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Debunking beauty hacks

by Sanaya Chavda / Thursday, 02 November 2017


Experts weigh in on some common skin and hair care solutions made popular by bloggers.

You’ve probably seen the YouTube videos or checked the Instagram posts — there are various beauty hacks that bloggers and even models swear by. But while they appear to be an easy and often cheap solution, do they work and can they instead cause damage?


Acne is one of the most common issues that plagues millions of men and women. And while there are many product lines for the same, beauty blogger Huda Kattan suggests turning to a fruit. She wrote, “Just take the peel of a ripe banana, and rub it on your blemish for 10 minutes or so. You’ll see a big difference in your acne, especially after a few days. Why does this work? A lot of reasons! Bananas have so many anti-inflammatories, like vitamin A, zinc, and manganese. The peels are also natural exfoliants to remove toxins and helps to prevent bacterial infections that may contribute to acne. The enzymes help to heal scars and prevent new pimples from popping up, and the starch unclogs your pores.”

Dr Vandana Punjabi, dermatologist and cosmetologist consultant Nanavati Super Specialist feels there is no scientific reason to applying bananas on the face. “In fact, this may irritate or aggravate the acne, in some cases. As a dermatologist, I would advise my acne patients to eat banana and other fruits as they are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. It is advisable to apply retinol or retinoic acid creams to clear the acne and the blemishes,” she says.


Instead of going for expensive facials and clean-ups, beauty vlogger Sukhi Mann says one can eliminate blackheads and whiteheads with a dental floss toothpick. She posted a video showing herself using a hot towel first to open up the pores and then gently using a flosser to get rid of the blackheads. She says, “Take the disposable floss pick and drag it in a scraping motion. This option is cheaper and less likely to scar you than using a metal extractor.”

Dental floss can be used on piled up secretion of whiteheads and blackheads, says Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, MD Skin, consultant dermatologist, Dr Trasi’s Clinic and La Piel. “After steaming for a few minutes, use gentle pressure. Floss tips can help for blackhead removal.” Dr Soma Sarkar, dermatologist and medical director, Skin Inn, however, warns that one should be careful as dental floss is something which normally is not sterile and extracting whiteheads this way can leave permanent scarring on the face.


Your favourite aerated drink may have some beauty use too. A couple of years ago, model Suki Waterhouse revealed she used Coca Cola on her tresses at times. She said, “I don’t like my hair when it’s washed — it’s fine and limp — but Coca-Cola makes it tousled, like I’ve gone through the Amazon or something.” Other beauty bloggers have also experimented with their strands and liked the texture it gives.

Dr Soma Sarkar feels cola can add waves and volume as it contains sugar, which adds to the fullness. “The phosphoric acid which has a very low pH tightens the cuticle, which makes the hair look smoother and the curls tighter,” she adds.


Frequent manicures and pedicures, as well as use of gel nail polish can weaken nails over time. Many suggest adding a teaspoon of chopped garlic into your base coat and applying it to strengthen them.

Dr Vandana Punjabi says for strong nails, it is good to focus on a diet rich in iron, protein and calcium, “ A supplement advised by your dermatologist will also help in strengthening brittle nails. It is always better to avoid too much contact with water, strong detergents and irritants like onion, garlic, chillies etc as these may damage the nail folds and further worsen the problem,” she says.


Despite women’s fear that shaved hair will grow back faster, darker or coarser, many are turning to razors for soft, glowing skin. Also known as dermaplaning, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor would use a razor to shave the fuzz of their face and achieve smoother, exfoliated skin.

Dr Geeta Fazalbhoy Dermatologist founder of Skin and You Clinic says shaving the face does not increase hair growth if followed by laser hair removal. “This is a safe technique for hair removal but can sometimes leave skin with boils and dryness. Remember to wash the skin well before shaving and apply a mild moisturiser. Also, shave along the hair growth always,” she adds.