TikTokers Are Using Period Blood for DIY Face Masks, and Dermatologists Have Thoughts

Here's why this is one skin-care trend you might want to skip.

TikTok True or False: Period Blood Face Mask
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TikTok is known for crowdsourcing all kinds of beauty trends — even ones that are quite odd, to say the least. And the latest DIY skin-care trend that may pop up on your For You Page is definitely pretty out there. Yes, it's time to talk about period blood face masks.

A slew of TikTok users are raving about the perks of taking period blood and, well, smearing it on your face. Currently, videos with the hashtag #periodbloodfacemask collectively have more than 3.5 million views. For instance, in one clip, a fan of the homemade skin-care treatment who has shared several posts about period blood face masks on the app claims period blood contains "all the stem cells and all the nutrients that a baby would have needed and of course, that your skin and body needs."

Another creator "went off the hippie deep end and used period blood as a face mask," she wrote in text displayed on a now-viral video. "And it's the best my skin has ever looked????" she added while showing close-ups of her clear and glowing skin. Commenters were skeptical, asking if she was joking, but she doubled-down, writing, "Literally ordering a menstrual cup to make it easier for next month."

A natural, free skin-care treatment that reveals bright, clear skin sounds great, but before you start stashing period blood for face masks, there are a few things dermatologists want you to keep in mind. Spoiler alert: Experts say this trend is not effective — and it may even be unsafe. Here's what you need to know.

What is a period blood face mask?

A period blood face mask is exactly what it sounds like: Some people on TikTok claim to collect their period blood in a menstrual cup and then smear it over their skin for its supposed benefits, such as leaving behind clear, glowing skin. However, there's little information about how to store the blood, how soon after collecting the blood you should apply it, and how long to leave the blood on the skin. Most videos show people applying blood straight from a menstrual cup and leaving it on for a few minutes before washing off the DIY mask remnants.

This method is not to be confused with vampire facials, made famous by the likes of celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian. Vampire facials — aka skin-care treatments made of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — are "treatments where blood-related products are applied to the skin for their regenerative properties," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

It may sound similar, but vampire facials involve "only part of the blood that has beneficial properties, namely growth factors found within the plasma," says Dr. Zeichner. "[PRP] is extracted from whole blood and is concentrated eight to 10 times before being used," adds New York-based board-certified dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, M.D., founder of Goldenberg Dermatology. It's worth noting that this process is also done in a clinical setting, unlike TikTok's DIY period blood face masks.

Does using period blood as a face mask work?

The theory behind why some people are trying period blood face masks is that period blood is packed with nutrients and stem cells that will help you get clearer, more glowy skin. However, dermatologists say these claims aren't legit. "This is not a good idea for your skin for a number of reasons," Joyce Park, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, founder at teledermatology clinic Skin Refinery and creator of Tea with MD, tells Shape.

"Menstrual blood is a mixture of shed epithelial — skin — cells from the uterine lining, white blood cells, and red blood cells," explains Dr. Park, who previously shared her own TikTok video debunking the trend. She also points out that there are "no proven benefits" to using period blood as a face mask.

Dr. Goldenberg agrees. "There's no scientific evidence that using whole blood — whether it's menstrual or otherwise — can have any cosmetic benefit," he says. "In fact, red blood cells are pro-inflammatory and may make [skin] worse."

Is using period blood as a face mask safe?

Using period blood on your face isn't safe for a number of reasons, according to dermatologists. "The blood can easily be contaminated with microbes, [such as] bacteria or fungi, and that can spread to your skin," says Dr. Park. "If you have sexually-transmitted infections, you can also spread that to your facial skin by using contaminated period blood."

Dr. Zeichner echoes that sentiment. "I absolutely do not recommend applying menstrual blood to the face," he says. "This blood is not taken in a sterile way and may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses that can lead to an infection."

Using period blood as a face mask is good for your skin: True or false?

TikTok True or False: Period Blood Face Mask
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Getting a vampire facial in a doctor's office is one thing, but applying period blood to your face is another. There isn't scientific evidence to prove the TikTok trend offers any benefits to the skin, and it may even cause more harm than good, as it comes with a risk of infection.

If you're looking for a way to get clear, glowing skin, your best bet is visiting a dermatologist for customized guidance.

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