Are DIY Skin Care Procedures Safe — And Do They Even Work?

From DIY microneedling to home­made Botox, here are 5 skin pro­ce­dures that you shouldn’t try on your own.

You’ve been think­ing about get­ting Botox or try­ing microneedling to get rid of those stub­born wrin­kles. You plan on mak­ing an appoint­ment, but an ad sud­den­ly pops up for an at-home solu­tion that promis­es to smooth out wrin­kles once and for all, for half the price. 

The thought of solv­ing your wrin­kle prob­lem from the com­fort of your couch might be tempt­ing. But this is one of those cas­es where if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it’s real­ly not true. 

There are many types of skin pro­ce­dures, from those that make your skin smooth to those that remove unwant­ed tat­toos, that should nev­er be attempt­ed at home. Try­ing cer­tain pro­ce­dures on your own can be not only inef­fec­tive, but also down­right dangerous. 

Here are 5 skin pro­ce­dures that are best left to the experts. 

At-Home Microneedling

Microneedling uses tiny nee­dles to punc­ture your skin and cre­ate small injuries called micro-injuries.” Your body responds by pro­duc­ing the pro­teins col­la­gen and elastin to heal the holes and keep your skin smooth and firm. Microneedling can even out your skin tone and tex­ture and make wrin­kles or scars less noticeable. 

The process is quick and sim­ple for providers (about 30 min­utes to an hour), but that doesn’t mean it’s some­thing to try on your own. 

Home microneedling kits are not meant to pen­e­trate your skin very far, so they are less effec­tive. Microneedling at home can also be dan­ger­ous. You might acci­den­tal­ly pierce your skin, which could then lead to infec­tions or leave scars. It’s also pos­si­ble to spread virus­es like her­pes and warts across dif­fer­ent areas of your skin. 

Also read: What is Microneedling?

Chem­i­cal Peels 

Chem­i­cal peels are a method of exfo­li­a­tion — remov­ing dead skin cells. They are usu­al­ly used on the face to tar­get scars, dis­col­ored skin, and wrinkles. 

Even though we rec­om­mend going to the office for any chem­i­cal peel, you may be able to do a light one at home. But when it comes to the med­ical-grade chem­i­cal peels — the medi­um and deep ones — skip the over-the-counter kits. 

Deep­er peels typ­i­cal­ly con­tain a blend of acids, and home kits can con­tain much more than the rec­om­mend­ed amounts. For exam­ple, the FDA only rec­om­mends using home peels that con­tain trichloroacetic acid when the acid con­cen­tra­tion is 10% or less. How­ev­er, there are home” kits that have con­cen­tra­tions as high as 100%. With so much acid, you could dam­age your skin, have intense pain, or get acid in your eyes. 

Sched­ule a skin pro­ce­dure at Duly Aes­thet­ics. If you have con­cerns about your skin health, you can also make an appoint­ment with a Duly Health and Care der­ma­tol­o­gist

BOTOX®and Der­mal Filler Injections

Injec­tions like BOTOX®and der­mal fillers (sub­stances that make your skin look smoother and fuller) are among the most well-known meth­ods for fight­ing visu­al signs of aging, like wrinkles. 

The FDA has approved sev­er­al injec­tions as safe for use by med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. There are cur­rent­ly no FDA-approved injectable fillers that have been deemed safe for at-home use. 

One of the more dan­ger­ous trends is buy­ing chem­i­cals and mate­ri­als online to attempt to make home­made Botox and fillers. Many mate­ri­als come from oth­er coun­tries and are coun­ter­feit or mis­la­beled, so you don’t always know what you’re putting in your body. This can lead to seri­ous com­pli­ca­tions, from infec­tions to lumps and swelling to severe­ly dam­aged skin. The poten­tial com­pli­ca­tions from do-it-your­self injec­tions are no joke — a home­made injec­tion can make your skin die and fall off, leav­ing you look­ing disfigured. 

Final­ly, be care­ful about so-called Botox par­ties,” where peo­ple gath­er in a home or hotel to get Botox as a group event. These par­ties can be pret­ty risky — even though Illi­nois law requires that only licensed med­ical pro­fes­sion­als can admin­is­ter Botox, the per­son giv­ing the injec­tions at the par­ty might not have as much expe­ri­ence. The room where you’re get­ting the injec­tions might not be as clean as a med­ical set­ting, and there won’t always be addi­tion­al med­ical pro­fes­sion­als on hand in case some­thing goes wrong. 

Acne Extrac­tions

Acne might seem like the bane of every adolescent’s exis­tence, but acne can actu­al­ly affect peo­ple of all ages — and if you’re 35 and are get­ting pim­ples or clogged pores, you might be look­ing for a way to get rid of them ASAP. 

There are sev­er­al over-the-counter top­i­cal creams and wash­es that are gen­er­al­ly safe to use. But if those don’t work, turn to a pro­fes­sion­al rather than try to extract it your­self. Although it can be tempt­ing and even sat­is­fy­ing, avoid pop­ping acne at all costs. Pop­ping pim­ples, black­heads, or white­heads can leave per­ma­nent scars and lead to even more acne or infection. 

If you don’t want to wait it out or if top­i­cal treat­ments aren’t work­ing, have a pro­fes­sion­al remove your acne. And if you have recur­ring or over­ly stub­born acne, it may be time for a vis­it with a dermatologist. 

DIY Tat­too Removal 

Laser treat­ments are the main method of tat­too removal. There are also a few oth­er tech­niques, such as sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures and chem­i­cal peels. 

All of these meth­ods can be effec­tive if per­formed by a trained professional. 

What’s not usu­al­ly effec­tive is try­ing to remove a tat­too by your­self. Not only do the creams and kits not get the job done — they can also severe­ly dam­age your skin. Many con­tain strong acids that can cause rash­es, burns, and per­ma­nent scars. And no at-home tat­too removal treat­ments have been approved by the US Food & Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA). 

Also, ignore the social media videos that try to sell you on using at-home sal­abra­sion — rub­bing salt into raw skin to scrub off ink. Sal­abra­sion is excep­tion­al­ly painful and can cause seri­ous infections. 

Also read: Tat­too Removal

Bot­tom line: If you need a skin pro­ce­dure, your first stop should always be a med­ical pro­fes­sion­al so that it can be as safe and effec­tive as possible. 

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