Burning Face Mask & Sugar Scrubs


You guys, is it OK if we stand guard and chase you out of the kitchen with wooden spoons? This trend  of slapping anything and everything in the kitchen cupboards on your face is seriously getting out of control. I’m a lover of Pinterest too (ask me about my homemade pickles!) but we can’t keep putting cookie ingredients on our faces.

We’ve compiled the most offending Internet Information that we can (this week, at least), with the aim to set you straight on it. Remember, if you have questions about something specific, ask us at ask@skincareaddicts.com.

The Burning Face Mask

The recipe: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

What the internet says: This mask claims to reduce uneven skin tone, reduce acne scars, reduce pore size, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and aid in glowing skin. Holy smokes is that a laundry list of accomplishments. Somebody nominate this mask for a Nobel Peace Prize! For real though, if this mask does even half of what it says, that’s pretty flippin’ amazing. Unfortunately … to us Addicts this just sounds like a  fantastic topping for cheesecake. (Save me a slice, would ya, Lisa?)

What the science says: We already know that honey is antibacterial and a great humectant.  But that’s where this mask’s benefits begin and end. If anything, everything else it does is a direct response to the horrific volatile oils in this monster mash mask. First off, lemon juice has phototoxic compounds in its juice and peel; phototoxic compounds cause gruesome burning when in contact with sunlight (literally any amount of sunlight).1 Not to mention it’s at an extremely low pH of 2-3 so it’s butchering your lipid barrier, too.2 Next you have cinnamon and nutmeg, which are highly, highly irritating to the skin.3 Anyone remember that awful cinnamon challenge? And how basically no one could complete it? (And if they did, they had horrible burns in their mouth and throat for weeks anyway?) Well that’s what cinnamon is doing to your skin – burning it like a drunk frat boy trying to impress his buddies. Check out what happened to one redditor’s skin when she used cinnamon conditioner:

The Addicts repeat: Just because it’s in your kitchen, and is OK to eat does not make it safe for your skin.

Now, the nutmeg is a special one. It’s actually pretty dangerous to use – it can be used as an abortifacient,4 anticholinergic,5 and even as a psychoactive compound.6 Which should clue you in to the strength of this little spice. These dangers are all attributed to consumption, but, honestly, how many of us haven’t licked some mask off of their face while they waited to wash it off? It’s not worth it. And this isn’t even touching the coarse, abrasive nature of the roughly ground nutmeg, scratching up your skin something fierce.

Possible side effects: Besides wanting pumpkin pie? (The spice must flow, y’all. It is October.) Let’s start with burning (and no matter what your mama told you, this is a bad thing), redness, contact dermatitis, rashes, allergic responses, nausea, dizziness, and the list goes on and on and on.

Would I put it on Melinda’s [The Sensitive One’s] face?: Yeah, maybe if I wanted a swift kick to the ovaries and a swirlie so hateful, mermaids would shudder in pain. Just the idea of smearing nutmeg near her delicate skin is enough to make me consider entering witness protection.

Addict Approved Alternatives: With everything this mask claims to do, you actually can use something that should get you these kinds of results. Do you know what it is??? I’ll give you a stiff jeopardy minute. Ready? An AHA! Yes, an AHA will, in fact, reduce uneven skin tone, reduce acne scarring, minimize pore size (by cleaning out the gunk – pores don’t actually shrink on command), reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and brighten skin. Yes. An AHA can do all of this. I know, pretty impressive, right? Why don’t you give Paula’s Choice 10% glycolic acid AHA weekly treatment a go? Or maybe Alpha Hydrox’s glycolic acid Swipes? You’ll be so happy you did.

Sugar Scrubs

The recipe: Blah blah blah + sugar

What the internet says: Nothing special – it’s a standard, ‘cheap’ physical exfoliant. Unless y’all know of a guy telling the ‘net that sugar is actually unicorn dust, this one truly is a simple one.

What the science says: Again, nothing to report. Physical exfoliation is a totally valid way to take care of your skin (ensuring, of course, that you’re watching for irritation and not going totally crazy with it).8

Possible side effects: You could possibly over exfoliate – but this is a concern with all physical exfoliants. Keep its use to a couple times a week and you’re golden.

Would I put it on Kristy’s face?: Actually yeah, I would. Her skin is pretty hardy and a sugar scrub isn’t bad for skin (unless you overdo it or have sensitive skin or active acne). Sugar scrubs are great if you love a physical exfoliant, but we Addicts do love us a good acid to exfoliate. Oh glycolic acid… why can’t I quit you?

Addict Approved Alternatives: Equal parts brown sugar and an oil your skin likes are a great start. You can even use a Clarisonic (with a cream cleanser, not with a sugar scrub!) since it’s also a good physical exfoliant. But in case no one has mentioned this (hint: we have totally mentioned it),  these can be overdone, and they’re nowhere near as gentle as a chemical exfoliant.


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