10 Ingredients You Shouldn’t Apply Directly On Your Face

Lately, natural ingredients have been all the rage in skincare, but did you know that some can cause harm to your face? The following ingredients are common household items that should never be directly applied to your face:


This vibrant citrus fruit is known for its lightning qualities. It’s used in fruit salads to prevent apples and bananas from browning, and it can be used to lighten skin in a similar manner. It can be used to treat fungal conditions and decrease the appearance of dark spots, acne damage, freckles, and skin tags (because the Vitamin C it contains decreases melanin). However, this item is also full of citric acid which can burn your skin. If you want to use lemon juice to improve your appearance, dilute it with water or put it in a washcloth so it is not applied directly to your face. Try to avoid sun exposure after using lemon on your face as it can increase your risk of sunburn and skin irritation.

Sugar and Salt

These items are great for exfoliating body scrubs to remove dead skin and leave it looking smooth but too harsh for facial skin. Their abrasiveness can leave the skin on your face feeling (and looking) raw for a while if used to exfoliate it.


Many believe alcohol is useful in getting rid of pimples. In fact, it often has the opposite effect for a number of reasons. It dries the skin out, causing more sebum (the oily substance that causes pimples) to be produced. Alcohol also erodes the dermis (skin layer protecting the body from dirt and germs) making it more likely that your skin will become inflamed by a contaminant and you will get pimples.


This medicine cabinet staple is used to clean and disinfect small cuts and scratches. Some advice using it to lighten skin and reduce the appearance of acne. This works because the oxygen released causes foaming that removes dead skin cells and prevents the formation of acne scars. But using it daily in skincare routines can dry out and irritate the skin, potentially even causing lasting damage.

Baking Soda

This ingredient can be great for exfoliating if used occasionally. Mix it with a little water to make a dry paste and leave it on your face for 10-15 minutes. However, using it too much can cause damage to the skin on your face. This is because baking soda removes the skin’s protective oil barrier, disrupts its pH balance, and interferes with the natural activities of bacteria dwelling on the skin that prevent infection and acne. This will leave skin more vulnerable to inflammation, pimples, and other unsightly blemishes. It can also make the skin look red and dry.


You may have seen advice out there that vinegar will absorb excess oil from your skin and unclog pores, exfoliate skin to create a smoother and more even appearance, and even balance your skin’s pH. Some also say that it can decrease the appearance of skin tags and other pigmentation issues. While it may be useful in small amounts diluted with water, the high acidity of vinegar used on your face on its own will irritate and possibly even burn your skin, causing pigmentation (excessive coloration in affected areas).


This spice rack staple has been recommended for reducing the appearance of pimples, dark spots, and pigmentation. It wards off bacteria, decreases your risk for acne, and protects against inflammation to improve your skin’s overall appearance. However, if you rub cinnamon on your face daily (by itself or in a paste) it’s much more likely that it will eventually dry your skin out and lead to burning and rashes.


Some say applying toothpaste to zits can draw the irritant out quickly and decrease the size of the blemish. Another popular idea is to mix it with tomato juice to brighten the skin. Another possible use is to mix toothpaste, lemon, and an abrasive such as salt or sugar to rub on unwanted facial hair and remove it. It is even suggested that rubbing a small amount on wrinkles, letting them sit overnight, and rinsing them with water will decrease the appearance of wrinkles. However, toothpaste is an abrasive substance and often this will only dry the skin out.In some cases, a mixture of toothpaste, water, and salt applied to the face daily can help decrease the issue of oily skin, but for other skin types, this is not recommended.

Hot Water

Steam is used by many to soften blackheads and make them easier to remove, as well as open pores and improve circulation. But exposing your facial skin to too much hot water (not the same as steam!) will dry it out and destroy its protective barrier, leaving your skin more sensitive. For people with a history of acne, psoriasis, eczema, or keratosis, this is especially harmful.

Hand Lotion

Believe it or not, hand lotion is not ideal for rubbing on your face to make the skin softer. Many believe all types of lotion are the same, but the skin on your hands is much tougher than that on your face, so hand lotion is often too strong for your sensitive facial skin. It contains higher active ingredient concentrations since hands need more moisture than your face, so it can make your facial skin more oily. It’s usually better to use an all-purpose body lotion and save the hand lotion for your hands. With that said, one instance hand lotion may be good for your face is if that skin is exceptionally dry.

The skin on your face is sensitive and needs to be treated well to maintain a good appearance. Since it is such a visible part of the body, any mishaps made caring for your facial skin will be easily noticeable. For these reasons and many others, it is best to use caution when trying new products or otherwise altering your face’s skincare routine.

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