as double cleansing to remove the buildup of oil, debris and pollutants that can clog the pores, and using oil-controlling ingredients such as niacinamide and salicylic acid.
Alternatives to Pore Strips
When it comes to hydrating the skin, coconut oil has been a staple for a lot of people as it acts as an emollient to fill in the cracks in the skin and has a high free fatty acid content to help strengthen the skin barrier and prevent trans-epidermal water loss. However, it is not recommended for everyone as it has a high comedogenic rating, meaning it can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts. If you are prone to breakouts but still want hydration there are oils lower on the comedogenic scale such as jojoba oil and apricot oil. Again, when it comes to skincare products they are specifically formulated for the skin so any pore-clogging properties of an ingredient can be processed out, allowing the individual to get the benefits of the ingredient without the side effects.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
In an effort to improve immunity, digestion and weight, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been recommended as an internal supplement. Among DIYers, it has also been praised as a great toner for the skin, claiming it can help balance the skin’s pH, exfoliate, lighten pigmentation and fight bacteria that are causing acne. Apple cider vinegar has a few ingredients that are often used to address skin concerns, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid and vitamin B (niacin). These ingredients have been used in skincare products to brighten the skin, exfoliate and manage oil to prevent breakouts. Despite these ingredients, ACV has a low pH (pH 2-3) making it very acidic in comparison to the skin’s pH (pH 4.7 – 5.4) which means it will not balance the pH but actually disrupt the function of the skin barrier and potentially cause irritation or worse, a chemical burn. It will kill the bacteria causing acne but it will also kill the good bacteria that make up the skin microbiome. It is very important to maintain the integrity and health of the skin barrier and the microbiome. Using highly acidic or highly alkaline household products or foods can create more damage than good.
Alternatives to Apple Cider Vinegar
DIY skincare recipes can be very tempting to use due to their lower price point and easier access, however, the damage that can occur will often cost you more in the long run to treat than if you had used specifically formulated skincare products in the first place. If you need help choosing products for your skin concerns visit the spa or book a complimentary skincare analysis with one of our highly trained estheticians.