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3 Reasons DIY Beauty Recipes are Not Safe



From at-home sugar scrubs to egg yolk masks, we see ridiculous beauty ‘recipes’ every day of under catchy titles like: “Skip the Spa!” and “Do it Yourself!” Each one tries to convince us that we can get the same results as real professional skin care products – We just have to raid the refrigerator (or head to the grocery store) and follow the recipe. It’s always the same hype – they claim to be effective, easy, and cheap. But when we read these, we just shake our heads and think, “Not only are these claims untrue, these DIY recipes are no substitute for the real thing, especially if you have problem skin.

We only have ONE skin. It’s the largest organ of the body, and it needs to be treated with some real care and respect. When you truly break down these DIY beauty recipes, they’re far from being easier (or even cheaper), and in some cases you can even do dome damage to your skin if you aren’t careful. Here’s the 3 biggest reasons food should belong on your plate, not your face.

1. DIY Beauty Ingredients are INNEFECTIVE and UNSTABLE

We cannot stress this point enough. Quality and stability is everything when it comes to your skin. When you see “pumpkin, papaya and pineapple extracts” listed as ingredients on a foaming cleanser, they have been formulated specifically for use on the skin, and are stability tested to ensure they will be consistently effective, and stabilized for safety. You know exactly what you are getting – and you’ll get the exact same activity level and response each time. Only a stable, lab engineered professional formula created to provide the results we all want and need for our skin can be trusted. This is your skin we’re talking about!

2. You say TOMATO, We say BURN

Let’s look even closer at some of the DIY ingredients that can damage your skin:

Fruits and vegetables that contain acids: Papaya, Pineapple, Oranges, Apples, lemons, limes, etc.  Great to eat, not so great on your face when you grab it out of your fridge. Why?  Have you ever eaten two jalapeño peppers that look exactly the same, but one is much hotter than the other?  You can’t tell until it’s too late. Acids, even natural ones, can burn the skin. Only trust the real deal – an exfoliator from a professional skin care line.

Scrubs:  Raw sugar, table sugar, brown sugar, steel cut oatmeal, cornmeal, natural clay kitty litter (Really? – just wow.), or just plain salt.  Again, not stable. They can also scratch or scrape the skin due to sharp edges causing irritation and redness. Again – these are items that not tested for the skin.  A true professional skin care physical facial exfoliator will be formulated and shaped to be effective without scraping up the skin.

Fats:  Avocado, pure shea butter, eggs, mayonnaise, and yogurt. Certain natural fats are being recommended as moisturizers you can create. Here of course the issue again is efficacy – and freshness.

3. DIY – The I stands for INJURY

As skin care professionals, we’ve been truly shocked at some of the steps we’ve seen in these recipes. We’ve read to put a steamed towel or oils in your microwave and apply it to the face. Or, boil a pot of water, and hover your face over it to get the “steaming” benefits of a professional facial. In fact, you could seriously injure or burn yourself. Find out why and when pros use steam during a facial in our mythbusting blog post and, in the mean time, boil water for pasta only! We even watched a DIY video on how to perform extractions at home with a straight pin. The potential for infection and scarring is real, folks!


Look, if you have absolutely perfect skin, go ahead and make that avocado mask. But if you have skin issues that you’re serious about –  like acne, wrinkles, rosacea, or problem pores, there is no substitute for the real thing. Choose professional skin care every time, and know you’re going to get the skin you want.

Ready for even more expertise? Estheticians spend many hours studying skin physiology, microbiology, clinical sanitation, as well as looking at thousands of skins and performing thousands of facials. Put your skin in the care of a licensed professional that not only knows what your skin needs, they also have the professional products and tools to get the job done, with safety, and consistent results in a safe, clean and relaxing professional environment. Book a facial treatment at a Bioelements Partnership Spa today.

Comments (24)

orchid aesthetics medical spa says:
Feb 24, 2013

When I grew up and had no idea of skin care I used home potions like egg yolk and oatmeal scrub, I had acne skin and would have tried anything. Dermatologists did not help very much.
There are many negatives in RAW skin care products just like you mentioned BUT NATURE is such an infinite pool of resources for skin care we should be greatful.
The first chemical peel around was pidgeons poop used by geishas and it worked!
I own a Medical Spa now and only use medical Skin Care with exceptional results, but I remember still my Yolk Home Potion!

Devon Crawford says:
Feb 26, 2013

But if you are going to put the food in your body, I would just think you could put it on your face.

    Rosann La Porta says:
    Dec 8, 2017

    that’s a really good point!!!

    reese says:
    May 15, 2018

    Totally understandable, but the acid in your stomach that stabilized what we put in our stomach is different than the protective acid mantle on our face. Our stomachs are much stronger than our fragile skin. I mean, our stomach acid can eat metal!

Guest says:
Mar 13, 2013

you’re a health care professional, and you’re telling us we should go to you and spent boat loads of money on chemically engineered products as opposed to using the ingredients these products were made to mimic- there’s a shocker.

    Teresa Stenzel
    Teresa Stenzel says:
    Mar 13, 2013

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I need to stress though – Bioelements skin care products are absolutely not made to mimic fruits or vegetables – or any “kitchen/DIY” item. An apple is an apple. Our products are formulated, stabilized and tested to treat skin concerns – using the best of science + nature – and deliver results while being 100% safe and effective. This post was written to point out the real differences, mainly (and most seriously) the risk of infection. Plus, the waste of food for ineffective results.

Sandy Wright says:
Mar 29, 2013

I get what you are saying; with the availability of information now(correct or misleading), its our jobs more than ever to keep our clients educated on what is best for their skin. I recently saw an article on using crushed up aspirin as a peel. I wrote a comment to them expressing just how dangerous that is! The general public isn’t aware of contraindications, how and when to do a peel, or even how a BHA (salicylic) works.

    Barbara Salomone says:
    Mar 29, 2013

    Hi Sandy – We’ve seen mentions of that asprin “treatment”, too. You are absolutely right – it’s dangerous and I’m constantly amazed that this kind of unsafe information continues to be touted! Thanks for commenting.

Lauren says:
Jun 13, 2013

This is ridiculous. The harms of mainstream cosmetics far outweigh the benefits. The benefits of using natural oils, vegetable butters and botanicals far outweigh the potential for harm. The more natural companies are usually very expensive, so for those who cannot afford to pay £20 for a body butter, should make their own.

fiona says:
Jul 1, 2013

sorry but i’m against you i used a sugar scrub on my hands and feet it made them really clean and smooth and i used an oatmeal mask/scrub and it made my face soft and smooth two plus all the ingredients were in my house so i saved money

    reese says:
    May 15, 2018

    Sugar scrubs on your hands, feet, body are great! Just not on your FACE. The skin is different there.

Michelle says:
Jul 19, 2013

I was really surprised by this article, especially after reading that our bodies absorb up to 5 pounds of chemicals each year through chemical skin and hair treatments. And then I got to the first sentence of #3 – “As a skin care professional” Ah-ha. There it is. People doing at home treatments (and learning that they don’t need chemicals to be happy or healthy) takes money directly out of your paycheck. I can appreciate your desire to “educate” the public, but let’s be honest. Besides, I think I have the sense to steam my face without burning myself. And even dermatologists aren’t going to guess which product would work best for each individual correctly every time. Thanks for the input, but I’ll be doing my bi-monthly face steam and gelatin mask peel this evening (along with the olive oil mask to draw out impurities) and buy some wine with the money I save.

Terri Kubat says:
Jul 27, 2013

What you decide to use on your skin is a personal choice. I am a hair stylist that provides facial services for some of my clients. I have recently switched to Bioelements after using another line. I absolutely love the quality and range of their product line, allowing me to customize the skin services I offer. Teresa said it well…the best of nature + science, along with a trained professional, will yield the best results.

Allison says:
Oct 13, 2013

Well I agree with this article to an extent. You shouldn’t try just any DIY recipe out there. Some might have sensitive skin, some might not. The acidity in certain items, especially citrus fruits, should still be regarded. I think in some DIY recipes, lemon juice is used in a small amount and mostly diluted in another substance like a whipped Shea butter or honey and water. Things like this make sense to me. However, I think that making your own products at home is a great thing since it’s mostly cheaper and better for your skin. I don’t think that DIY products should be demonized at all.

Justme says:
Oct 23, 2013

Yeah..buying beauty products with dangerous chemicals is far more better then using natural ingredients. Lol I’ll stick to my natural products thanks. I agree with Michelle and Sarah.

Marjolein says:
Oct 28, 2013

I get that you have to inform yourself before making skin care yourself. However, I have gotten serious allergy like reactions from commercial creams. At least when you diy you know what you are putting on your skin.

Sheela Anderson says:
Nov 19, 2013

Awesome post Teresa,

But most people are looking for quick and, more importantly, cheap fixes, which is why they are willing to try all sorts of ridiculous recipes if it means saving a few bucks.


B. says:
Dec 2, 2013

I have a suggestion to all the skeptics, a skincare challenge, if you will. Lets say you create your own at home moisturizer- use it for a week, take photos, before , during and after, and be sure to have check list, watch for improvement with fine lines, wrinkles and sagging, as well as the color to your skin… is it radiant, with a healthy, luminous glow??? If so, thats terrific!!! No need to look any further!!! But when that DOESNT happen, complete the challenge using a product formulated by a licensed skincare professional, and note the difference- nothing beats the power of incorporating the latest science, technology, and the expertise of passionate estheticians!!!

G says:
Dec 5, 2014

I highly disagree with everything your saying. God created nature to help us with every need. I’ve been an eczema sufferer my entire life…I’m talking the type that is so flakey, creating its own cuts & water bubbles! I have tried EVERYTHING (expensive visits to doctors/dermatologists, prescription drugs/treatments, over the counter drugs & store products claiming to “calm” eczema) but I have WASTED all my money because it didn’t do much or nothing at all. Out of my frustration, I did research on organic/natural/holistic ways to heal my skin and homemade recipes have HEALED me! I cant stress how much it has helped! You just have to do your research & get all the right ingredients. Dont listen to anyone telling you otherwise…

Kaitlyn Pham says:
Dec 8, 2014

I do not agree with this article. I’ve been dealing with acne for several years, grabbing products from Clearisal to Neutrogena. Name a cosmetic Skincare brand and I’ve probably heard or it/or used it in the past. None of the “#1 dermatologist recommended brand”s have saved my oily acne-prone skin. After several years I finally decided “Okay. Obviously all these chemicals are just worsening my skin. Maybe I’ll try the natural products that are all the rage now.” My first product: Organic Olive Oil. The next day? A nearly acne free face and a smile so big. And it took one night of olive oil to give me results that tons of chemically produced products couldnt give me over a series of years. It seriously cannot get any better than that. I do agree with the citric acids part however. Citric acids do supply the skin with all the vitamin C but skin is not made to indulge all the acids. So, like you said, use some water and mix.

Abby says:
Jan 15, 2015

I agree with certain points you made, I have seen some pretty crazy diy recipes like toothpaste for black heads and aspirin as a face mask but not all naturel recipes are bad. I for instance make all my own beauty products after resourcing each ingredient and I think it’s reassuring to know what exactly is going onto my skin.

E. Lynne says:
Jan 4, 2016

Obviously you shouldn’t be stupid about diy recipes.
That’s why I avoid acidic or irritating ingredients in my diy products, and make small tester batches. I pay attention to how my skin is affected and don’t sand off my skin with salt scrubs (which you use in the shower so it dissolves as you go). And not put very hot things on my face – I think you may be cherry picking your evidence here by referencing the extreme and dramatic cases.
Things like face and body wash, toner, scrubs, moisturizers and lotions, bath soaks and skin masks – are so much cheaper to make myself, and more customizable.
I know my skin. But what I don’t know is if my new face wash won’t make me break out terribly, or just increase oil production. And that’s my money down the drain if the store doesn’t accept used returns. Most of my diys share a lot of ingredients, cutting down on costs and allowing me to combine ingredients I understand. I’m a cook, not a chemist. And in my own kitchen I know my food doesn’t contain anything that might set off my food intolerances.

And yes, I read the appropriate scientific journals to make sure yogurt on the face isn’t quackery.
While I do agree that DIYers should be informed about the materials they use, cautious, and skeptical about possible false claims, some natural remedies have endured for a reason. I have had far more bad reactions with commercial formulas than my DIYs (with the exception of the lemongrass eo mistaken for lavender accident).

I think your argument is flawed because of the audience you’re speaking to. If we don’t want to shell out money just for drugstore products, what makes you think can afford/are inclined to spend more money on a product that may be beautifully formulated – for someone else’s skin.

Teresa says:
Jun 7, 2016

Hi Lynn, How to take care of your skin is a personal decision. I will say this. Putting your skin under the trained experience and care of a licensed esthetician can make the difference between a client getting personalized attention and help for their skin that they can’t achieve on their own.

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