Weird But Popular Beauty Trends That Are Actually Incredibly Dangerous

Scotch tape. Glitter tongues. The list goes on.

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Trends come and go. We’re not sure why some of them “come” in the first place, but they usually “go” for good reasons.

Sometimes we look back on old photos of ourselves and wonder why we ever thought that “daring” haircut was anything but awful. In that case, though, the hair grew back. No harm, no foul. In fact, that awful hair trend just might be back in by next summer, and we can post our #TBT pics on social media to prove we thought of it first.

But it seems like some beauty trends these days are much less innocent than bright blue eyeshadow or all-over body glitter. Some are straight-up dangerous. Even worse, we usually don’t figure that out until we’re already bleeding, on fire, or just plain humiliated.

Such home remedies are best avoided.

Don’t be that person. Check out this list of dangerous beauty trends that have been making waves lately. If you haven’t tried them yet, well, maybe just don’t. And if you have experimented with them already, it’s time to stop.

Scotch Tape, eyeballs, you get the drill.

With degrees in medicine and science of clinical dermatology, and years of training, Sonam Yadav knows a thing or two about skin safety. Yadav, medical director of New Delhi’s Juverne aesthetic medicine clinic (basically non-surgical plastic surgery), says she’s heard of some clients using Scotch Tape under their eyes to get rid of under-eye bags.

“Some doctors even got on the bandwagon and started preaching this quick fix to eye bags,” she says.

You’re supposed to apply the tape under your eyes, peel it off, and then use a moisturizing eyelid serum. At least, that’s the idea. We don’t recommend you try it.

Yadav says that while the technique may technically sort of work (because tape exfoliates and serum hydrates), it’ll actually harm your tender tissues even more.

“The skin around the eyes is delicate,” she says. “Such home remedies are best avoided.”

She says some people also use the tape overnight to prevent wrinkles. That doesn’t work.

“Glue and chemicals galore, too,” she points out. “Avoid.”

Think nothing’s worse than nose hairs? This is.

You might not think it’s such a big deal to rip out the stray nose hair or two with a pair of tweezers. Yadav disagrees.

“This is horribly painful and one can wonder why anyone would dare to attempt this,” she says. “However, it does happen. I’ve had a hairy male patient come by for treatment of terrible painful boils inside the nose from having tried to pluck some offensive nose hair.”

That doesn’t mean you have to let those hairs grow down to your chin, though. In fact, we’ll go out on a limb and say that you should not grow nose hairs any longer than they absolutely have to be. Yadav says that it’s cool to trim your nostrils; just don’t pluck.

Using a small pair of scissors, she says, or an electric trimmer designed for the nose are much safer options.

Oddly enough, “nostril hair extensions” are another recent fad that has taken Instagram by storm. Not dangerous per sey, but definitely bizarre.

Glitter really is just for external use, folks.

Back in August 2017, Melbourne-based makeup artist Jacinta Vukovic was attempting a glitter look on her lips when she accidentally got some on her tongue.

Vukovic posted the look to her Instagram, stating, “I thought I would embrace (the glitter tongue) and make it the main focus!”

Shortly after, Instagram blew up with posts of #glittertongue.

The problem is that—surprise, surprise—most glitter is not edible. It’s made of plastic, which you really can’t digest (unless you are a wax worm, apparently). This is not a substance you want entering your digestive tract.

Even if you try to scrape it all off when you’re finished, you’re bound to swallow some. We all know how impossible it is to clean up glitter after an innocent craft session; good luck getting it out of your mouth.

If you’re really intent on trying the glitter tongue look for some reason, make sure you use an edible glitter that’s FDA approved. (And yes, that is a thing that exists—sort of.)

According to the agency’s advisory, some decorative glitters are promoted for food when they shouldn’t be. If it’s edible, the company is required to list the ingredients. If you don’t see ingredients, don’t put it in your mouth.

And while we’re at it, we should probably mention the Passion Dust craze. Just don’t.

Anything “medical” and “budget” are two words you really don’t want to see together.

This one can get very serious, very quickly.

Many providers are certainly practicing in the dark.

MJ Rowland-Warmann, member of the Joint Dental Faculties of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, is a dental and medical aesthetics practitioner at Smileworks, based in Liverpool. She says she’s seen a dramatic increase recently in young people who go to hair salons for budget lip filler treatments. Yep, we just said “budget” and “lip filler” in the same horrifying sentence.

Lip filler treatments, Rowland-Warmann says, are also referred to as dermal fillers, and they’re made from a sugar-type substance that’s naturally found as a hydrating molecule of the skin. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, these days the sugars are synthetically produced, she says, in order to have the right consistency and longevity to act as fillers and plump parts of the facial anatomy.

As for the recent popularity of big lips, Rowland-Warmann points to celebrities like Kylie Jenner who have had lip augmentation. “Kylie Jenner’s large lips suit her face, and they seem relatively well done,” she says. “However, some of the faces I’ve lately seen in glossy magazines and on social media have clearly received a less than favorable result.”

Rowland-Warmann says that even when applied by a qualified and registered medical professional, dermal fillers still pose some (usually minor—usually) risks. For example, the client could experience bruising, swelling, tissue damage, and the appearance of lumps. Usually these side effects, if they even do occur, can be managed by a doctor, surgeon, or dentist who has the appropriate training, she says.

“The more experience I get, the more I appreciate the risks and plan for them,” she says. “But ignorance is bliss. And many providers are certainly practicing in the dark.”

Any complications can develop into much more severe outcomes.

The problem is that unlicensed practitioners, such as hair stylists, are performing dermal fillers now. Going the discount route may be tempting for many young people, who may be on a budget. This may not surprise you, but unlicensed practitioners charge less.

How do you think they keep costs down? One way is by purchasing “off-brand” materials for this procedure, which we hasten to remind you, does involve injecting foreign gunk into your lips. Rowland-Warmann says that, as a dentist, she’s able to buy her products from reputable pharmacies that supply top brands like Allergan, Merz, and Sinclair.

Someone without a license can’t do that, so they end up buying from unregulated sources or through the internet, Rowland-Warmann says. That means you’ve got unlicensed practitioners injecting clients with low-quality—or even counterfeit—products.

“Not only are complications more likely to occur due to the inexperience of the practitioner or their lack of knowledge of facial anatomy, but any complications can develop into much more severe outcomes,” Rowland-Warmann says of this troubling trend. “This is because the practitioner doesn’t know what to do when they occur.”

Bottom line: Go to a licensed practitioner.

“If it involves poking you with a needle, it should most likely be done by a qualified and competent medical professional,” she says. “Read up on their qualifications, do your research, and go to a practice that has a reputation for good, safe service.”

The incredible persistence of a well-defined threat

How far are you willing to go for “beauty”? Well, if you’re among the 55 percent of college students who lie down in the carcinogenic rays of a tanning bed according to a 2014 study, kind of a lot. Dare we say “too much”?

The facts are in, and there’s no debate here, not among serious-minded medical professionals. “Indoor Tanning is Not Safe,” bellows a headline on the Center for Disease Control’s website. “Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps,” asserts the American Cancer Society. “No matter what you may hear at tanning salons, the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer,” says the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Women under the age of 30 who regularly use tanning beds are six times more likely to develop melanoma, researcher DeAnn Lazovich and colleagues found in 2016. For the women aged 30 to 39 who tanned, that risk factor “only” jumped by four times.

That doesn’t sound so bad—until you consider that it’s a 400-percent increase in the chance of developing a cancer that was estimated to already take the lives of nearly 10,000 people in the United States in 2016.

Need we go on?

With odds like that, you’re better off slathering your tongue in glitter. At least the worst that can cause is a spot of constipation, if Glamour magazine is to be believed.

You may be willing to do just about anything for a better Instagram post. We get it. But before you go attacking your own nostrils or getting back-alley plastic surgery, just remember: There’s always Photoshop.