WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Australian TV star Tilly Whitfeld warned her fans about a DIY freckle trend on TikTok.
- In a recent Instagram post, Whitfield said the ‘beauty hack’ left her with scarring and pigmentation.
- Dermatologists agree that “even ink that has been designed for the skin can create an allergic reaction in some people.”
Australian television star Tilly Whitfeld is telling her followers to “leave it to the professionals” instead of attempting viral beauty hacks, after her own DIY experience failed.
Back in May, Whitfeld, 21, explained that she often appeared on Australian Big Brother with a blue clay face mask to cover a patchy red reaction on her cheeks and nose. It was “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,” the reality star wrote alongside several Instagram selfies and close-ups of her complexion.
“Please please don’t try any ‘DIY’ or ‘at home’ beauty procedures. 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 🌈🦄✨” Whitfeld shared, adding that the photos show “deep below surface level scaring and dark pigmentation.”
The Big Brother star did not reveal which of the many viral TikTok beauty hacks caused the reaction at the time, but in a new interview with the New York Times, Whitfeld said it was the result of attempting to give herself freckles.
The controversial trend takes popular faux freckles (applied with henna, an eyebrow pencil or even products specifically created to give natural-looking spots) one step further by using sewing needles to prick yourself with ink. If it goes as expected, the results should “fade within six months,” according to the NYT.
The video Whitfeld came across reportedly did not specify what type of ink to get, so she ordered brown tattoo ink from eBay.
It didn’t hurt at all, so I didn’t think I should stop,” Whitfeld told the outlet. She later discovered the ink she purchased was a counterfeit product with “high levels of lead in it,” according to the NYT, and has since spent nearly $12,000 on doctor’s visits to correct the scarring.
She has yet to find a solution. “The main response has been that I’m stupid, and, yeah, I agree,” Whitfeld said.
Dermatologists agree that the trend is extremely risky. “This is concerning,” says Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, expressing particular concern about an unsanitary application or a reaction to the ink. “Placing ink in a permanent or semi-permanent location in the skin could create big problems if that ink isn’t designed to be injected or deposited in the skin,” Fenton adds. “You could develop some type of allergic reaction to the ink.”
Although some are taking a safer route by dabbing on henna ink, Fenton says that’s still dangerous. “Even ink that has been designed for the skin can create an allergic reaction in some people — in some circumstances, this can lead to surgical excision to remove the ink,” says Fenton. “Henna would not necessarily prevent the risk because the infection could come from the needle or other sources, regardless of the type of ink. If the henna, the needle or the skin are not properly sterilized, it can lead to infection.”