“A new patient sought medical care at my office after self-injecting hyaluronic acid serum into her cheeks at home. She had watched a video on YouTube about how to do this,” she says. “She caused infection, inflammation, and scarring in her skin. We had to treat her with antibiotics and oral prednisone.” And to make matters even worse, this patient used topical hyaluronic acid for her injections, which is critically different than injectable hyaluronic acid.
“Injectable [hyaluronic acid] is a sterile product which has undergone FDA testing and approval as a medical device and is specifically manufactured by pharmaceutical companies for injection,” explains Dr. Casey. “Topical [hyaluronic acid] is not subject to these same FDA regulations, and a topical [hyaluronic acid] serum in a bottle is not a sterile product.”
Though she was able to treat the infection and inflammation, Dr. Casey notes the patient did have some permanent scarring.
A Staph Infection from At-Home Dermaplaning
In the hands of a professional skin-care provider, dermaplaning can do wonders for the skin. Using a razor or surgical scalpel to shave the face “removes the fine vellus hairs on the face along with a small amount of the stratum corneum (the top layer of your skin),” explains Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based board-certified dermatologist. “It can give the immediate appearance of clearer, glowing skin – as if you’d just had a chemical peel.”
While Dr. Maguiness explains that dermaplaning is “likely safe to do at home for individuals with normal skin, using a sterile, new, dermaplaning razor device,” not everyone’s skin is suitable for this technique. She would not recommend an at-home treatment for anyone who “struggles with acne, rosacea, eczema, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or other conditions that can lead to comedones, pustules, inflammation or bumps on the skin.” In such cases, dermaplaning can backfire and lead to long-term effects.
Dr. Maguiness has observed multiple cases where dermaplaning backfired, “resulting in inflamed, acne-like bumps, ingrown hairs, and secondary bacterial infection. These kind of complications can take months and different topical therapies to manage and may result in hyperpigmentation.”
For those those with acne, rosacea, eczema or those prone to hyperpigmentation, Dr. Maguiness stresses that “dermaplaning may cause a lot of problems… The close shaving can traumatize the hair follicles and leave microabrasions in the skin, which can be a set up for infection and ingrown hairs, or worsening of acne.”
A Lemon Juice Peel Gone Wrong
Using lemons is a widespread ingredient in at-home skin-care “hacks” shared on social media (looking at you, Pinterest). The line of thinking is that vitamin C is good for your skin, and lemons have loads of vitamin C. Therefore, lemons = great for your skin. Sure, lemons may be a great addition to your diet, but not so much for topical application.