Australian TV star Tilly Whitfeld is going public after a DIY beauty hack gone wrong has left her with permanent facial scars. The 21-year-old reality TV contestant hasn’t publicly shared which beauty hack she tried, but experts say it’s one involving a sewing needle and tattoo ink in an effort to draw on long-lasting freckles.
“For those asking why I have my blue clay face mask on continuously throughout the show this is what my face looked like a week prior to entering the house hence why I always have makeup on and my skin is always covered,” she wrote to her social media followers. “This is the result of attempting to remove scarring I inflicted on myself trying to replicate an at home beauty procedure I saw on a TikTok video 2 months before Big Brother. Who bloody else would manage to do such a thing?”
“Using sewing needles to break the skin with tattoo ink to dye the skin can be extremely harmful to one’s skin and dangerous,” says says Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill when asked about the trending DIY freckle treatment. “The skin on the face is very sensitive and delicate. Breaking the skin with sewing needles can cause scarring and infections. In addition, using tattoo ink can cause a risk of an allergic reaction. This DIY beauty procedure can cause deep scarring and dark pigmentation.”
“Bacteria can enter these areas and wreak havoc,” adds Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD. “Additionally, just the idea of creating ‘freckles’ is challenging as well. Freckles are a sign of sun damage and the covering of normal skin that is at risk of issues later in life with a tattoo such as this is concerning. I hope that she has sought care from a board-certified dermatologist who can help her with the care she needs. It could make the difference between life-long scarring and a chance to heal.”
For her part, Whitfeld does not want anyone else to undergo the emotional and physical turmoil she has gone through, including a temporary loss of eyesight due to the trauma to her face. “Please please don’t try any ‘DIY’ or ‘at home’ beauty procedures,” she cautioned in her post. “I ended up in hospital with temporary loss of vision in my eye due to swelling and was very sick from the infection, not to mention my face was somewhat unrecognizable. Leave it to the professionals.”
“I would advise anyone else in such an unfortunate DIY situation to seek professional help as quickly as possible to help minimize the risks of infection, pigmentation and permanent scarring,” adds Greenwich, CT dermatologist Lynne Haven, MD.
Dr. Longwill concurs: “It is best to refrain from all DIY home treatments. It is more likely that you will do more harm than good. If you have a skin concern it is best to visit your local dermatologistsoffice and have your dermatologist recommend a treatment by a professional.”
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