We’re all for trying out new things for the sake of beauty, but there comes a time when the experiment may have gone just a step to far. Case in point: beauty blogger Farah Dhukai’s latest post on Instagram, which shows her using wasabi to get rid of whiteheads in less than two minutes without popping them.
In the short video, Dhukai shows an up close and personal shot of a small whitehead on her cheek to which she applies wasabi from a tube to a Q-tip. Instructing to use it as a spot treatment and leave it on for no more than two minutes, and not applying it to your entire face, is her secret to blasting breakouts.
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After removing the wasabi with another clean Q-tip, we couldn’t help but notice that the treated areas were a bit red. And from the looks of it (in the photo she shows the next day), the whitehead is completely gone.
So, how does it work? Well, Dhukai says on her Instagram page that, “Spicy ingredients, like wasabi, are antibacterial and a pimple's worst enemy because they're packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium and phytochemicals that help strengthen antioxidants in your body. They stimulate and increase circulation in your skin, so when you apply them topically, they help instantly heal whiteheads and generate clear, soft, smooth, healthy skin.”
We had to set the record straight on this one and asked Charlotte, NC, dermatologist Gilly Munavalli, MD, for his opinion.
“There are a few potential risks you need to consider before applying wasabi to your skin. Wasabi comes from the Brassicacae plant family along with other crucifers. It is notoriously difficult to grow in the United States, and as a result, is often substituted with horseradish and green dye,” he says. “Regardless of whether its the real thing or not, I would definitely recommend exercising caution around the mucous membranes, especially the eyes. Think about when you eat wasabi with sushi—the potent paste often clears the nasal passages.”
He goes on to say that while wasabi does contain vitamin C and is supposedly known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which could possibly give credence to this idea of using it to treat whiteheads, if you buy it in the U.S., its likely not real wasabi root. Miami dermatologist Janice Lima Maribona, MD, adds that while wasabi is rich in niacin and other actives, if you were to use it on your skin, you should first spot-treat an area that is not visible. "It can cause (I'm sure) hyperpigmentation if it's too irritating to the skin or if it's left on for too long."
“There are so many FDA-approved products available that are tested and formulated especially for skin, so why would you slather it on your face and risk irritation, inflammation, discomfort and/or an allergic reaction? There are so many better, proven options available...why roll the dice with your skin?" says Dr. Munavalli.