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Why you shouldn't apply toothpaste and sour cream on your face

As myths about the dangers of synthetic components in cosmetic products are spreading, many of us strive to take skincare under control. Some people are looking for products that don’t contain silicone and parabens, others are trying to make their own creams. Some people prefer home recipes. They make oatmeal scrubs, avocado masks, and put tea bags under their eyes. Several beauty rituals have become part of our culture. For example, when we are cooking a salad, we often apply a couple of cucumber slices under our eyes instead of patches. In this article, I have analyzed seven popular life hacks and found out whether it’s worth using them.

Washing your face with mineral water

Arguments in favor of this life hack are different. It’s believed that mineral water has a special ability to "saturate the epidermis with oxygen" and the pH of potable water is better for the skin.

Carbonated water contains carbon dioxide, not oxygen. That’s why such statements are not fundamentally correct. Besides, even if it could be physically possible to saturate the skin with oxygen, there is absolutely no reason to do so. Oxygen enters the skin in the same way as it enters all other organs: it is transported by blood during the process of respiration. If you don't have serious breathing problems, there is enough oxygen in your skin.

The authors of some articles claim that the bubbles of sparkling water can cleanse your pores and eliminate blackheads. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence for this.

Running water contains a lot of chemicals and metal salts. In general, water is heavy in Moscow. Therefore, the idea of using non-tap water for washing makes some sense. Patients suffering from atopic or seborrheic dermatitis are recommended to install good water filters on their taps or use mineral or drinking water for washing. But it’s not advisable to use mineral water as the main skin cleanser.

Now let's talk about pH. Indeed, running water can have a high pH (more than 7.5) which can provoke the damage of the skin's protective barrier, dryness, and irritation. But does it mean that you have to buy boxes of mineral water for washing? Very unlikely. First of all, not all carbonated water has a low pH. Secondly, when you are taking the shower, tap water inevitably gets on your face. It is unlikely that you will start washing yourself exclusively with mineral or drinking water.

Cucumber mask

Chilled cucumber slices can remove puffiness caused by irritation or inflammation and relieve dryness and itching. These effects are attributed to the antioxidants and flavonoids contained in cucumber juice. But the above-mentioned components hardly penetrate from the pieces of the vegetable into the deep layers of the skin.

A cucumber mask won’t eliminate wrinkles or dark under-eye circles. You need stronger ingredients that can penetrate deep into your skin. For example, you can apply microneedle patches that are one of the promising technologies in this sphere. But still, you can safely continue to put cucumbers under your eyes — at least they are pleasant to the touch. But if you need an effective remedy for edema, it is better to use professional products.

Toothpaste for acne

The American dermatologist Neil Schultz says that toothpaste contains components that dehumidify acne. They include soda, alcohol, menthol, hydrogen peroxide, and triclosan. However, they also irritate the skin, and the irritation can be serious, up to a chemical burn. In other words, the pimple will be dried out as well as the skin around it. You can use toothpaste for treating inflammations only if you are on an uninhabited island and you have no other remedies at all. And even in this case, it is better to let pimples go through their natural cycles than burn the skin. For sporadic pimples, it is better to use the products that contain salicylic acid, zinc, azelaic acid, or benzoyl peroxide.

There are a lot of skincare products for treating acne on the market, so using toothpaste is not the right thing to do. Probably, this method won’t cause serious problems, but there won’t be any beneficial effect either.

Ice cubes and herbal decoctions instead of tonic

When it comes to a single pimple, ice cubes can really help. Even the American Association of dermatologists recommends applying ice to large and painful inflammations. It can eliminate pain and relieve swelling. It is best to wrap the ice cube in a paper towel, so that not to apply it directly to your face. In all other cases, rubbing your face with ice is more likely to harm the skin than provide any benefits.

You have probably noticed that immediately after staying out in the frost, your skin looks very fresh: it blushes, and the pores become less noticeable. The same thing happens when you rub your face with ice. But you should realize that it’s only a short-term effect. Over the longer term, constant sharp vasoconstriction (vessel constriction) can lead to broken capillaries. In addition, any extreme temperature (too hot or too cold) has an adverse impact on the skin's protective barrier. If you rub your skin with ice cubes regularly, your skin can become red, flaky, and even damaged by freezing in some areas, especially if you apply the ice to your face without any barrier in the form of a paper or cloth towel.

You should not use chamomile/calendula decoctions instead of face washing products. Such decoctions won’t cleanse your skin properly, but they can disrupt the natural microflora. You shouldn't be too enthusiastic about ice, either. If you have a large red painful pimple, you can wrap an ice cube in a towel and apply it to the inflammation (for no more than ten minutes). In all other cases, it is better to use ice for making cocktails.

Patches from tea bags

This is one of the few home recipes that actually have scientific evidence. Dermatologists say that the caffeine contained in tea works as a vasoconstrictor. It constricts the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to them. Tea also contains theophylline that has anti-inflammatory properties. Chilled tea bags reduce swelling even more effectively. Of course, this method can only help if the puffiness under your eyes is temporary — for example if you have eaten too much salt before going to bed. If your eyes are always slightly swollen (for example, just because of the structure), tea bags will be useless.

When employing this method, you should observe safety precautions. Before use, you need to carefully squeeze out all the liquid and never use hot tea bags. Contact lenses should be removed. If you have any sense of discomfort, you should immediately take off the tea bags and wash your eyes with water. It is important to understand that such applications can’t replace regular care. This method can help eliminate puffiness, but it won’t moisturize your skin.

If you have such symptoms as "tired eyes" or puffiness around your eyes in the morning, you should consult a dermatocosmetologist who will identify the causes of your disorder and will offer you more effective methods of treatment.

Coffee and oatmeal scrubs

Coffee or oatmeal scrubs may be suitable for the body’s skin, but not for the face. The particles are too sharp and coarse — they can cause skin micro-damage and destroy the protective barrier. Such scrubs should be never used if you have inflamed skin. Although coffee scrub is periodically included in the lists of "best home remedies for acne", this is completely incorrect and incompetent.

Sharp coffee particles not only damage the skin, cause inflammation, but they can also spread the infection. Therefore, you can use coffee or oatmeal scrubs only if don’t have inflammatory rashes, irritation, and allergic skin diseases. Then at least you won't do much harm to your face. It is difficult to find any benefits.

Sour cream instead of cream

One of the popular life hacks that users share on different forums is to use sour cream instead of moisturizers. It is believed that sour cream is useful because it contains lactic acid that "rejuvenates the skin" and destroys the peptide bonds between the dead skin cells on the surface of the epidermis, thus helping them to exfoliate faster.

Sour cream does contain a certain amount of lactic acid, but the skin and gastrointestinal tract absorb nutrients differently. The microelements and acids contained in sour cream can’t delve into the lipid barrier. For this to happen, they first need to get out of the fat layer — and there must be something that can make them move. Instead of this, your skin will be covered with a greasy film consisting of the fats that are contained in sour cream. These fats will not moisturize your skin or improve the lipid barrier (since they have a different structure), but they will attract acne-causing bacteria.

It’s not advisable to use sour cream for skin hydration. It is not only impractical but can also cause skin irritation. One of the most popular recommendations on the internet is to use sour cream for treating sunburns. This advice is also wrong. When you have a sunburn, your skin is damaged and the protective barrier is feeble. If you apply sour cream to such skin, it will provoke inflammation and consecutive infection.
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