Aug 9, 2021
Apr 16, 2023
Dr Ivan Puah shares if these “TikTok beauty and fitness hacks” are scientifically proven to be effective or even safe to try!
TikTok has become a haven for beauty trends, from where you put concealer to brighten your face to what skincare products to use.
It has also become the platform for health and wellness tips (albeit dubious) and various fitness challenges to go viral, so much so that users eventually coined the term ‘FitTok’.
But, are they helpful or harmful to us?
Dr. Ivan Puah, an aesthetics, body sculpting, and fitness doctor at Amaris B. Clinic, shares if the following “TikTok beauty and fitness hacks” are scientifically proven to be effective or even safe to try
What it is: Recently, many women started shaving off the tiny hairs on their faces following this TikTok beauty hack that promises to get rid of dead skin cells, make skin appear brighter, and help skincare and makeup foundation apply more smoothly on the skin.
In addition, this method, also known as dermaplaning, is said to help improve acne and rosacea as well.
The issue: According to Dr. Ivan Puah, dermaplaning is not recommended, especially if you have rosacea, or adult or cystic acne – this is because shaving your face could further irritate your existing skin condition.
Furthermore, our naturally fine and tiny facial hairs are actually useful for giving your skin a smoother appearance as they create a blurring effect, so you can only imagine that getting rid of them through shaving can highlight scars, dark spots, and others skin imperfections that you may have.
You also don’t need us to remind you that shaving can result in thicker and coarser hair regrowth, which means that you’ll have to shave more and more frequently over time if you want your skin to remain fuzz-free.
If you have excessive facial hair on your upper lip or chin, you can consider laser hair removal. As for the barely noticeable fuzz on your cheeks, it’s best to leave it alone, Dr. Ivan Puah advises.
What it is: Of all things, the (mostly) uninspiring baked oats are having a moment currently on TikTok and Instagram as a healthy and delicious breakfast.
Most TikTokers claim that they’ve been eating baked oat-based dishes for years and that the ingredient has helped them lose fat and build muscle.
Generally, baked oats are incredibly nutritious, filling, and taste like cake, which is why you see them being used in everything from banana bread to chocolate brownies.
The issue: It’s true that oats offer plenty of health benefits – they are rich in antioxidants, can lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar levels, relieve constipation, and may potentially decrease the risk of childhood asthma as well.
However, Dr. Ivan Puah stresses that caution needs to be taken during the cooking of oats. Many small, simultaneous chemical reactions occur when food is being cooked – this is known as the “Maillard Reaction” (named after L. C. Maillard).
This phenomenon is also known as non-enzymatic browning. This extremely complex process involves the transformation of proteins and sugars in your food due to the impact of heat, which then produces new flavours, aromas and colours.
Dr. Ivan Puah explains, “Various stages of food alteration in the food structure and function takes place during the heating process. For example, when food is cooked between 60 and 75 degrees Celsius, vitamin C is destroyed. Between 70 and 100 degrees Celsius or beyond, three things will happen - the hydrolysis of protein, the coagulation of albumins, and the destruction of amino acid.”
So while oats are nutritious and healthy, the bottom line here is that you need to exercise care when it comes to preparation so that you can benefit from the wholesome goodness of oats – and not ending up with food in the stomach that has no nutritional value and offers only empty calories to the body.
What it is: Do a quick search on #WhatIEatInADay – a hashtag that boasts 6.6 billion views (and counting) –, and you’ll get a sea of videos in two extreme spectrums: some star young adults, mostly women, eating dangerously few calories per day as they subsist on a hyper-restrictive meal plan of giant cups of iced coffee, warm lemon water, and five cashews.
On the other hand, you will also see videos featuring someone gorging, allegedly, on several servings of rich, decadent, high-fat, sugar-soaked junk food – in other words, these are ASMR-filled mukbang videos. In essence, the world of TikTok is just all about feast or famine and nothing in between.
The issue: As Dr. Ivan Puah puts it, these unhealthy behaviours on TikTok being presented as ‘normal’ eating habits can be very dangerous. On the one hand, you have the normalisation of orthorexia, an extreme fixation on the purity of foods and the constant preoccupation with healthy eating. On the other, it’s all about stuffing your face with indulgent food without any moderation.
Most are promoting the act of depriving your body of energy and nutrients, which can lead to metabolic changes, slowed metabolism, and the breakdown of your body’s organs and muscles, among other serious complications.
What it is: Another trend that’s taking off on TikTok involves people taking videos of themselves removing their own moles at home by scraping or picking them off (one even tried to drill off a mole on her cheek), or by administering dangerous chemicals.
The issue: Honestly, you don’t need us – or a medical doctor – to tell you how dangerous this do-it-yourself trend is – but we’ll say it anyway: removing your own moles can lead to severe scarring, permanent skin damage, or worse, infection.
As Dr. Ivan Puah, who holds a Graduate Diploma in Dermatology, puts it, there is just no ‘safe’ way to remove a mole at home – the only solution on the table for mole removal is getting an in-office procedure done by a certified professional.
Being trained in family dermatology, Dr. Ivan Puah can identify and treat unusual-looking moles on individuals or send patients for further evaluation to exclude the chances of skin cancer.
As for many of us who have not studied the subject extensively, it’s hardly possible for you to differentiate between a normal mole and one that may be a sign of melanoma.
What it is: Some TikTok users have some pretty misguided ideas about skincare – one involves applying sunscreen on only the high parts of your face (such as the tip of your nose and the top of your cheekbones) and letting other parts burn or tan as you bake under the sun.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because Hollywood celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow has also recently suggested this skincare technique in her now-infamous Vogue video.
The issue: This trend is meant to let the sun give you a natural contoured effect through sunbathing, but it goes without saying that doing so can lead to severe skin damage.
Sunscreen needs to be applied on every part of your skin and reapplied at least every two hours throughout the day – Dr. Ivan Puah recommends using sunblock formulas with at least SPF50.
“You simply cannot do facial contouring by applying sunscreen on just some parts of the face and skipping others. UV damage is real, and should be taken seriously,” he warns.
“Without proper sun protection, your skin is inevitably more vulnerable to sun damage such as wrinkling, dehydration, pigmentation and premature ageing. Your risk of skin cancer will also inevitably increase.”
What it is: Many TikTokers are claiming that apple cider vinegar ( or more popularly known as ACV) can burn fat, help with weight loss, and detox your body. Some even claim that drinking ACV will cause you to lose a certain number of kilogrammes.
The issue: Dr. Ivan Puah expounds that this is a terrifying diet trend, as any food taken excessively is detrimental to health – yes, apple cider vinegar included.
“ACV has high acidity, which could damage tooth enamel when taken neat instead of diluted. Several reports have uncovered its effects on the natural potassium content in our bodies, where it can cause or worsen low potassium levels. It can also potentially alter insulin levels, so people diagnosed with diabetes should be particularly cautious about overdosing on ACV,” he lets on.
“Honestly, there is no such thing as a fat-burning miracle. If you’re particularly affected by your weight, I can’t stress enough the importance of adjusting your eating habits and adopting a more active lifestyle to lose excess weight.”
To permanently remove fat that is not possible to reduce through lifestyle changes, the option of Vaser Liposuction, a form of ultrasonic-assisted liposuction is available to effectively and permanently remove localised stubborn fat.
Vaser Liposuction can get the job done with minimal disruption to the surrounding connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves by delivering ultrasonic energy that specifically targets and breaks down fat cells.
The liquefied fat is then siphoned out using a suction tube, and Dr. Ivan Puah will further treat the specific area with a specialised cannula for a more contoured look. Furthermore, Vaser Liposuction can stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production for firmer skin.
When it’s performed by Dr. Ivan Puah who has more than 15 years of body sculpting experience under his belt, you can rest assured that he customises his approach according to your body shape, problematic fat distribution areas as well as your optimal goal to achieve the best possible results.
It’s evident that most tips and trends gaining traction on TikTok are generally misleading and downright dangerous. It goes without saying that consulting certified professionals is the best option if you want to take care of your various skin and body woes.
Unlike other aesthetic doctors in the country, Dr Ivan Puah from Amaris B. Clinic has trained extensively in various skin treatments and body sculpting procedures and holds a Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
With a dedicated interest in fitness, weight management, and body sculpting, you can trust him to guide you on your journey to better skin and a leaner, healthier body with the combination of a professionally tailored exercise plan and aesthetic procedures.
And at Amaris B. Clinic, you can expect a fully hands-on team of trained professionals who will do their best to enhance your appearance, health, and fitness on all levels by customising their approach to your treatment.
The service offered at Amaris B. Clinic is so well-known that the institution is also widely recognised by medical peers as well as members of the media, garnering multiple accolades such as the “2019 Body Sculpting Provider of the Year in Asia-Pacific” and “2020 Body Sculpting Medical Center of the Year in Asia Pacific” awards by GlobalHealth Asia-Pacific as well as the “Best Weight Management” title by Tatler Singapore.
Under Dr Ivan Puah’s leadership, B. Clinic is now more than just a regular, run-of-the-mill aesthetic clinic as it incorporates integrative medicine with its suite of body sculpting and medical aesthetic procedures.
This means that you can now visit the clinic not just for your aesthetic treatments but also for other services such as weight loss and fitness assessment, pain management, sports injury rehabilitation, and myotherapy.
If you’re looking for qualified professionals who can offer you credible, science-based advice and guide you from start to finish to deliver visible results while ensuring your well-being and safety, you should definitely consider Dr Ivan Puah and the team at Amaris B. Clinic.