Dermatologists warn against TikTok sunscreen contouring hack


(NEW YORK) — A new sunscreen contouring “hack” gaining popularity on TikTok has experts warning users to be very cautious about skin damage.

TikTok user Eli Withrow shared a technique that she’s convinced gives your face a chiseled, radiant boost.

She advised that if you use a base sunscreen of SPF 30 and an SPF 90 in all the spots where you would use highlighter (the highest planes of your face), you will be left with a contoured look following sun exposure.

“You’ll be naturally snatched all summer,” said Withrow.

Withrow’s sunscreen contouring hack video has since received more than 12 million views and left many people with questions on how, or if, it works. Others wondered whether it was safe to be doing at all.

NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry told “GMA” it’s “absolutely unsafe.”

“Any excess sun exposure can increase the risk for skin cancer. UV is a known carcinogen and not a natural source of contouring the skin,” she said.

It can possibly lead to skin cancer in the future, burns and accelerated aging from exposed areas, according to Henry.

While these potential skin dangers could be an unwanted result, TikTokers have continued to try out the “hack.”

“It’s definitely not something any dermatologist can recommend,” NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali told “GMA.”

He continued, “In reality, any kind of tan is usually the result of damage to your skin from UV radiation and, long term, will not only increase your chances of skin cancer, but it will also increase sun damage, including collagen breakdown, pigment issues and increased vascularity.”

Experts recommend that it’s better to use a tinted sunscreen or contouring with regular makeup.

How should you be using sunscreen?

“I love using an elegant lightweight sunscreen over the entire face to both protect the skin and hydrate it,” said Henry. “Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 25 is lightweight, powerfully hydrating thanks to vitamin B3, and has SPF 25 — it’s a must-try.”

She recommends applying sunscreen to your full face — about a nickel-sized amount of product to ensure adequate coverage. Also, be sure to remember your ears and under your chin, and reapply every two hours.

In addition to using a daily SPF, Bhanusali also recommends wearing adequate sun protection such as hats or staying in the shade when possible. He likes sunscreens that absorb easily, such as offerings from EltaMD, Supergoop and Neutrogena.

Bhanusali also advised, “Consistency is key and it’s worth experimenting with a few brands to find the ones that fit your skin best.”

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