DIY Skin Care: A Recipe for Disaster

by Wendy Ouriel


Aspirin is easy to make. The ingredients are cheap and everything you need to make aspirin can be bought online. If you're one of the millions who take it everyday you can save thousands by making it yourself. And if you make your own aspirin you are going to do it wrong and make yourself sick. 

The reason why no one makes their own aspirin, besides the fact that it is available everywhere, is because everyone is aware that making their own pharmaceuticals is foolish and deadly. 

I have never needed to tell someone to not DIY their own medication because everyone I know is well aware that pharmacists and major pharmaceutical manufacturers know more about drugs than they do. There is a reason why we buy our aspirin instead of scraping the bark off a willow tree and making it ourselves. 

Just like DIY-ing your own drugs is dangerous, so is DIY-ing your skin care. 


Skin care needs to be made by professionals with a background in biology because skin care is biology. Each and every ingredient need to be carefully researched to determined its safety, biological efficacy and ability to work with your skin to improve its appearance and function. Those ingredients then need to be formulated in a highly precise concentration to work in concert with the other ingredients.

The formulation isn't just to make sure that the skin care works, it is to make sure that it doesn't make your skin sick. 

The ingredients need to be sourced from reputable suppliers, otherwise you risk buying a contaminated product. The manufacturing needs to be done under sanitary conditions to prevent contaminating your batch.

There is a reason why OUMERE took years to develop, because OUMERE formulas weren't gathered from a Pinterest infographic. They are the culmination of 10 years of Biological research. 

So why is everyone making their own skin care? Like drugs, skin care elicits a biological response in the body, and if you aren't a professional who has studied biology, you will make it wrong and it will make you sick.

I would say about 80-90% of those who come to OUMERE with damaged skin have DIY-ed their own skin care at some point, and it has led to burnt skin, acne, infection and the risk of skin cancer. Here are some examples:


Customer 1 came to us with what appeared to be a second degree chemical burn on her skin. She had scarring from this burn. The chemical burn was caused by a concoction of lemon juice, tea tree essential oil and vinegar. She found this disaster on Pinterest, which stated that it would get rid of the bacterial acne on her face. I am surprised the instructions didn't also go so far as to state to light her face on fire, since fire also kills bacteria. 

The reason why the above gave her a chemical burn is because she put two highly acidic, irritants in concentrated form (lemon juice and vinegar) on her face followed by a cytotoxic agent (tea tree oil). This inflamed, burnt her skin, broke it down and killed live skin cells. 

Now if you notice, the No. 9 contains apple cider vinegar, and it is highly diluted and used in concert with other ingredients and doesn't have the above effect. It was biologically engineered to work the right way. The result with No. 9 is glowing, beautiful skin. The result with a DIY vinegar concoction is burnt, decayed skin with scar tissue. There is a profound difference between skin care from a professional and skin care from a infographic. 


Customer 2 came to us with inflamed, oily skin and acne. She was DIY-ing her own serum that contained marula oil, argan oil, squalane, jojoba oil and a few essential oils. She found this recipe on a beauty blog. 

The plant oils above are all high in oleic acid, and oleic acid is a clogging, inflammatory acid. The skin sebum (oil) produced from skin with acne is high in oleic acid. Putting oils high in oleic acid without the proper balance of anti-inflammatory oils will cause acne, inflammation and oily skin. 

Adding to the damage, putting the essential oils on her skin exacerbated all of the damage caused by using inflammatory plant oils.  

The reason why it took so long for Serum Bioluminelle to be developed is because it took years to research the oils with the highest anti-aging, anti-acne potential and to formulate those oils in the right concentration to work together properly. The result of Bioluminelle's highly complex fatty acid profile is reduced oil, acne, and inflammation. 

And the exact opposite is true of this DIY recipe, which was not researched, not tested and not made by an expert. It was just a haphazard mix of trendy oils concocted from a dubious source.

It is not a surprise that such a disaster was found on a beauty blog and created by someone who knows nothing about biology or human health. However, I am surprised that people are so willing to put their health at risk because someone with no experience, training or expertise, but with a pretty blog said so.

It is not enough to just look at the ingredient deck of a serum and say "I can do that myself" because all of those ingredients are listed and can be purchased in a store. The ingredients are one piece of a complex puzzle and a small part of the overall product. The knowledge it took to take all of those ingredients and put them in the proper formulation is the hard part.  If making a product was just looking at a list of ingredients and throwing them together in a container, then someone would have replicated Coca Cola by now. And when you try to copy a perfect product based on conjecture, you'll fail miserably and end up with Pepsi.


Customer 3 came to us with dermatitis, acne and rosacea. She found a recipe online that was a scrub containing lemon juice, sugar, and coconut oil. She was scrubbing this on her face every night and using an electronic face brush in the morning with a foaming cleanser.

The lemon juice was giving her a chemical burn, the sugar was scraping the skin off and the coconut oil was clogging her skin, trapping heat and causing more redness created by the first two items. She was destroying the live skin on her face, killing the beneficial bacteria and causing infection. The face brush was further scraping off skin, stripping oil and disrupting the skin barrier and the foaming cleanser was raising the pH of her skin which caused moisture loss and further disease.


Customer 4 put herself at risk for melanoma by following a DIY "sunscreen" recipe found here. This one is truly dangerous because this recipe is telling you to make your own pharmaceuticals. 

The author wrote a 'recipe' for sunscreen despite having no biological experience, no pharmaceutical experience, and no medical training. The blog appears to be a lifestyle blog.

Her recipe has no actual sunscreen in it, but rather a mix of inflammatory oils that she randomly assigned an SPF value, and then added those values together claiming the oils had an SPF of the sum. That is not how SPF works. And this is why critical thinking is important and should be taught in school. 

This recipe is for tanning (i.e. sunburn) oil and is being advertised as sunscreen.

She also claims this is a "chemical-free" recipe, yet the entire recipe is made up of chemicals. Everything except a single hydrogen atom is a chemical. 

The reason the above recipe is so dangerous is because something that can cause skin cancer is being passed off as a an over-the-counter drug that will protect your skin from skin cancer. Oil on unprotected skin causes burns, rashes and blisters. One bad sunburn can cause melanoma. And if you get melanoma, at best you will be permanently disfigured, and at worst you will die.

The author does not understand how SPF works and thinks oils have a natural SPF. Oils do not have a natural SPF and this is why you need to be a scientist to read and understand scientific papers. Raspberry seed oil, some research has found, can boost the SPF potential of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. But on their own oils do not protect against sunburns, they put you at risk for sunburn. There is a reason why tanning oil contains oil. 

The confusion over what aids in SPF and what causes SPF wouldn't happen from a qualified professional, but this is what happens when a non-scientist reads something that they don't understand and has the ego to give scientific/medical advice.

This sort of confusion over cause and effect makes me think she has tried filling up one of those red plastic gas cans and driving that around town. Since gas is what makes cars go and all. 


Time to go pick up the kids from soccer practice


The rise in DIY-ing skin care and the rise of skin disease are no coincidence. Skin care, like anything else that affects your health needs to be left to the professionals. And although the reason many DIY their skin care is to save money, the damage that it will inevitably cause to your skin will cost far more than purchasing it from a trusted source.