From the newest moisturizer to ancient skincare hack, #SkinTok is an endless source of skincare knowledge—ranging from the popular to the obscure. With over 5.1 billion views and growing, #SkinTok has more than a cult following surrounding the videos teaching steps to sparkly, glowing skin.
And yet, while SkinTok is a great place to educate oneself on new trends and information, dermatologists are quick to point out the potential harm in SkinTok’s viral following. While some trends (such as icing) are benign, others like dermaplaning and chemical peeling can have serious skincare implications. As the Wall Street Journal Points out in their article “Is TikTok Helping or Hurting Our Skin,” TikTok’s biggest missed opportunity is its lack of nuance and need to present any real credentials before going viral on the app. Shock value, such as a viral bologna skincare routine, will often garner more likes, comments, and shares compared to a well-researched and thoughtful presentation of the ways to actually heal skin.
Looking to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction? Read on to discover SkinTok trends ranked from worst to best.
What It Is: The act of using small razors to get rid of the top layer of your skin and the small hairs along with it. Dermaplaning grew in popularity to shave the tiny hairs off one’s face and exfoliate the skin. TikTokers can watch satisfying videos of light rows of hair peeling off the face, leaving a glowing and fuzz-free face underneath.
Does It Work? Not only can dermaplaning potentially cause scarring and dyspigmentation when performed incorrectly, but it also removes a crucial layer of skin for skin health. According to Self magazine, those peach fuzz hairs, called vellus hairs, add an important layer of protection to the skin. When removed, skin becomes more susceptible to sun sensitivity and wind up leading to thicker, darker re-growth.
With TikTok encouraging at-home dermaplaning, dermatologists warn that non-medical blades will not be as sharp or precise as the types used for dermaplaning by an actual dermatologist, which could cause scarring or infection. While dermaplaning can be effective for some, take this advice with a grain of salt.
Frozen Cucumber Trend/Skin Icing
What It Is: Cucumbers are now good for more than just salad or pickling, according to TikTok’s 5.3 million and counting #frozencucumber hashtag views. Popular SkinTokers are now seen freezing cucumbers and rubbing the frozen vegetable all across their face for hydration, reduced pore size, and smaller eye bags. It’s a subtle twist on skin icing that’s supposed to yield glowing results, but does it add any additional benefits compared to ice?
Does It Work? Skin icing, in general, is hotly contested in the world of dermatology. While some see it as a form of cryotherapy to help sooth puffiness and exfoliate, others warn it can lead to burns and rashes when done improperly, due to the harshness of the cold ice. In terms of the cucumber aspect, Grazia skin expert notes that cucumbers are high in B vitamins, Calcium, and Vitamin C, all of which help with holding hydration into the skin. The overall consensus? While frozen cucumbers may not transform your skin, it doesn’t hurt to try.
What It Is: Contrary to the name, SkinTok’s newest skincare craze has nothing to do with the wormlike animals that live in your garden.
Slugging, instead, is the process of slathering one’s face with Vaseline for K-beauty worthy skin that is glassy and clean. TikTokers can be seen coating their face with petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) before bed and waking up with newly glowing skin. This practice has been used by the Native American Seneca tribe dating back to the 15th century and by Black women for generations. As a common household item, Vaseline is accessible and affordable for all those looking to elevate their skincare.
Does It Work? In spite of the common adversity between SkinTokers and dermatologists, slugging seems to be one of the few trends both can agree on. According to New York dermatologist, Joshua Zeichner, Vaseline acts as a skin protectant and barrier, helping protect skin from dirt and bacteria as well as prevent water loss. For those interested in testing slugging out, Zeichner recommends using a pea sized scoop on your entire face right before bed. [Editor’s note: Petrolatum is a byproduct of the oil industry.]
What It Is: Don’t let the name fool you—hyaluronic acid is far from the traditional burning sensation you think of when you hear the word ‘acid.’ 100% natural, hyaluronic acid is a gooey substance naturally produced by the body in order to moisturize, lubricate, and hydrate. As a humectant (aka a substance that retains moisture), hyaluronic acid can bind one one thousand times its weight in water, naturally minimizing wrinkles and adding a bouncy quality to the skin.
Does It Work? Yes! Take in supplement or injection form or apply as a serum, ointment, cream, drops or gel directly onto your skin for supple results. According to Harvard Health, best results can be seen via fillers, given that topical skincare only provides hydration on the surface level. Try a serum for yourself here.
Should You Follow SkinTok For Skin Care Hacks?
An important note regarding SkinTok is that everyone’s skin is entirely unique.
SkinTok critics are quick to note the lack of BIPOC representation within SkinTok—leading some SkinTok trends to have negative results on BIPOC followers with melanated skin. Ultimately, viewers should take SkinTok for what it is—a hashtag made for viral entertainment with fun tips and tricks.
For true dermatological advice, seek a medical expert for how to best care for your own skin.
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