By Sarah Kinonen. Photos: Getty Images.
Ah, Reddit. It's one of our favorite places to get lost on the Internet. No matter what we're searching for — or happen to randomly stumble upon — there's always something totally fascinating (hello, dislodged microbead) and straight-up strange (like these questionable makeup hacks) to discover. Take, for instance, our latest find: a subReddit thread filled with wacky, weird, and slightly disturbing skin-care tricks and tips.
But because there were so problematic hacks that left us looking more like the hand on the chin emoji, we phoned a friend. Well, not so much a "friend" as an actual expert in the field. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, have us some helpful insight for a little DIY-debunking backup. Here, he breaks down the top six controversial tips from Reddit users.
Using tears to clear up breakouts.
"I remember reading on tumblr something about tears clearing up skin (like four years ago) and to this day I still rub my tears all over my face every time I cry. I have no clue if it actually does anything." —space6dog
"Tears to serve a physiological function to keep the eyes lubricated and to prevent infections," explains Zeichner. But can slathering the salty droplets onto your skin help clear up breakouts? All signs point to no, unfortunately. "While rubbing your tears onto your face may give some mild hydrating benefits, the effect is likely minimal compared to that of traditional moisturizers," he says. "Tears contain enzymes that kill microorganisms on the skin and minimize the risk of developing an infection, however, it likely will do little to lower levels of acne-causing bacteria on the skin as the bacteria lives deep within the oily environment of the follicle."
Using cooking oils (olive, vegetable etc.) as facial moisturizers.
"Honestly when I first found this sub I thought the idea of putting oils (especially ones that you traditionally cook with!) and Vaseline on your face was insane. I'm sure to those not familiar with skincare those seem like dubious quirky 'hacks' ha." —zeddoh
While it's true that natural fats found in oils help coat, soothe, and hydrate the skin, says Zeichner, we're going to have to ask you to not slather on the same oil you roast your veggies in onto your face, please and thank you.
Using ear wax a primer.
"The other one was using ear wax as a mother fucking primer. 'Oh but its organic and my own body makes it so it must be great for smoothing out pores and treating acne.'" —emcoppa
Although wax substances help absorb oil and are commonly found in makeup primers, this "hack" is a little over-the-top — and luckily, Zeichner agrees. "While earwax is natural, I personally would recommend sticking to products specifically formulated to prime the skin," he says. "Even with significant wax build up in the here, there likely will not even be enough to cover the entire face!" Plus, talk about the ewww factor!
Using breast milk as face mask.
"Made a breastmilk mask yesterday! We discussed it in the DIY thread. Greek yogurt, breastmilk, honey, and turmeric. It was lovely!" —BathT1m3
Just as we suspected, this hack is questionable — even to the experts. Says Zeichner: "While breast milk contains proteins that may code and see with the skin, it is unclear whether it provides any significant benefit on the skin." Yeah, we think it's best to leave breast milk for the babies.
Using watermelon rinds to moisturize skin.
"Sometimes when we eat watermelons, my mom will put the wet part of the peel (the part where you stop eating because it turns white and crunchy) on her face and rub it all over it to cut it on melon peel juice. I've done it as a kid because she always says it's good for your skin, but it was always just sticky. My mom also religiously believes in weird TCM myths, though." —kurashiki
Surprisingly, this fruit-filled trick isn't too far off. Because of its large water content, watermelon is highly moisturizing, says Zeichner, and because it's rich in antioxidants and minerals, it's been known to reduce inflammation. "Lycopene is a specific antioxidant found in the red pulp of watermelon and has demonstrated potent antioxidant effects," he explains. "Any benefit that watermelon would provide would come from the red fruit rather than the rind."
Using toothpaste as a spot treatment.
"[Putting] toothpaste on acne." —tpd19
The Internet seems to believe that dabbing a dollop of minty paste onto blemishes can cure inflamed flareups overnight. Problem is, the hack is a bit outdated, as the acne-clearing (and highly controversial) ingredient, called triclosan, isn't actually formulated in most toothpastes today.
"Triclosan was used to help treat acne because it killed acne-causing bacteria, while subsequently reduce inflammation," says Zeichner. "Currently, almost no toothpaste contain triclosan. While it may still be used to treat pimples, it's likely due to its ability to dry out a pimple directly." So, while it may work (emphasis on may) to clear up redness, we recommend skipping this trick for fear of drying out your skin — and reaching for one of these Allure editor-approved picks instead.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
More from Allure: