By now, you probably know that TikTok is a pretty wild place. It’s the time-suck social media platform that has inspired beautiful makeup looks, addicting dancing routines, unique recipes, and more (via BuzzFeed). But what TikTok is perhaps best known for is creating intriguing, but occasionally downright bizarre skincare trends. Well, if you find yourself scrolling down the “For You” page, chances are you’ll find people putting this very unexpected vegetable on their faces; any guesses what it is?
It’s a potato.
People on TikTok have been rubbing potatoes onto their skin in the hopes of reducing acne, believing that this vitamin- and nutrient-rich veg has been the missing ingredient to their skincare routine all along. Other theories suggest that the starches in the potatoes “soothe inflammation and absorb oil,” and that its Vitamin C “helps minimize the risk of developing dark spots as a pimple resolves” (via Byrdie). So is there any truth to this wild skincare idea?
Here's what a professional dermatologist thinks of this wild trend
According to Boston-based dermatopathologist Gretchen Frieling, potatoes might have the ability to target cytokines, which are molecules that have been shown to worsen acne. “[Additional studies] have led researchers to find that potato glycoalkaloids and other chemical compounds have the potential to reduce cytokines and inflammation,” Freiling explained to Byrdie.
But that doesn’t mean you should rush and start taping potatoes to your skin and leaving them on overnight, as many TikTok users seem to be doing. And in addition, Frieling points out that it’s possible that the results we’re seeing on TikTok might be completely anecdotal. But, if you’re dying to give the trend a shot, this is how Frieling suggests going about it: First, she strongly suggests washing the potato with the skin on; this is important, as washing the potato after you peel it washes away its beneficial properties.
In fact, a potato used for this skincare hack is never washed, as the “starchy juice” is what’s most valuable. After washing and peeling the potato, Frieling says to cut the spud into round slices, about a half-inch thick. Then, rub the potato slices on your face (after you’ve cleansed it like normal). She recommends leaving the “starchy juice” on for 10 minutes, and then washing it away. However, if “you feel stinging or itching, wash it off right away” (per Byrdie).
The takeaway? Don't believe everything you see on social media
Despite some TikTok users standing by their potato-driven results, not everyone is convinced it would actually work. Clinical dermatologist and viral TikToker, Dr. Muneeb Shah, gave his two cents on the potato debate. “Ultimately, there’s no science to say that it would be effective,” he told Dazed Digital. “That’s not to say that it’s not effective; there are plenty of things that we don’t study […] Nobody’s going to be very invested in putting the money and resources behind a clinical study studying potatoes being taped to your head.”
Shah believes that while this conversation is an interesting one, the potato isn’t the most important element of the discussion; indeed, he asserts that potato or no potato, it’s vital that people understand that social media is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to receiving information — especially when it comes to our skin or health (via Dazed Digital).
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