Myths and misconceptions about natural skincare products

While DIY face masks and homemade skincare remedies have become more popular, some of their benefits are not backed by enough research. Although they’re fun to make and use and can provide you with affordable alternatives, it’s always better to trust products made by certified professionals. Like everything else, it’s important to learn about what you’re using and how it can affect you. Here are a few products that are commonly used in homemade skincare that may end up doing you and your skin a little more harm than good. 

Lemon 

Lemon is one of the biggest ‘natural’ skincare remedies along with other citrus fruits. While you may think that they might have healing properties, lemon juice can be detrimental to your skin because of its acidity and low pH levels. pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a product is. The lower a pH level is, the more acidic something is. Lemons are also full of psoralens and can cause a phototoxic reaction that causes inflammation when exposed to UV light (a.k.a. the sun). This reaction is called phytophotodermatitis and can result in burns and even blisters that can last several weeks. 

Apple cider vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used in face masks, toners, and spot treatments, but it must always be diluted with water. While apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties, there are other safer skincare ingredients that have those bacteria fighting agents. Like lemon juice, ACV is low on the pH scale. It contains acetic acid which can not only burn your skin, but corrode it over time. If you still want to use apple cider vinegar, you have to prepare it in the right way. Mix one part ACV with four parts water. This will help reduce the acidity. 

Egg whites 

Egg whites have been used in home remedies and skincare because of the supposed tightening effects it can have on skin and pores. Using egg whites in DIY face masks poses a major health risk. Raw eggs can contain bacteria called salmonella and if ingested by accident, you could get quite sick. There’s even a risk for infection if accidentally applied to healing blemishes, like pimples. In this case, I’d leave the eggs to the omelettes.

Cinnamon 

This spice is known to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and is typically consumed in food and drinks, but has also been used in DIY face masks. However, cinnamon is actually one of the most common spice allergies and can not only burn your skin, but stain it. 

Essential oils 

This one is similar to apple cider vinegar: if you’re going to use them, dilute them! Essential oils are classified as a fragrance. Remember, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin. A big issue with essential oils is the risk of burning your skin when applied and then going out into the sun, especially without sunscreen. Due to their high concentrations, some essential oils, like lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil can cause rashes or other adverse reactions. 

Overall, while at-home skin care and DIY masks can be cheaper alternatives, and can even provide some entertainment during a lockdown, you have to be mindful of the ingredients you use and make sure that they are the best possible ones for your skin.