There are lots of skincare products that don’t work for my skin, but you might love. There are also skincare trends that are universally detrimental to the health of your skin, and one of the most memorable to me I came across while scrolling on TikTok - the cinnamon face mask.
In this TikTok you’ll see someone blend cinnamon (usually cooking-grade) with either water or another liquid and apply the cinnamon paste to their t-zone. Upon removing it they will exclaim how “clear” and “smooth” their pores are. Their faces look a little red and slightly puffy and they close-up on their skin and maybe do a before and after to drive the point home.
It’s not that you should do away with DIY skincare altogether, it’s just that we often misconstrue the sensations of kitchen ingredients for efficacy and “action” on our skin, assuming it’s because they are “working” when they are actually just experiencing irritation.
Think about a tingling lip plumper, often capsaicin or cinnamon are infused in the formula to promote blood-flow to the lips (through irritation) and the trademark tingle. This WILL create a temporary swelling, but it comes at the price of likely drier lips at the end of the day and less healthy lips over time.
If you’re ever curious about a skincare ingredient you spot and want to know if it’s a thumbs up or thumbs down, I always like to visit Paula’s Choice for a quick reference. For cinnamon, the PC team rate it “poor”, saying “Can have antioxidant properties, but also can aggravate skin. May be listed as Cinnamomum camphora.” At least in a lab-formulated commercial product you’re getting cosmetic-grade ingredients at small percentages and perhaps some chance of antioxidant benefits - with DIY, you never know exactly what could happen.
Along with being a common spice allergy, you risk contact dermatitis with regular use. Most importantly, you’re not getting the skin-purifying results that are claimed. My guess is that you feel like your pores are cleansed because you’ve applied a powder and water blend as a mask which has dried on your face and eliminated any additional oil, and you might get some slight erythema (skin redness) and puffiness around the pores themselves which make them appear smaller.
You’re so much better off investing in something like the Paula’s Choice CLEAR clay mask to apply once or twice a week if you are seeking absolutely clean pores, but skip the cinnamon mask and leave it for your oatmeal.