Dolphin skin, CeraVe, using socks to curl your hair… TikTok has both the best and worst of all the beauty hacks the internet has to offer. And with almost 700 million users, there’s a lot of information circulating, some of which might be more reliable than others. So, in the name of safe and happy skin, we consulted a panel of experts from across the industry to give their professional two cents on whether SkinTok’s latest viral skincare trends are facts or frauds.
The hack: Hydrocolloid plasters on acne
Explained: TikToker’s have been using over-the-counter medical hydrocolloid bandages to combat acne, which are traditionally used in medicine as wound-covers. Essentially, they’re great at drawing out any puss, creating a protective layer over the skin, flattening spots faster and reducing redness. The alleged perks? Speeding up the healing process and preventing long-term scarring.
The facts: “Hydrocolloids have been around for centuries and are backed by innumerable clinical trials. They essentially create a protective seal over the affected area while absorbing excess fluid. We love hydrocolloids at ZitSticka, which is why we actually have two hydrocolloid-based products, one of which we launched last week! GOO GETTER and FACE MAP, however, are not your average hydrocolloid patches you see in this TikTok trend. Both products actually contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide, tea tree and vitamin C.
“We recommend using GOO GETTER for individual zits and FACE MAP for those larger clusters of zits and oily skin. While the hydrocolloid plasters shouldn’t do any harm, they’re not tailored to specific skincare concerns and they may cause your skin to react or become irritable.” Daniel Kaplan, Co-Founder of ZitSticka
The verdict: Hydrocolloids do in fact work, but make sure you’re using patches specifically designed for skincare.
The hack: Skin icing
Explained: Skin icing is a new trend that promises glowy skin, racking up millions of views on TikTok. It does what it says on the tin: you basically massage ice cubes into your face. The ice purportedly tightens and contracts the skin, reportedly leaving the skin sculpted and plump with a windswept glow.
The facts: “Skin icing may be bad for you, as although applying ice on the face isn’t harmful, repeating the process for a longer duration can be damaging to the skin and even lead to burns. It can cause rashes on the face and lips, as well as itching and redness on the skin. It’s best to try the technique with a cloth or tissue around the ice cube, as if used directly on the skin, it can cause frost bites, resulting in dead skin cells. After the procedure, the pores on your skin may also get narrow, leading to a delay in the secretion of sweat and sebaceous glands. I would recommend thoroughly researching your specific skin type and needs before testing skincare techniques and discontinuing use if irritation occurs.” Waleed Taleb, an aesthetician at Vera Clinic.
The verdict: Try the hack with caution – or perhaps not at all.
The hack: Dermaplaning
Explained: Dermaplaning is a recent viral trend that involves scraping a small blade across the surface of the skin for exfoliation and to remove thin hairs (peach fuzz), giving you an instantly smooth finish.
The facts: “There is minimal scientific evidence backing up dermaplaning for any skin benefit.In addition, this treatment is normalised for at home and consistent use, but repeated use can have negative consequences for the skin barrier, leaving skin sensitive to UV radiation, free radical damage, inflammation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.” Dermoi’s Chief Scientific Officer, Eve Casha
The verdict: Put down the blade. Now.
The hack: Face taping instead of botox
Explained: TikTokers have been using hardware store-style sellotape to recreate the effect of botox at home. It’s so popular that the hashtag #facetape currently has 1.85million views. While tapes have long been used in drag and queer communities to give a “snatched” look when used with makeup, the new suggestion is that applying the tape overnight on your forehead to limit facial movement and expression on consecutive days will give similar, more permenant results to botox. Seemingly, after four to five days, skin influencers are seeing a reduction in movement and fine lines.
The facts: “Face taping cannot replace botox and is not an effective way of removing wrinkles because you can continue to use your muscles when wearing the tape on your face. The results are seen in some videos because the tape can cause swelling due to allergic reactions, and the swelling smooths the wrinkles. Face taping can also be harmful to the skin, and the fraction of tape can lead to allergic reactions and eczema.” Dr Elif Benar, dermatologist and founder of Dr Elif Clinic
The verdict: Don’t tape it till you make it…
The Hack: Reverse skincare
Explained: Spurned into trending hashtags by TikToker @glowwithava, this hack is for people suffering with dry skin. Essentially, Ava recommends that you reverse your whole skincare routine, beginning with applying your moisturiser as a kind of thick face mask (usually the last step) followed by toning…
The facts: “As a general rule, moisturiser should be applied after toner and facial serums. This is because the consistency of the product is much thicker. If you put a toner on after the moisturiser, it will sit on the surface of the skin. With skincare products, you always apply the lightest product first, followed by heavier products such as moisturisers, balms and oils. Reversing the order won’t have any long term benefits to the skin. It may look more hydrated, but that will be due to the layers of the products.” Claire Williams, skin expert and founder of WOW Facial.
The verdict: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Save that moisturiser for last!