Never Put These Things On Your Face

In a world of DIY skincare hacks, influencers recommend many household products to put on your face: toothpaste, lemon juice, and even Elmer’s glue. Do these hacks really work? According to dermatologists, some of these ingredients have side effects that outweigh the benefits.

Even skincare shortcuts, such as using body lotion as a face lotion, can harm your skin and create visible blemishes. Don’t make the mistake of giving these products a chance. Dermatologists assert that you should never pour any of these products on your face.

Hydrogen Peroxide Makes Your Acne Worse

While skin DIYs have promoted hydrogen peroxide as an acne-fighting tool, science doesn’t support this. Hydrogen peroxide destroys healthy skin cells along with bacteria. In 2005, researchers found that hydrogen peroxide ruins fibroblast cells that help heal wounds. This interferes with healing and leads to scar formation–not a good result for people with acne.

YouTuber demonstrates how to use hydrogen peroxide on your face

While hydrogen peroxide effectively kills bacteria, it also eliminates wound-healing and regenerative cells. If you do use hydrogen peroxide as a home remedy, always dilute it with water first. But it’s best to find another ingredient to help your skin.

Shampoo Is Not A Face Wash

Although you may save time and money by using shampoo as face wash, you won’t save your face. Shampoos have fragrances and chemicals that stink and dry out your skin. Most shampoos are not designed to hydrate your skin.

A woman lathers shampoo into her hair circa 1960
Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

That hasn’t stopped celebrities, such as Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black, from saying that they use baby shampoo as a facial cleanser. Dermatologist Eric Meinhardt says that this could work depending on the type of baby shampoo. If you get a non-scented, low-chemical baby shampoo, it could help your skin.

Body Soap Doesn’t Belong On Your Face

The skin on your face is thinner than other areas of your body. While an abrasive body soap may help your arms, it can over-exfoliate your face. Many body washes contain exfoliating beads, fragrances, and dyes that can harm your skin, according to Avail Dermatology.

Man washes his face with a charcoal soap bar

Face cleansers are designed to keep your face safe, so opt for those instead of a generic body wash. Dermatologist Dr. Doris Day recommends picking soaps labeled as “cleansers” for both your body and face. These soaps are designed to retain moisture in your skin.

Store-Bought Honey Doesn’t Do Much

Honey can reduce inflammation and acne on the skin. But only raw honey has this effect, according to dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu. Store-bought honeys are highly processed and don’t contain the vitamins needed. “These processed honeys are very unlikely to work because the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are destroyed in the processing,” she said.


While honey has its benefits, it will never live up to tried-and-true acne medications, says Joshua Zeichner, the director of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. Honey doesn’t unclog pores, and it doesn’t remove dirt from your face. Imagine the stickiness.

Lemon Juice Hurts Your Face Like It Hurts Your Eyes

While citrus enhancements in products benefit the skin, pure lemon juice is far too acidic to benefit anything. Lemon has an acidity of 2 pH, which can cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Placing lemon juice or lemon oil on your face can bleach your skin if you go out in the sun.

Woman bites one half of lemon and holds the other half up

True Skin Care Center adds that the acidity of lemons vary for each fruit, so even if you dilute the juice, you’ll never know how acidic your home remedy is. You’re better off purchasing a product that contains healthy amounts of lemon juice.

Body Lotion Has “Body” In The Name For Good Reason

Unless you need hydration in a pinch, you shouldn’t put body lotion on your face. Body lotions are designed for the thicker skin on your body and limbs. They are built to hydrate, but they aren’t pore-sensitive and can clog your blemishes.

Woman has a white face mask on her face, neck, and chest

“But many people can use lots of products and have no problems at all,” dermatologist Ellen Gendler told PopSugar. She says that if you use body lotion and have no problems with dryness, oiliness, or acne, go ahead and use it. If you don’t want to risk skin irritation, though, look for a non-comedogenic facial cream.

Influencers May Use Glue, But You Shouldn’t

Believe it or not, some people swear on using Elmer’s Glue on blackheads. The method spreads glue over your nose, waiting for it dry, and peeling it off. Dermatologists like Shari Marchbein argue that glue will not lift the debris out of pores. It may irritate your face and cause an allergic reaction in some people.

YouTuber Angela Lanter tests glue on her nose to see if it removes blackheads.
YouTube/Angela Lanter

While glue doesn’t work well as a normal skincare method, it won’t harm you either. James Hammer, President of MIX Solutions, says that white glues are generally safe and nontoxic. That said, it wasn’t designed for skincare, and so glue has a high risk of inflaming your face.

Lower Your Water Temperature

Washing your face in the shower could damage your skin, depending on the water temperature. According to Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group, hot water can dilate blood vessels under the skin. This results in red, aggravated skin, occasionally leading to rosacea.

A woman washes her face at the Marriott's Mandara Spa.
Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images

The American Academy of Dermatology advises washing your face with lukewarm water. While hot steam opens pores, hot water can damage the skin on your face. If you wash your face in the shower, turn down the temperature before lathering your face with soap.

Toothpaste Is Not A Zit-Zapper

For years, people have asserted that dotting toothpaste on a zit will make your blemish disappear. Dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Michael Kaminer says that this treatment is not good for your skin in the long-haul. While toothpaste will dry out a pimple, it can over-dry and harm your skin.

YouTuber applies Colgate toothpaste and vaseline to her face.
Pinterest/Gee T
YouTube/James Welsh

According to Dr. Zeichner, toothpaste used to contain triclosan, an ingredient that kills acne-causing bacteria on the skin. But the FDA has labeled triclosan as unsafe for its effect on thyroid hormones. So toothpastes aren’t as zit-zapping as they were when this trend came out.

Here’s Why Makeup Has An Expiration Date

If you haven’t checked the expiration date on your makeup products, do so. Expiration means that the active ingredients in products are now inactive. According to Professor of Dermatology Jeremy Brauer, the products won’t work in the best-case scenario, and may even irritate your skin.

A photo shows the close-up of a various types of eye shadows, perfume bottle, highlighter, lipstick and lip liner
Binnur Ege Gurun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Binnur Ege Gurun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The more you touch and brush on your makeup, the more bacteria you transfer to your product. Over time, this bacteria builds and ends up back on your face through repeated application. Do your skin a favor: throw out expired products and clean your makeup brushes!

Deodorant Should Stay Under The Pits

Some beauty bloggers have supported using deodorant as a makeup primer. Don’t do this. Deodorant sticks can clog pores and make you break out even more. “Using deodorant this way can put you at risk for irritation and breakouts,” says Mario Badescu Skincare spokesperson Nicole Darmanin.

Influencer puts deodorant on her face as a makeup primer

The reasoning behind this “hack” is that deodorant can stop your face from sweating. Deodorant doesn’t prevent sweat; antiperspirants do. But antiperspirants contain metals such as aluminum that can over-saturate the thin skin on your face. Opt for an oil-control lotion or primer that’s designed to be used on the face.

Hydrocortisone Cream Shouldn’t Go On Your Face

Hydrocortisone cream is an over-the-counter medication to heal red, itchy skin. But according to the National Health Services, it should never go on your face. The NHS says that hydrocortisone’s high amount of steroids can damage the skin. It may even break the blood vessels around your face.

Person holds a tube of hydrocortisone cream

You can use hydrocortisone cream as a temporary relief for bug bites, dermatitis, and mild eczema. But it doesn’t work as an acne cream. While there is some evidence that hydrocortisone can help spot-treat pimples, it should be used occasionally, not regularly.

Coconut Oil Doesn’t Work For Everyone

While coconut oil may help one person’s acne, it can destroy another person’s face. Dermatologist and director of research Joshua Zeichner told Cosmopolitan that coconut oil successfully hydrates your face. But it can also be too heavy and clog peoples’ pores.

Woman holds up a jar of coconut oil

Coconut oil contains linoleic acid, an acne-fighting microbial. But most of coconut oil is made up of saturated fat. While some people may benefit from this oil, others might break out or feel irritated after putting it on their face. Don’t feel pressured to use coconut oil if it doesn’t work for you.

Keep The Hot Wax Away

Waxing your eyebrows is not only painful but also bad for your skin. According to Dermatologist Jennifer MacGregor, hot wax pulls off a layer of skin along with your hair. “If you use retinoids or exfoliants regularly, it could even cause you to blister, burn, scab, or scar,” she told The List.

Man closes his eyes as someone places wax above his eyebrows.
Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Since the skin around your eyes is thinner and more fragile than the rest of your face, waxing can also give you puffy eyes. Thankfully, you can resort to harmless eyebrow-plucking techniques such as threading, tweezing, or laser removal.

Witch Hazel Isn’t All It’s Chopped Up To Be

In recent years, witch hazel has popped up in many skincare products for its ability to fight acne. But like many herbal remedies, the research on witch hazel is mixed. Some studies have found that it reduces skin inflammation, but it does not help puffy eyes, eczema, or inflamed skin, according to the University of California, Berkeley.

Woman uses a cotton pad to apply witch hazel floral water.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Witch hazel is usually diluted in alcohol, which can significantly dry the skin. Although witch hazel can help your skin as a lotion, don’t use it to remove eye makeup or eliminate under-eye bags. According to research, witch hazel can help mild inflammation and wounds, but that’s it.

Keep Hair Dye On Your Hair

If you dye your hair frequently, take care to keep it off of your face. According to the National Capital Poison Center, the average hair dye has 25 harmful ingredients that damage the skin. The main culprit is PPD, which causes the scalp to redden and itch after dying.

Woman has curly hair with dyed pink tips

Always wear gloves when you dye your hair, and only leave the dye on for the recommended amount of time. And never dye your eyebrows. Instead, look for a colored eyebrow gel, or color them in with eyeshadow powder.

Hair Spray Isn’t A Setting Spray

If you have breakouts along your forehead or jawline, your hair products may be to blame. Hair spray is made to lift your hair, but some people use it as a makeup setting spray. According to dermatologist and professor Marina Peredo, hair sprays contain a lot of alcohol and fragrances that can damage your skin.

Kendra VanBeusekom applies hair spray in a mirror that is a little shorter than her.
DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images
DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images

For the best results, Dr. Peredo recommends choosing hair products that are fragrance- and color-free. She also advises keeping hair spray away from your forehead if possible. If you don’t scrub away the spray, make sure you wash your face.

“Urotherapy” Doesn’t Work

Some home remedy authors have proposed that placing urine on your face–dubbed “urotherapy”–can reduce skin conditions due to the nutrients in pee. The main mineral they’re talking about is urea, which has helped the skin in lab settings. But there is not enough urea in urine to benefit your face.

Woman splashes water on her face over a sink.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Dr. Mona Gohara, professor of dermatology at Yale, said that urine is mostly water with a few minerals. It won’t harm your skin, but it won’t produce any healing or anti-aging effects either. “I don’t think it’s ideal to use urine on your skin,” Dr. Gohara told Good House Keeping.

Egg Masks Are As Dangerous As Eating Raw Eggs

Egg whites have entered the realm of DIY homemade face masks. But like all raw eggs, face masks put you at risk of salmonella says New York Dermatologist Doris Day. While eggs don’t infect you topically, face masks make you far more likely to lick or consume the egg.

A worker of the Chemical Food and Veterinary Office cracks open an egg
Guido Kirchner/picture alliance via Getty Images
Guido Kirchner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Day adds that all skin benefits from eggs are temporary. You may feel “a little relief” and slight skin tightening after an egg mask, but Day asserts that you won’t receive any long-term changes. Overall, the risks of egg masks outweigh the benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar Can Burn Your Skin

According to some people, apple cider vinegar aids your skin by killing bacteria through its antibacterial properties. But these claims are purely anecdotal, says dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers. “There is actually no good scientific study to prove the skin-healing claims of apple cider vinegar,” she told Real Simple.

Lindsey Christianson, the
Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images
Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Dr. Gathers adds that apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and has caused severe skin irritation and burns in patients. If you choose to use it as a toner, dilute the vinegar in water first. Always ask your doctor before powering apple cider vinegar on your skin.

Keep Hair Serums On Your Hair

There are hair serums and skin serums, and they should be kept separate. Dermatologists emphasize that hair serums are made with different chemicals than facial ones. After all, hair products are designed to tame hair, not replenish the skin. Hair stylist Jana Rago says that some serums can cause the hairs near your face to fall off!

A woman combs her hair.
Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images
Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you have sensitive skin, be extra aware of serums. Hair products often contain fragrances that can irritate your skin. Even if they worked, they are too heavy to soak into your face.

Vegetable Shortening Isn’t The Best Moisturizer

Believe it or not, some dermatologists have recommended using vegetable shortening (specifically Crisco) on your face. According to them, Crisco can moisturize your skin in a pinch. But acne-prone people should beware. Experts warn that Crisco is too heavy for many people.

Packages of Crisco, a vegetable shortening, are stacked on top of each other.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

According to CBC, vegetable shortening is made with hydrogenated soybean and palm oils. Because these oils are so processed, they don’t provide any antioxidants for your skin. And if it’s the vegetable shortening you cook with, you’re risking infection. Buy a less-processed lotion instead.

Foot Cream…Do We Really Need To Say It?

As a rule of thumb, if a product mentions any part of the body besides the face, don’t use it on your face. Foot care nurse Geoffrey Bain explains that foot creams aren’t necessarily bad; they’re simply not made for your face.

A person gets cream on their foot during a massage.
Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
Michel du Cille/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Foot creams are heavier than your average face cream. They also have more oils and exfoliants that can be too harsh for your sensitive facial skin. As a result, your face may turn red, peel, or itch. Keep the foot creams on your toes.

Nail Polish Remover

In 2017, Kylie and Kendall Jenner claimed to use acetone as a “facial.” Acetone is the active ingredient in nail polish remover, and it is not safe for your face. According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, acetone can irritate and redden your skin. Afterward, it could dry out your face.

A woman uses a pad with nail polish remover to remove nail polish.

Nail polish will also burn your eyes, nose, and throat. Even if you don’t get it in your mouth, you might have trouble breathing from the burning sensation. The takeaway: don’t trust the Jenners on this one.

Eat Mayonnaise; Don’t Put It On Your Face

Dozens of DIY face mask recipes have appeared on the internet, including using mayonnaise as a face mask. Proponents claim that mayonnaise can tighten skin. However, Healthline warns against using eggs on your face. It could irritate your skin or cause a reaction.

A woman receives a facial treatment at a spa.
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
Randy Quan/Toronto Star via Getty Images

If you do feel your skin tighten, it will only be temporary. There is no evidence that mayonnaise can help your skin. But there is some evidence that soy products can cause people to break out. Why use mayonnaise when you can apply a real mask?

Lower The Bar…Of Soap

When people run out of face soap, they may reach for the bar. But celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau says that you should never rub bar soap on your face. Most brands are far more drying than soaps, gels, and body washes.

A bar of soap lies against a black background.
YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images
YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Bar soaps are generally more acidic than soaps because the binder has a low pH. As a result, some peoples’ faces can become red and cracked afterward. If you’re prone to acne, you definitely shouldn’t use a bar of soap. Choose a liquid wash that’s designed for your face.

Throw Away Expired Sunscreen

When’s the last time you checked your sunscreen’s expiration date? John G. Zampella, a dermatology instructor, explains that the chemicals break down in sunscreen. Expired sunscreen is ineffective at best, and at work, it can irritate your skin.

A girl receives sunscreen on her face.
Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“A sunscreen is an over-the-counter drug—a medicine—and it should be viewed as such,” says cosmetic chemist Konstantinos Lahanas. If your sunscreen expires, or if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it away. Replace it with a new bottle to save your face from UV rays.

When Sugar Isn’t Too Sweet

Sugar is a common ingredient in DIY facial scrubs. But some experts warn against it, such as dermatologist David Bank. “Using sugar as an exfoliant on the face can actually scratch and abrade the skin,” he explains.

A spoon picks up sugar from a pile.
Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Luis Ascui/Getty Images

These scratches may not be visible; they are microscopic scratches that could irritate your skin over time. If your face appears red after using a sugar scrub, that’s likely why. In short, sugar is too abrasive, even for an exfoliant. If you take anything from this, don’t trust DIY face products.

Baking Soda Is Too Alkaline

Although beauty bloggers advertise baking soda face masks, dermatologists don’t. Proponents claim that it removes dark circles from your eyes. Experts warn that baking soda is far too alkaline. According to Healthline, it has a pH of nine, which can irritate your skin.

A box of baking soda sits in the back of an empty refrigerator.
Tom Kelley/Getty Images
Tom Kelley/Getty Images

FutureDerm explains that alkaline products disrupt the skin’s barrier. Because skin is naturally between 4.5 or 6.5 pH, an alkaline substance can change the bacteria on the face–even the good ones. Don’t mess up your body’s pH with baking soda, especially near your eyes.

The Dangers Of Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly products, such as vaseline, can make a good moisturizer. But you shouldn’t put them on your face. Dermatologist Patricia Wexler says that vaseline is too heavy and clogs your pores. This can prompt more acne and be difficult to wash off, even with soap.

Vaseline jars are stacked on top of each other.
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Plus, petroleum jelly is mildly toxic. The Illinois Poison Center reports that ingesting a small amount of the jelly can cause stomach aches. If your skin is wounded or cracking, you can use a little bit. But don’t use it everyday, and don’t apply it near your mouth.