Another week, another viral TikTok hack that claims to have transformative powers over common skin gripes. While some aren't that effective (repurposing glycolic acid as deodorant), others have become firm fixtures in our skincare routines. Take skin icing for example, which boasts fans like Victoria Beckham, and the easy blackhead removal hack that even industry experts rate.
This time, TikTok's beauty enthusiasts are obsessed with another DIY skin trick, which is rumoured to banish dark under-eye circles, wrinkles and pigmentation, and tackle acne. Enter: the banana skin facial.
What is TikTok's banana skin hack and why has it gone viral?
You're probably thinking, But banana skin is meant for the compost heap, not your face. That may well be (we'll bring you more from a skin expert later) but TikTok's anecdotes are proving pretty convincing. In a video which has amassed 633.3k views and counting, beauty, makeup and skincare enthusiast Terri Mlotek explains how banana peel supposedly supports your skin.
"Bet your mother didn't teach you this one," she says. "Did you know that banana peels are great for your skin, especially dark circles under your eyes? Take the white fibres from inside the banana peel and scrape them out," she instructs. "Take the fibres just like that and mix it with aloe. If you don't have aloe, use your favourite moisturiser." Terri proceeds to combine the ingredients and suggests gently tapping the mixture under your eyes, leaving it on for five to 10 minutes, then rinsing off. She claims that the potassium in the banana helps reduce dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, and says the hack (which she recommends practising two or three times a week) is also great for acne.
The comments are interesting to say the least, with Terri's followers attesting to the magic. "My mom does this faithfully every night," wrote one, while another said their skin glows afterwards. Since Terri posted her viral video, others have followed suit. @annalovesu cuts her banana peel into small eye mask shapes and places them underneath her eyes before following with eye cream and concealer, while @simplybysimone has posted a rather persuasive before and after video using banana skin in a similar way.
Does banana skin have skincare benefits and can it remove dark circles, wrinkles, pigmentation and acne?
"It won't do you any harm," says Claire Williams, skin specialist and founder of WOW Facial. "Actually," she continues, "bananas have many great vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and iron, which are ingredients known to have benefits on the skin." However, Claire says, it is highly unlikely that they will have any ability to make changes to the skin in their raw form.
"There are also acids in bananas, which are beneficial to the skin," says Claire, "but the pH of these acids isn't low enough to create deep exfoliation," like specially formulated skincare products containing acids. If you're looking for exfoliating effects, Claire rates glycolic and mandelic acid. "They soften and deeply exfoliate skin," she says, making them great for acne-prone skin, "all while treating sun damage and pigmentation."
Interestingly, actual banana skin does have one good benefit. According to Dr Karan Raj, a TikTok influencer and doctor working in the NHS, it's great for treating itchy insect bites. "If you've got a bug bite, try the humble banana," he says in a video. "Press the inside, fleshy bit of a banana peel against the itchy area. This relieves itching because banana peel contains salicylic acid: a compound which reduces inflammation; the same compound is found in aspirin." He adds: "It also contains natural oils and antioxidants like vitamin E, which help to reduce histamine release." Vitamin E is also a great moisturising ingredient often found in rich face creams and body lotions.
In terms of being an effective skincare ingredient? Claire thinks it's simply a passing trend.
Does TikTok's banana peel hack actually work?
As someone who is self-conscious about dark circles (thanks, genetics) and new fine lines, this hack spoke to me. I bought a bunch of bananas the very next day. On my first attempt, I chose a semi-ripe banana, scraped the mushy part away from the peel and mixed it with a little eye cream. As I applied the concoction, I became aware of the smell, which was quite sour and not at all pleasant. I persisted but the texture (sticky yet chalky) put me off. As you might have expected, leaving it on for 10 minutes did nothing to minimise my dark circles and fine wrinkles. I tried it another two times during the week but didn't see much of a difference.
I decided to improvise on my fourth attempt and cut out some makeshift eye masks from the peel. I popped them in the freezer for a couple of hours and placed them underneath my eyes post-evening cleanse. While this felt incredibly soothing, again, it didn't yield the results I wanted it to. I'll stick to my trusty eye cream, The Body Shop Oils of Life Eye Cream Gel which moisturises, hydrates and illuminates the under-eye area.
Judging by the expert consensus, the jury is still out as to whether banana peel is that beneficial for skin, especially under eyes. There doesn't seem to be any research or clinical studies to support its use for acne, either. It also goes without saying that it's important not to ignore any allergies. If you don't eat bananas for this reason, it's best to avoid the peel entirely if you're dabbling in DIY skincare. Claire adds: "I would also be careful using the outside of the banana skin in case chemicals and pesticides have been used while growing or being transported."
How do you get rid of dark circles and wrinkles under the eyes?
Dark circles or shadows underneath the eyes have a number of causes. Dr Mahsa Saleki of SAS Aesthetics told Refinery29 that they may include lack of sleep and tiredness, physical stress, hormones, the natural ageing process, allergies and excessive alcohol consumption. Mainly, though, dark circles are genetic.
One ingredient which skincare experts explain may reduce dark pigmentation under the eyes is vitamin C, which has a brightening effect.
Eye care products containing caffeine are also recommended for minimising darkness in and around the eye contour.
Lastly, retinol is the only proven skincare ingredient to target fine lines and wrinkles. If you're using a retinol serum or cream, you can take it up to your eye area. Be sure to wear SPF during the daytime, as retinol can make skin sensitive to sunlight.