Now I love DIY hacks on Pinterest as much as the next girl. They save money, are fun to do and sometimes they even work better than a store-bought version. I know that when I have at-home spa parties with my friends, I find lots of Pinterest recipes for scrubs and masks. They’re easy to do, as most of the ingredients are already in my kitchen.

However, a lot of these things aren’t meant explicitly for DIY spa treatments, and it can be hard to tell what is helpful and what is harmful. Because let’s be honest, some of the things that are natural and healthy in one context, do not belong on your skin and in particular the delicate skin of your face. Here are some ingredients that I see commonly in recipes for facial scrubs, body scrubs and masks for skin that can be damaging and should not be used.

If you’re making a mask with something that isn’t on this list, be safe and do research before applying it to your face.

  1. Baking soda


Baking soda should never be used on the skin, particularly if you’re mixing a facial scrub or mask. A lot of recipes call for it because the tiny particles are similar in consistency to those used in exfoliating products, but that isn’t why baking soda is bad for skin. The reason why it shouldn’t be used is its pH. Baking soda is very alkaline at a pH of 9, while the skin has a pH of 4-4.5. The higher pH will dry out skin and disrupt the barrier that keeps bacteria out

  1. Sugar


This may be surprising as some scrubs marketed for the face contain sugar granules, but sugar should not be used on facial skin. The large crystals are too sharp and abrasive for fragile skin, and while sugar can be used in scrubs meant for thicker skin on your body, they should never be used on your face. The sharp edges create cuts in thin facial skin that are microscopic, but even though the tears can’t be seen by the naked eye, they still cause damage. They allow bacteria to get in and cause infection, and can even cause premature aging. It will also draw out moisture of the surrounding areas, drying skin. Salt has the same effect.

  1. Lemon Juice


Lemon juice is another common ingredient in DIY spa recipes. The problem with lemon juice is its acidity. It’s the opposite of baking soda at a pH of 2. This is about the same pH as stomach acid. Many dentists will tell you that lemon juice is powerful enough to wear away tooth enamel. So if it’s that strong, it has to be able to damage fragile skin. Not only is lemon juice irritating to skin, it’s also phototoxic. When exposed to sunlight, it can cause painful chemical burns that are painful and leave scars.

  1. Raw Eggs


Raw Eggs are often seen as a mask ingredient either on their own or for mixing to tighten and firm the skin. And while they do contain a lot of protein, raw eggs are not good for anti-aging masks. This is mostly because when mixed with other ingredients, there is nothing to preserve the egg and as a result, it’s proteins will begin to unfold. When used alone, the egg is less dangerous, but still shouldn’t be used. Why? You aren’t supposed to eat raw eggs because of the risk of diseases like salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, listeria and others. Your skin absorbs more than your stomach, so whatever you put on it will get into your body. Stay safe and avoid raw eggs.

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