5 Pinterest DIYs You Should Never Try According to Top Derms

Pinterest is a veritable gold mine of beauty tips, no doubt about it. However, not all of these tips actually deliver. In fact, some of them can worsen your skin. To help us figure out whether a squeeze of lemon will really brighten our dark spots or if we can swap our acne spot treatment for toothpaste, we reached out to Dr Michelle Lim at The Sloane Clinic. “Pinterest is a wonderful source for DIY rainy-day activities and recipes, but it's a pretty dangerous place to pick up your skincare regimen,” she says. “Remember that your skin is a delicate organ, and it functions best at a narrow pH that balances its own little ecosystem. Anything that disrupts this pH balance, either too acidic or too basic, will throw off its ideal functioning and risk inflammation, breakouts, worsening of conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema—and worse, it can even leave you with scars.” Yikes. 

For the top five Pinterest DIYs you should avoid at all costs, keep scrolling.

#1: Lemon and Sugar Exfoliating Scrub
One of the popular pins floating around involves mixing sugar with lemon water for a DIY exfoliating scrub. Word to the wise: Don’t. “The reason this is so dangerous is because the harsh sugar scrub physically breaks down the natural barriers of the skin and causes small breaks, leaving you vulnerable to infection,” Dr Tan says. “The lemon juice is far too acidic for the skin and inflames the already broken barrier, leading to a lot of redness and irritation.” 

Sloane Inc Skin Superfood Pineapple Enzyme Scrub is a godsend for those with combination or sensitive skin but are prone to clogged pores and acne. This incredible scrub not only contains skin-conditioning jojoba beads, it also contains natural Bromelain enzyme that helps to loosen up the ‘glue’ between dead skin cells that refuse to shift. It effectively exfoliates and refines skin texture and leaves skin with a luminous glow.

#2: Baking Soda Exfoliator
Here’s another popular skincare DIY: baking soda as an exfoliator or dark-spot brightener. Dr Tan says to avoid anything with baking soda as an exfoliator because the pH is too far off from your skin’s normal balance—it’s far too basic (lemon juice, on the other hand, is too acidic). “Applying something that shifts your skin’s pH balance off will cause flareups of sensitive-skin conditions like eczema,” she warns.

For those who require a deep cleanse, deep cleansing facials are recommended for those with oily skin or acne-prone skin. Deep Deep Clean is the ultimate deep cleansing facial treatment that combines crystal microdermabrasion and ultrasonic deep cleansing to keep breakouts at bay

This incredible facial treatment uses microdermabrasion to gently polish away dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. It uses a fine stream of effective yet gentle microscopic crystals to exfoliate the epidermal later and promote thicker healthier dermis while rejuvenating the skin. The treatment doesn’t stop there, it further cleanses the skin with ultrasonic deep cleansing. When blackheads and whiteheads populate your T-zone, pimples start to pop up in no time. Ultrasonic Deep Cleansing uses Ultrasonic wave motion to remove surface aged skin and impurities such as whiteheads and blackheads. Think of it as effective high tech extraction, which doesn’t require brute force or squeezing. Using brute force or method of extraction to remove comedones isn’t a good way as leave your skin red, swollen and can even cause scarring. Blackheads and whiteheads are the precursors to zits. If left untreated, they can become pimples, or worse, over long term, cause enlarged pores.

#3: Toothpaste Spot Treatment

You probably picked this hack up from your bestie in high school—but it’s just as misguided as the other advice she gave you (like who you should go to prom with). The reason this myth emerged is because toothpaste contains ingredients that kill and dry out bacteria—thus, it will surely kill your bacteria-caused zit. Not so fast. “It’s a super-concentrated cleaner really meant for your teeth, notdelicate skin,” Dr Tan says. “Stripping the skin barrier with toothpaste is going to cause more irritation around the pimple, making it last longer and leaving you with a dark spot once it finally resolves.” Scary thought.

Certain in-office treatments can seriously accelerate and improve the erasing process. The benefits, prices and recovery process vary.

Chemical Peels or Microdermabrasion: In-office fruit acid peels and microdermabrasion (about S$200) are your least expensive options to lighten milder and more superficial pigmentation (freckles, sun spots, post-acne marks) by exfoliating the skin’s surface so that you shed darkened areas more quickly. Multiple 2 to 4-weekly sessions are required, but many find these treatments very helpful in improving their acne, oiliness and enlarged pores at the same time.

Lasers and IPL: For a speedy solution, your answer might lie in the latest laser and light treatments, which are less painful, kinder to skin and more effective than in the past, and work by penetrating the skin’s layers to zap pigmentation away and rejuvenate the deeper layers of the skin.

IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, works well for fair-skinned ladies and men troubled by their sun spots and freckles. It’s also a popular maintenance therapy to keep spots and ageing away, as it gently tones up skin by stimulating collagen replenishment, while soothing blotchy redness and reducing fine facial fuzz at the same time for an even, radiant complexion.” explains Dr Michelle Lim. Average cost is about S$600 for a good medical-grade treatment. Mild darkening followed by flaking off of the pigment spots for a couple of days may occur.

The Fraxel resurfacing laser (also affectionately known as the microlaser peel) is a firm favourite amongst the A-listers, both in Hollywood and Asia, to achieve a flawless complexion. Like a veritable reset button, this laser renews your skin and erases resistant and deep pigmentation, along with wrinkles, dullness and even scars for a total skin rebirth. It’s been safely used on and off the face to reverse photodamage or scarring. 

#4: Honey-Based Masks
Here’s one that even caught us off-guard. Honey has long been touted for its antibacterial properties and used in many DIY masks to calm skin inflammations or acne-prone skin. According to Dr Tan, this might not be the smartest thing. “Your skin responds to the outside environment by adjusting constantly, usually by sweating or creating oil (also known as sebum),” she explains. “When you occlude, or cover up, the pores with something like honey, you're essentially preventing the skin from breathing and interacting with the environment. So when the skin tries to sweat, it builds up and clogs the pores underneath, triggering more acne-like pimples.” Instead of honey, try reaching for ingredients like rose water or aloe—one of these that can soothe your face in seconds.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir Facial Mist Spray: Caudalie’s innovative Beauty Elixir is a part-toner, part-serum that sets make-up, provides an instant burst of radiance and tightens the appearance of pores.Formulated with grape extracts, as well as clarifying ingredients, this cult favorite is an exceptional anti-dull complexion treatment and a wonderful after-shave for men.

Sloane Inc. Pure Hydrating Mist soothes, hydrates and tones the skin with natural glacial water enriched with skin-repairing amino acids. Use after lasers or as part of your skincare regime to help maximize the benefits of your treatments or on its own to optimize your skin health.

#5: Coconut Oil Masks
Are you sitting down? Your beloved coconut oil probably doesn’t belong on your face, according to Dr Tan. She points out that coconut oil ranks high on the comedogenic scale—a 4 out of 5—which means it has a high likelihood of clogging your pores and causing comedones (i.e. pimples). Instead of coconut oil, she suggests swapping in an oil like argan oil, which hydrates and soothes without clogging your pores.

(+) Best for Combination Skin: Argan Oil
Argan Oil can actually help decrease sebum production, cutting back on that mirror-like shine we try to hide. This oil is extracted from the kernels of the Moroccan argan tree, and is chock-full of fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which give it serious moisturizing and restorative powers. It's great for more than just skin, but hair and nails, too. It is called liquid gold for a reason. It’s also ultra-absorbent, and doesn’t leave the greasy residue of some of its heavier counterparts.” The vitamin E is the “power ingredient” in argan oil, and is great for helping heal acne scars, eczema, and dry scalp

Try: Sloane Inc Heal Oil

(+) Best for Discoloration: Rosehip seed oil
Rosehip-seed oil is celebrated for its scar-healing abilities. It's also great for those suffering from sun damage. Thanks to a high concentration of super-hydrating fatty acids (which help with skin cell turnover) and vitamin A (which helps promote collagen production), rosehip seed oil is ideal for minimizing the appearance of dark spots.

Try: Sloane Inc Youth Oil

How to Apply
Press oils onto your face—don’t rub. The heat of your palms helps to allow the oils to be absorbed faster.

Apply your skin care in order of thickness, with the thinner formulas first. This usually means oil goes after serum but before moisturizer.

Mix oil with your foundation for additional moisture and skin care benefits.

You can massage oil over a dry clay-based mask to help remove it easily.


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The Skin Radar is an online avenue which documents my tumbling thoughts, ideas and musings from my daily life, mainly based on skincare and beauty. It is designed to take the clutter out of beauty journalism to provide trustworthy and objective insights, new finds and sneak peaks- all in a beautiful and clean platform.

I test all products & treatments with age and skin colour in mind, break down the latest health fads, and source for expert opinions from international skincare leaders. All in all, my goal is to make sure that I am on top of every beauty innovation and skincare trend the world has to offer.