TikTok Debunked: Viral video claims eye drops conceal acne — but is it safe?

Yahoo Canada spoke to a dermatologist about the trend, and whether or not it's recommended.

Welcome to TikTok Debunked, a series where Yahoo Canada digs into the truth behind popular TikTok health, beauty and food trends.

A TikTok user went viral for using eye drops to conceal acne. But is it safe? (Photo via Getty Images)
A TikTok user went viral for using eye drops to conceal acne. But is it safe? (Photo via Getty Images)

Have you ever woken up to a pimple on the day of a special event? Most of us have been there — and it's not fun.

Sudden breakouts can occur for many reasons, including stress, diet, makeup, hormonal changes and more. Both acne sufferers and health experts have been trying to break the code to determine how to stop acne for once and for all.

On TikTok, many users post about their acne journeys and what they do to eliminate stubborn pimples.

After a TikToker went viral for saying eye drops are the key to concealing acne, people wanted to know if it was true, and safe, to use on skin.

Read on for everything you need to know about the claim, and what a dermatologist has to say about it.

The claim — and how it started

  • TikTok user @breebreebby went viral for using eye drops to reduce the size and redness of pimples.

  • The video, which has been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 480,000 times, claimed it's the best way to conceal a pimple without makeup in one minute or less.

  • To demonstrate the hack, the TikToker dipped a Q-tip in eye drop solution, rubbed it on her pimple, and waited for the magic to happen.


  • As pimples are one of the most common skincare complaints, learning how to conceal them is a highly searched beauty hack.

  • Over the years, different acne treatments have been tested including accutane, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

  • Recently, many social media users have been experimenting with their own acne solutions

  • The search term "acne treatments" has been viewed over 31 million times on TikTok, with videos from beauty and health specialists discussing the topic.

Inflamed acne consists of swelling, redness, and pores that are deeply clogged with bacteria, oil, and dead skin TikTok cells.
Pimples are one of the most common skin concerns people post about on TikTok. (Photo via Getty Images)

What TikTok users are saying

In the comments section of @breebreebby's video, many TikTok users were shocked that eye drops appear to reduce the size and redness of pimples.

"Modern day Albert Einstein," wrote a fan.

"This is genius! Wish I saw this video sooner!" shared someone else.

"Wow new beauty hack unlocked!" said another TikToker.

However, other users wondered how it worked and if eye drops are safe to put on skin.

"How long does this last though? Seems like it would restrict it for a little while until it wears off," someone asked.

"Wait is this even safe?" another asked, while one said: "Seems a bit too good to be true in my opinion like I'm curious what it does to pimples."

Conceptual shot of Acne & Problem Skin on female face.
A board-certified dermatologist said eye drops can only provide temporary relief for acne. (Photo via Getty Images)

An expert weighs in

To get to the bottom of the trend, Yahoo Canada spoke to Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of FACET Dermatology in Toronto, Ont.

When asked about the DIY trend, Yadav explained the hack will only provide temporary relief.

"This is a very clever hack that has been used for a long time. While it won't work to actually treat a pimple, it will help to temporarily tame the inflammation and redness, which can go a long way towards concealing it with makeup," Yadav said.

The expert further explained eye drops, or vasoconstrictors, work to conceal acne by tightening the dilated blood vessels.

Generally speaking, Yadav said the trend is not harmful to skin and can be helpful when trying to hide a stubborn pimple.

However, there are possible side effects people need to consider, for both skin and eyes.

Improper treatment will either prevent your skin from clearing up or exacerbate the issue.Dr. Geeta Yadav

"Overuse of eye drops in the eye can lead to lasting redness because they slow your eyes' ability to recover from the irritation that caused that redness in the first place," Yadav said.

"It's possible that it could do the same for your pimple if you're not treating it with other skincare products."

Instead of using eye drops, Yadav recommended people use retinoids, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to treat acne.

These ingredients and products are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and fight the bacteria that creates acne. They can also help regulate oil production, promote cellular renewal and exfoliate the skin.

Overall, if you struggle with acne you may want to consider booking an appointment with a dermatologist, the expert recommended.

"It's important to see a dermatologist. Acne can have many causes, ranging from hormonal to fungal," Yadav said.

It's important to see a dermatologist if you have any issues concerning your skin.
It's important to see a dermatologist if you have any issues concerning your skin. (Photo via Getty Images)

Is it debunked?

While investigating the trend, we have learned eye drops are safe to use on skin and can work to reduce the redness and size of pimples.

However, as Yadav mentioned, there are possible side effects of this hack. Moreover, there are other products and ingredients that are designed to be used on acne.

For these reasons, Yahoo Canada has partially debunked this trend.

Eye drops might be worth keeping in your makeup kit for a quick-fix, but Yadav recommends looking into property treating the cause of your acne first and using acne-specific products.

"Improper treatment will either prevent your skin from clearing up or exacerbate the issue."

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