An Expert Rates 5 TikTok Skincare Trends From Genius to Seriously Dangerous

tiktok skincare trendstiktok skincare trends

As a dermal therapist, I always find it a little concerning when someone starts a sentence with, "I saw this skincare trend on TikTok..."

Why? Because people are genuinely filming themselves doing silly things like applying their serums backwards and sticking potato skins to their faces, and calling it education.

Don't get me wrong, I love how skin care has boomed online, and once you wade through some of the videos that simply must be a joke (right??), TikTok is proving great for short, educational titbits of information that are quick and easy to follow.

Plus, I love how consumers want to understand the science behind skin care so they’re not wasting their money. Skin care can often feel intimidating and overwhelming, so I'm all for anything that makes skin care more accessible.

But... there’s also a tonne of crap on TikTok. The truth is, there is a lot of scary and concerning skin health misinformation out there. And when it goes viral, it's terrifying.

At best, a 30-second video of someone dancing and pointing to ingredients is a starting point, but it'll never beat a proper skin analysis and consultation with a skin professional. Worst case scenario? You follow a random person's advice and end up doing some serious damage.

So, let’s break down some popular TikTok trends and whether there's any substance to them.

Best & Worst TikTok Skincare Trends.

1. Rubbing Potatoes on Your Pimples.

First cab off the rank is videos like this one of people taping cut up bits of raw potatoes to their faces.

I'd prefer a nice crunchy roasted potato or maybe even a chip, but you do you.

Here's what we know:

Potatoes contain an enzyme called catecholase, which people believe can get rid of dark spots and brighten the skin, and cytokines, a group of signalling molecules that regulate immunity, inflammation and haematopoiesis, and may play a role in acne management. There was also a study on mice that found potato skins had an anti-inflammatory affect.

That said, the ins and outs aren't fully known, so the evidence is shady. While it’s very entertaining to watch people sticky tape potato skins to their face instead of using their skin care, I’d stick to a salicylic acid treatment like Aspect Stop Spot 8ml for acne, as they have been scientifically-proven to work.

2. Making Your Own Baking Soda Mask.

Next up, we haaaaaaaave... people making their own exfoliating and acne masks with bicarb soda (also known as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate).

Please just don’t do this.

Applying bicarb soda to your skin can remove protective oils and leave you irritated. Bicarb soda when mixed with water has a pH of around 8 and your skin naturally falls somewhere between a pH of 4.5-6. This means you will disrupt your skin’s acid mantle and affect the integrity of your skin barrier.

If you have acne, you’re likely to have issues with your skin barrier anyway, so this will make things worse.

I’d opt for a properly formulated clay mask like innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 100ml instead.

3. Slugging.

Slugging isn't new, but I’m into this resurging trend.

It was initially made popular in the k-beauty world, and is all about sealing in your skin care using a petrolatum product like Vaseline all over your face before bed (to make you look like a slimy human-esque slug).

You only need a tiny bit, though, and you will wake up with super soft, hydrated skin – and yes, this isn’t just hype.

Dermatologists have been prescribing petrolatum for dry, eczema-prone skin for years so it is safe to try. Aquaphor is another popular brand to use as it’s primarily occlusive and can also provide your skin with a protective barrier so it can repair itself.

Try it if you’re experiencing dry/dehydrated skin. However, if you’re oily or acne-prone, it’s possible this trend could be too occlusive and trigger breakouts, so might be best to avoid.

4. Hydrocolloid Bandaids to Shrink Pimples.

You know those huge wound-healing squishy bandaids you can put on blisters? Now, people are putting them on their skin to heal blemishes.

Warning: Subjectively gross pimple content ahead...


TW: taking off gross bandages. Part 2 ##hydrocolloidbandages

♬ original sound - May Sanders

The premise behind trend is applying hydrocolloid bandages to pimples to shrink them overnight. As far as trends go, this one is OK.

Hydrocolloid bandages were created to absorb fluid from superficial wounds and they’re occlusive, so they can protect your skin by not letting anything in. So you can see how using a small bandage might benefit acne by helping to pull additional fluid out of an angry pimple.

However, these patches weren’t made for acne, especially not the huge foot blister ones people are layering over their entire face. They also look seriously painful to remove as they'll take all your peach fuzz facial hair off with them. If you are keen to try this trend, opt for the really small bandages or cut larger ones to size, and only apply on an actual spot.

The better option? Pimple patches like the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch that have been made using the same hydrocolloid technology, and even micro-dart technology too, to help shrink angry pimples overnight. They also contain beneficial ingredients such as salicylic acid. Winning.

5. Sunscreen Contouring.

Let's not even embed this particular TikTok trend because 'sunscreen contouring' - whatever the heck that is - is a hard no.

Using this so-called 'sunscreen hack' to 'naturally contour' or #sunscreencontour areas of your face is so incredibly dangerous. It will damage the appearance of your skin, but most importantly, could even lead to skin cancer. Do not do this. Instead, please watch this delightful video of Tina Toner serving SPF facts.


Tina Toner serving SPF facts 💁🏻‍♀️ *Always follow directions for use and/or consult a medical professional; advice provided is general.

♬ original sound - Adore Beauty

The only safe tan is a fake one from a bottle, and there are so many amazing self tan AND bronzer/contouring makeup products available now, so there's no need for this. At all.

No excuses, slip slop slap! Please apply sunscreen to your whole face, not only to the areas you would highlight. Seek shade, wear protective clothing and reapply sunscreen as directed. Always read the label and follow directions for use. You know the drill.

Rant over.

For educational beauty content that's entertaining AND factually-correct, follow Adore Beauty on TikTok @adorebeauty. You can also watch Adore Beauty staffer Megan try TikTok beauty hacks in our YouTube video below!

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