Pinterest DIY Beauty Treatments That Are Actually Bad For You

Do-It-Yourself Fruit Peel Facials

Want a healthy, vibrant complexion? Fruit enzyme peels are popular as a stand-alone treatment or added onto your normal salon facial. Non-abrasive and gentle, fruit enzyme treatments promise to reveal a new layer of skin and deliver a lasting glow.

Fruit enzyme peels can use more exotic (and more acidic) fruits such as papaya and mango, or common citrus juices, and can even be mixed with salicylic acid or glycolic acid for extra “oomph.” When professionally applied, fruit enzyme peels can help with acne, skin congestion, sun damage, and skin brightening.

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Why DIY Fruit Peel Facials Aren’t Great

Reading the description of what’s inside a professional fruit enzyme product, you might think that the ingredients are no different than your typical Sunday shopping list: blackberries, lemon zest, coconut, or pomegranate are all perfectly safe and natural items often found around the kitchen.

But this is where many professional products shoot themselves in the foot. Attempting to appeal to consumers by sounding as “natural” as possible, they fail to mention that they include some professional-strength ingredients necessary to achieve the desired effects. 

So, why shouldn’t you mix up your own DIY fruit enzyme peel?

The acidity found in fruit disrupts your skin’s pH barrier. When that happens, it can upset the bacterial balance of your skin, giving bad bacteria a chance to flourish as good bacteria takes time to build back up in numbers. And an imbalance of bad bacteria can lead to acne.

“Pineapple, orange, kiwi, and other acidic fruits have a pH of 3.0-3.3, which falls below the normal 5.5 pH of your skin, and dipping out of a range of 4.8-5.5 can cause breakouts, burns, redness, and peeling,” says Debra Jaliman M.D, author of “Skin Rules.” [1]

Bottom Line On DIY Fruit Peel Facials

If you’re after glowing skin and think an acid peel will do the trick, go to a professional. They’re trained to apply it correctly, and can make sure your skin is properly protected before, during, and after the treatment.

Using Cooking Oil As a Facial Moisturizer

Whether olive, almond, or coconut oil, supporters of at-home beauty solutions claim that applying cooking oils as a facial moisturizer allows you to save money (and chemical additives), while enjoying softer skin.

Citing ancient Greek cosmetic practices as an example of olive oil’s effectiveness, we’re told that the slick stuff is a natural, hypoallergenic way to moisturize. And that unadulterated oils have the added advantage of providing strong antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and E, that help repair and renew skin that has been damaged from overexposure to sun, air pollution, and other modern-day environmental hazards. [2]

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Why Cooking Oils Aren’t Good Moisturizers

While making your kitchen goods pull double-duty in the bathroom is all the rage these days, opting for oils as a moisturizer is a big no-no. 

Olive, coconut, and almond oils are moderately comedogenic—meaning that they can trap dirt, other oils, and bacteria next to your skin, causing acne. [3]

Additionally, oils meant for cooking are poor occlusive agents—they’re just not that good at trapping moisture next to your skin. Unlike formulated moisturizers, which act as humectants and attract moisture from the air to your skin’s surface, cooking oils form a barrier and keep additional moisture out.

Bottom Line On Using Cooking Oils As Facial Moisturizers

Critics of using oil as a moisturizer will often cite that it fails to “penetrate” the skin. It’s important to understand that many moisturizers don’t actually penetrate the skin—that’s just not how they work!

However, good moisturizers do attract outside moisture, and keep it next to your skin for long periods. This is something that cooking oil, unformulated for cosmetic use, simply isn’t great at.

Aside from the risk of clogging up your pores, straight cooking oil simply isn’t optimized promote softer, moisturized skin in the same way as products you can purchase. When cosmetic chemists create products for a specific purpose, they may borrow elements of various ingredients such as kitchen oils, then refine these ingredients so that they perform their best.

But, by sidestepping professional formulation, would-be kitchen beauty enthusiasts are robbing their skin of the most effective formula—and often experiencing some negative side effects in the process.

DIY Sugar & Salt Scrub Facials

DIY salt and sugar scrubs are often made by mixing one of these two granulated substances with oil from your kitchen (see above), to achieve exfoliated, moisturized skin.

Why exfoliate? Because it can help your skin look younger!

Exfoliation is the natural process that all skin goes through—outer layers of the skin are sloughed off and replaced by new cells that move to the surface. This inside-to-outside movement is the hallmark of healthy skin.

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This healthy cell turnover process can be impaired for any number of reasons, causing skin problems for every skin type. An excess of un-shed surface skin cells can be the result of sun damage, as sun causes skin’s surface layer to become thick and scaly, while it thins and depletes the support structures contained in the layers below the surface.

Buildup can also be caused by excess skin oils that prevent natural exfoliation, as cells will stick to the skin’s surface. 

Regardless of what’s causing your skin to not exfoliate as effectively as you’d like, once that layer is removed, voila! You’ll enjoy softer skin with an apparent glow.

Why DIY Salt & Sugar Scrubs Aren’t Great For Your Face

The scrubs featured on blogs and Pinterest seem almost too crafty to pass up—any excuse to use a mason jar, right? But, depending on the exfoliant used, they can be irritating to the face. 

Salt and sugar can actually scratch the skin and cause damage. And if you're prone to redness or rosacea? Forget it—these scrubs will do more harm than good. The tiny abrasions caused by too-gritty materials not only damage your skin, they also accelerate aging.

Additionally, both sugar and salt act as preservatives in that they draw moisture out from the surface of what they’re applied to. While that’s great for giving foodstuffs a longer shelf life, it’s not so awesome for your skin! [4]

Bottom Line On DIY Sugar & Salt Facial Scrubs

For a better method of topical exfoliation, just use a washcloth dabbed with a gentle cleanser. When rubbed in a gentle, circular motion, the damp fabric nubs are enough to slough away excess skin cells without causing any micro-tears or irritation.

You can also go all-natural by using less harsh scrubbing substances, such as oatmeal, which is also known to calm irritated skin.

Finally, consider skin products with salicylic acid or AHAs. Instead of ridding your skin of excess cells by way of abrasion, these gentle acids eat up dead layers and encourage additional cell turnover, for smooth, glowing skin that lasts.

Crushing Aspirin To Help Relieve Acne

This DIY acne spot treatment remains popular partially because it works—aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is a common ingredient in acne spot treatments.

To make an aspirin acne spot treatment, you’re supposed to simply crush up some uncoated aspirin pills and add water to make a paste. Then, apply in dabs to the inflamed area. The treatment is supposed to help reduce a pimple's redness and size.

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Why Crushed Aspirin Isn’t Great For Reducing Acne

While salicylic acid can indeed help clear up acne, applying a formula not intended as a topical treatment can come with consequences. 

When you apply aspirin to pimples, you're also drying out the surrounding skin and disrupting the pH balance, which can result in further acne, irritation, or peeling. For those with sensitive skin, applying an unregulated dosage can even result in scarring or chemical burns!

Additionally, there’s a bit of controversy over how much aspirin is actually absorbed into your bloodstream when applied as an acne spot treatment. While there hasn’t yet been a study calculating how many tablets can be used, or how often the mask can safely be applied, the risks of dizziness, vomiting, or nausea are definitely less appealing than coping with a pimple.

Bottom Line On Using Crushed Aspirin For Acne

If you still want to use aspirin as an acne spot treatment, be very careful. While the mask is on your face or when you are washing it off, try not to get any in your eyes and nose. 

That may sound simple, but aspirin isn't as cosmetically elegant as scrubs you can buy at the store. A lot of the times when you are washing off the mask, tiny grains can migrate towards the more sensitive areas of your face, getting into your eyes and nostrils. If aspirin gets into your eyes, it can even scratch your cornea.

Instead, consider one of the hundreds of salicylic acid-based spot treatments available at the drugstore! These products, while lacking the fun of creating something in your kitchen, also lack the danger of exposing your skin (and body) to an overdose of harsh chemicals that could have negative effects.

Bottom Line? Beauty Hacks Might Leave You Looking Hacked!

Whether shopping for cosmetics or skin solutions, consumers endure a love-hate relationship with many products in the beauty aisle. Brands make big claims, charge big bucks, and often leave us feeling like they only thing that’s been made-over is our wallet.

And thus the appeal of DIY beauty treatments! Not only is it fun to whip up something in your kitchen, it’s exhilarating to feel like, with just a few natural ingredients, you’re able to create a problem-solver without spending extra cash.

However, there’s a reason why products are approved to hit the shelves—testing. Again, when cosmetics chemists whip up new formulations, they do so by taking the best of what’s available, and refining it to be appropriate for at-home use.

Bypassing this safety measure might get you results, but are the potentially negative side effects really worth saving a few dollars? Probably not.

Have you tried any DIY Pinterest beauty hacks? Let us know how they worked in the comments below!


  1. Skin Rules
  2. Beauty and Olive Oil
  3. Comedogenic Ratings
  4. Are sugar and salt scrubs actually bad for your skin?

Autumn Yates

Autumn draws from a reporting background and years of experience working remotely, while living abroad, to focus on topics in travel, beauty, and online safety.


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