The good, the bad, the meh of TikTok skin trends

We love a genius skincare hack—but sometimes sorting fact from fiction on your fave app requires expert input.

If you try a viral recipe and it's a bust, basically the worst thing that happens is you have a so-so snack. But adopting an unsafe skincare routine from a TikTok star could lead to breakouts...or even long-term skin damage (not to mention money wasted on spon products that don't *do* anything).


"TikTok is an amazing place to learn about how to care for your skin," explains creator Hyram Yarbro, who researches skincare products, treatments and ingredients so he can share the most trustworthy, straightforward info with his 6 million-plus followers.

That said, there's a lot of misinformation out there mixed in with really solid advice. "Don't just follow these trends blindly," cautions Yarbro, "Do your research." The bottom line? "It's so important to remember that the creator's skin is not your skin," Yarbro shares. "So whatever issues they're dealing with aren't the same issues you're facing."

(Psst: Click here for more Hyram-approved skincare advice!)

We asked Dr. Mona Gohara, dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, to sound off on some of the most viral trends blowing up our feeds.

GOOD: DIY extractions


Clear skin ✨✨ #acnetip #dermatologist #learnontiktok #extractionfacial

♬ alors on danse remix - hazellclouds

"I'm not mad at this," says Dr. Gohara. Popping pimples with your fingers is a big no-no, but gently removing built-up sebum from your pores with a looped metal comedone extractor is totally fine. "It's important to be gentle—don't dig and hurt yourself," she says. Take a quick hot shower or gently do a facial steam, so your skin is soft, then gently press on the pimple and watch the gunk come out. And be sure to sanitize the extractor between each blemish.

Try: Tweezerman No-Slip Skincare Tool, $16

MEH: Shaving your face


How to: FLAWLESS SKIN😮✨ #skin #skincare #flawlessskin #beauty #hacks #shavingface

♬ OK (Anxiety Anthem) - Mabel

Do you need to shave your face? Absolutely not. But DIY dermaplaning can get rid of vellus hairs (aka the tiny peach fuzz that covers your face), enabling foundation to go on smoother. If you're going to give it a try, use a tool designed for this purpose (not the razor you use on your legs). Hold it at roughly a 45-degree angle against your skin. Using short, light strokes, shave the hair in the direction that it grows (and never go over the same spot twice!). You can use the other hand to pull the skin taut. Once you're finished, rinse and moisturize your face. Noe that "if you have eczema, acne, rosacea or sensitive skin, face shaving isn't for you," advises Dr. Gohara. Oh and never mix shaving with other exfoliants (like alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids or scrubs).

Try: Shiseido Prepare Facial Razor, $5

BAD: Coffee and sugar scrubs


DIY Coffee Scrub 😌🧼 #fyp #diy #asthetic

♬ 34 35 slowed - slowed songz

"This one is bananas to me," cautious Dr. Gohara. "Scrubbing your skin with something with harsh edges, like ground coffee and sugar, can cause microtraumas." This can lead to hyperpigmentation that's hard to treat, especially in darker skin tones. Instead, she recommends using a gentle exfoliator that adds hydration back into the skin on the body and an exfoliating pad on the face. "There is a finite amount of product on the pad so you can't overdo it," she explains. "Start by using it once a week and increase gradually."

Try: Dove Pomegranate Seeds & Shea Butter Exfoliating Body Polish, $6 and First Aid Beauty Pharma White Clay Acne Treatment Pads 2% Salicylic Acid, $30

MEH: Facial steaming


Do you use a steamer? #skincare #facesteamer #skincareroutine #skincaresecrets #clearskin #clearskintips #learnontiktok #ReplyToComments #skinhacks

♬ original sound - Siana V.

Sure, sitting in front of a facial steamer might feel really relaxing (and it can soften skin if you're looking to do extractions, see above) but basically it's not doing much otherwise. "It. might help add a little hydration to your face," says Dr. Gohara. "If you want to do a DIY hydrating facial, try steaming your face before applying a sheet mask. Then, lock in the hydration right after with a thick moisturizer."

Try: Modvica Facial Steamer, $25

BAD: Contouring with sunscreen


Sunscreen hack☀️ #sunscreen #tanning #contouring

♬ original sound - Eli Withrow

You've probably seen the hack where you apply a lesser SPF to the areas of the face where you want to "naturally" contour—but this can cause issues down the road. "Applying uneven sun protection exposes some areas of your face to more sun damage, which can speed up aging and potentially cancer," says Dr. Gohara. She recommends using an SPF 30 or higher over your entire face and reapplying throughout the day. And just stick to contouring with makeup.

Try: CeraVE Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 50 Face Lotion, $14

MEH: The potato trick


@queen_of_queifs ✨the potato trick✨ ( me actually hoping it works) #DoItBold #skincare #ImJealous #DialItForward

♬ original sound - Matthew Greco

Attaching half of a potato to your face wherever you have a breakout looks like a lot of work—and it's not really the best way to calm inflammation. "Maybe there are some anti-inflammatory properties in the potato, but why do that when there are other skincare solutions?" Dr. Gohara asks. "It's a waste of potato!" Instead, apply an anti-inflammatory serum to help calm and soothe painful breakouts.

Try: Glossier Super Pure Niacinimide + Zinc Serum, $28

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that a version of this story originally ran in our April/May 2021 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Slider image: @liahyoo | Top image: @inthefrow


by Erin Reimel | 4/17/2021