When it comes to my beauty routine, I don’t DIY. Despite the recent influx of at-home treatments sweeping the Internet, I’ve never really been drawn to the idea of mixing up my own batch of skin-care products. The idea of slathering ingredients typically found in my favorite chip dip all over my face just makes me feel…hungry, if anything.
So, unsurprisingly, when I came across a video tutorial of a make-it-yourself tomato and sugar face scrub, my initial reaction was something along the lines of “meh.” The clip, made by beauty blogger Tanutalks, originally surfaced in 2016, but has since picked up steam on YouTube, now garnering more than 3.2 million views.
The tutorial features Tanutalks cutting open a tomato, extracting its juice, and then dousing it in granulated sugar. From there, the vlogger begins to scrub her face with the makeshift exfoliator. And while the process seems safe enough — sugar is a natural exfoliant and tomatoes have astringent properties and are rich in vitamin A — something about the whole thing felt a little fishy. To find out if my instincts were right, I reached out to New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner for his expert insight.
“Sugar scrubs help the skin in two ways: First, the sugar grains themselves gently physically exfoliate the skin, and second, sugar is a natural source of alpha hydroxy acids, which dissolve the connections between dead skin cells on the outer skin layer to exfoliate them,” he tells Allure. “Tomatoes are a natural source of a variety of antioxidants, including lycopene, which helps calm inflamed skin and protects it from free-radical damage.”
Okay, so far so good, right? Not exactly, says Zeichner. “This do-it-yourself treatment may help exfoliate, but I caution people with sensitive skin against using it,” he warns. “Tomatoes are quite acidic and may cause irritation of sensitive skin.” In order to avoid unplanned inflammation, your safest bet is to stick with products specifically formulated to exfoliate.