There are so many DIY beauty hacks out there that make use of non-skincare products. Just to name a few, we’ve taken a deep dive into apple cider vinegar hair rinses, oatmeal baths, washing your face with honey, turmeric face masks, and more.
Needless to say, we like to keep you updated on ALL the new beauty trends and whether or not they actually work. And at the end of the day, the reality is: some work and some don’t.
No matter what beauty trend train you’re trying to hop on, the results really just depend on the product itself, how you use it, and your skin.
With that in mind, we’ve all seen the new Pepto-Bismol trend, right? If not, where have you been?
If you’ve been following this trend, then you know public opinion on using Pepto-Bismol as a skin mask is pretty divided.
Even though we love the pretty pink color of Pepto, we had to check this trend out for ourselves. And now, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about using Pepto-Bismol on the skin.
We’ll go over how to PROPERLY use this product as a skin mask, then we’ll talk pros and cons. Then, you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to test out this trend.
Pepto-Bismol Skin Mask
Bismuth subsalicylate, aka bismuth salts, aka Pepto-Bismol, is an antacid elixir medication. Most commonly used to treat temporary stomach discomforts – upset stomach, gas, and other gross things.
So, why the fuck are people using it on their skin? We’ll tell you.
Basically, good ol Pepto-Bismol contains ingredients: salicylic acid, aspirin, beta hydroxyl acid, and alkalis. All of which are good for the stomach AND for the skin.
When applied to the skin, these ingredients are known to reduce inflammation, soothe dry and cracked skin, treat and prevent acne, and unclog and tighten pores.
So, it makes sense that we’re seeing tons of people try this trend on their face, shoulders, neck, and back, as well as on parts of the body that are prone to dry skin. Like the back of arms, elbows, knees, you get it.
Before we go through the pros and cons, here’s how to use Pepto-Bismol as a skin mask:
♡ Step 1: Perform a test application
Before applying Pepto-Bismol (or literally anything, ever) to your skin, always perform a test application.
Choose a small area of skin on your arm, and apply a small amount of Pepto-Bismol. Wait 5 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser.
Monitor your skin for any irritation or allergic reaction for 24 hours. If nothing happens, move on to the next step. If you experience any negative reactions, OBVIOUSLY do not apply again.
♡ Step 2: Apply a thin layer of Pepto-Bismol to the skin.
Pepto-Bismol can get kinda messy – after all, it is a thin pink liquid, so dripping is probable. So plan ahead for that. And, because Pepto-Bismol contains red dye, you should make sure you’re wearing clothes that can get messy. Maybe even lay a towel down if you have carpet.
Alternatively, you can just apply the Pepto-Bismol in the shower. Whatever is most convenient for you. P.S. You can also just throw it in the fridge for a couple of hours and it will thicken up a bit, making it less likely to drip so much.
ANYWAY, when you’re ready, apply a thin layer of Pepto-Bismol to the skin. This can be the face, the arms, legs – wherever you might be dealing with acne and/or dry skin. You can also apply it to areas affected with eczema & psoriasis.
If applying to the face, don’t use more than a water-bottle sized cap full.
♡ Step 3: Leave the Pepto-Bismol mask on your skin for 5-10 minutes.
You’ll read lots of Pepto-Bismol face mask and skin mask blogs that say to leave the pink mask on for 20 minutes. But in reality, this might be too long.
The ingredients in Pepto-Bismol work very quickly when applied straight to the skin. So, 5-10 minutes should be more than enough.
If you struggle with very dry or sensitive skin, stick to a quick 5 minutes. If you have normal-oily skin, you can lean towards 10 minutes.
♡ Step 4: Rinse THOROUGHLY (w/ lukewarm water & a gentle cleanser).
Remember the red dye we mentioned earlier? We weren’t joking when we said it could leave a stain on your clothes or carpet. And turns out, it can stain your skin as well.
In light of this, it’s important to rinse thoroughly. In fact, double cleanse. (More info on double cleansing, here.) This is also why it might be a good idea to just hop in the shower when you do this mask.
Pepto-Bismol Skin Mask Pros And Cons
It contains both salicylic acid and aspirin.
Salicylic acid is used in a ton of acne fighting medications, because it’s great for treating and preventing acne. It also works as a chemical exfoliant to remove dead skin, unclog pores, and promote smooth skin. Aspirin also works to heal acne by reducing inflammation.
It contains beta hydroxyl acid.
Beta hydroxyl acid is proven to unclog and tighten pores. That tightening feeling you get when you use the mask? Yeah, it comes from this. Not only is this great for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, but it promotes skin elasticity and collagen production.
And it contains alkanes.
Alkanes are known to soothe dry and itchy skin, as well as some skin conditions. When you’re having a flare-up, Pepto-Bismol may be able to soothe the affected area. The same can be said for areas on the body with acne prone skin.
There is a risk of allergic reactions to ingredients.
Allergic reactions to aspirin are common. If you are allergic to aspirin, or any of the other ingredients in this medication, you could experience negative side-effects. (This is why it’s so important to ALWAYS perform a test application.)
It can definitely dry out the skin.
As with most products out there, leaving Pepto-Bismol on your skin for too long or using it too often can definitely dry out your skin. Take care to monitor your skin, and use this product sparingly.
And, it could possibly dye your skin (if used incorrectly).
Again..the red dye. The fact that Pepto-Bismol even contains red dye could be enough to deter you from trying this trend at all. Like…its red dye. Also, it could totally stain your skin (and carpet and clothes)…especially if you don’t take care to cleanse your skin thoroughly.
The bottom line on pepto-bismol skin masks:
While this is a great beauty hack that has almost instantaneous results (tighter pores, dry skin and itch relief, reduced inflammation and redness), it’s not something we’d recommend doing on a regular basis – not even every week.
Instead, just use this hack for special occasions, flare-ups, and acne spot treatments. When you do take advantage of this hack, take steps to avoid making a mess and/or staining your skin, carpet, or clothes. And ALWAYS follow up with a hydrating oil or moisturizer. Obvs we love ICE QUEEN FACE OIL and another fave is First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Creme.
Now it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to try this trend or not. If you do decide to try it, definitely let us know how it went.
x, The Skinny Confidential team
+ we don’t gatekeep: stalk Lauryn’s latest wellness faves.
++ learn how to cure dry elbows here.