5 Viral DIY Beauty Hacks That Are Actually Dangerous – Yes, Including Gorilla Glue
Think twice before experimenting with at home beauty hacks frequently spotted on social media.
Let’s face facts. We’ve all done things that we regret, especially when we’re in a hurry or when we’re strapped for cash. Sometimes, substituting one product for another works fine – but the following practices could land you in the ER or cost you a fortune in dermatological fees if something goes wrong. And social media glamorizes many unsafe at home beauty techniques, so buyers beware. Before you attempt to use a non-beauty product in lieu of something safe and intended for that specific purpose, read on.
- Don’t Use Permanent Adhesive Spray in Lieu of Shampoo
@im_d_olladyStiff where????? Ma hair 🤬🤬♬ original sound – Tessica Brown
Recently, a viral TikTok post caught the attention of the masses. Tessica Brown substituted Gorilla Glue Spray for her usual hair spray, and the repercussions were disastrous. Gorilla Glue is a permanent spray adhesive intended for craft projects and mounting photos and forms a water-resistant barrier. Brown’s mistake could not be rectified at home despite shampooing repeatedly and using every type of oil she could find. Emergency room efforts to remove the glue with acetone burned her scalp and resulted in extreme headaches. We can thank Brown for bringing unsafe beauty hacks front and center.
Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ben Talei has never encountered a situation like Brown’s, but he has treated people who used “regrowth products on their hair, which resulted in chemical burns and [the loss of] big patches of hair.” He also mentioned that, “A few years ago, in salons, one Brazilian straightening product caused massive amounts of hair loss.” Brown’s situation has since been resolved, thanks to the efforts of Michael K. Obeng, MD, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, but it’s best to forego using anything on your hair or scalp other than products deemed safe for such use.
- Don’t Remove Blackheads with Disposable Flossing Picks
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Among the bad Instagram skincare advice that was resurrected in 2020 on TikTok is a terrible hack for removing blackheads – the disposable flossing pick. According to one IG video with nearly 1.2 million views, simply presoaking blackhead-prone areas with a towel moistened in hot water is the only prep you’ll need before dragging dental floss across your skin to remove pesky imperfections. When Dr. Ava Shamban, a member of Beautytap’s Advisory Board, weighed in on this for Allure last year, her biggest concern was regarding the potential spread of infection. Floss isn’t sterile, so if you accidentally rupture a blemish in the process, you may spread bacteria to other areas of the face. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t drag anything across my skin, let alone something as strong as a piece of dental floss. To make matters worse, the IGer recommended following up with a toner – or mouthwash – afterward.
- Don’t Exfoliate Your Face with Coffee Grounds
That morning cup o’ joe might do wonders for your mood and energy level but using actual coffee grounds on your face is something you should avoid at all costs. The caffeine-depuffing effect sounds great in theory, and while a search for “DIY coffee face scrub” results in nearly 5 million results, coffee grounds have rough edges and can cause miniature tears, leaving you battling post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) instead of enjoying baby soft skin. And scrubbing too hard can create larger tears, resulting in infections. No thanks.
- Don’t Formulate Your Own Sunscreen
For the love of all things precious, the DIY sunscreen approach draws out the ire in me like no other. As a two-time skin cancer survivor, I’m required to see my dermatologist every 90 days to track my progress, and messing around with sunscreen would never be something I’d entertain. And yet, there are people making homemade sunscreen by combining powdered zinc oxide with coconut oil and aloe vera gel. In an article published by the Penn State News in 2019, surgical oncologist Dr. Colette Pameijer, who is both a skin cancer specialist and a surgical oncologist, emphasized the dangers associated with DIY-ing something as important as sunscreen. For those considering the bottom line when undertaking such a task, purchasing the ingredients to make one batch (with some leftovers) would run nearly $56. Add in the complete lack of quality control, verifiable concentration, studies, or expiration information, and you have quite a recipe for disaster.
- Don’t Attempt At Home Chemical Peels Using Medical Grade Products
With so many safe, traditional at-home peeling products available, there’s no intelligent reason to go shopping online for medical-grade options to do it yourself. And yet, people can still source ingredients online. The old saying, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” rings true here. “What we see in the cosmetic surgery and dermatology practice,” Dr. Talei says, “is people using chemical peels to make the skin better. They order insane concentrations of glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) online and then come in with second-degree, and sometimes even third-degree burns.
Ultimately, what you’re putting at risk is your body’s health, so consult with your doctor, dermatologist, or Verified Beauty Expert before following the questionable advice offered on social media.