How TikTok (and Twitter) Became Gen Z's Best Resource For Skin-Care Advice

Earlier this week, Cardi B revealed that she was experiencing a very common skin-care dilemma. According to her tweets from Jan. 25, the "WAP" rapper was in the middle of a breakout and dealing with dry skin, so to get help with the issue, she turned to her nearly 17 million Twitter followers for advice. They delivered within minutes.

By the end of the night, three things had happened: the tweet went viral, Cardi's mentions were flooded with dozens of product recommendations of both the luxury and affordable variety, and thanks to fellow musician, Kehlani, she was even pointed in the direction of New York City-based aesthetician and influencer Sean Garrette for some extra help. It's not clear if she's actually purchased or tried any of the products that were recommended to her that day, but we'll be patiently waiting for a follow-up in case she does.

Cardi B's viral Twitter moment is just one example of how easy it is to come across skin-care tips on social media these days. While not every individual has a dedicated social following of 17 million, plenty of us do have access to a handful of social media platforms with dozens of aestheticians and dermatologists doling out skin-care advice to hungry, impressionable audiences mostly made up of young people who probably wouldn't have access to the information otherwise.

TikTok alone has been the primary platform through which we've seen the emergence of dozens of wacky-but-effective skin-care trends and hacks in the last year, like skin "slugging," which is the act of applying Vaseline or a petroleum-based balm at the end of your skin-care routine to seal in moisture; skin "icing," or applying ice or cold products to the skin to reduce redness, inflammation, and/or puffiness; and the use of medicated hydrocolloid bandages to treat acne.

The app — along with Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube — is also where some of the most trusted creators in the business have been able to make names for themselves. That includes Garrette, who was named a Fenty Skin ambassador when the brand launched last summer, Tiara Willis (Makeup For Women of Color), who's widely known for "bullying" her followers into wearing SPF, daily, Hyram Yarbro (Skincare by Hyram), who often shares reviews of products released by some of the buzziest brands out there, and Nayamka Roberts-Smith, LE, better known to her followers as LaBeautyologist. Of the four names listed, Yarbro is the only one who isn't a licensed professional, but his product knowledge has gained him the respect of nearly 7 million TikTok users, 4 million YouTube subscribers, and thus, the power to make or break a brand.

While this may not be true in the case of Cardi B, in most cases it's access, or lack thereof, that plays a huge role in each person's popularity. A decade ago, if you wanted information on how to tackle any skin concern from acne to hyperpigmentation to skin irritation, you'd have to physically see a dermatologist or aesthetician for a consultation. (For the record, we still recommend you do so now if you can, but understand that sometimes visiting a professional isn't always possible.) Beyond the pandemic keeping people at home and away from a doctor's office, there's also the price. On the flip side, getting skin-care advice online is free, which is why social media is one of the easiest places for young people to turn to.

"I think it's really important to share that information for those who wouldn't have access to it otherwise."

"Not everyone has access to dermatologists or aestheticians," Willis told POPSUGAR in a previous interview. "One, they may not be able to afford it or they don't have insurance. If they're 13 years old, their parents might not be taking them to the dermatologist, my parents weren't . . . I think it's really important to share that information for those who wouldn't have access to it otherwise."

Using Twitter as her main resource for reaching people in her age group, Willis began growing her platform back in 2015 when she was 14 years old. She started sharing her expertise on TikTok last year, and while her following on the latter site hasn't yet reached the magnitude of the community she's created on Twitter, the advice she's given out has still proven to be effective. "It's so rewarding to be able to help people even off of basic tips," she said. "Even with a simple skin-care tip, I get tons of people saying that it's changed their skin completely."

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For some influencers, it's not just their skin-care knowledge that's allowed their fame to skyrocket online, but also their commitment to recommending quality products sold at prices that are more accessible to their younger audiences. According to Omnicore, 41 percent of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24 and likely can't afford to splurge on luxury skin-care products, which is why brands like CeraVe and The Ordinary thrive on the app thanks to their budget-friendly formulas that have even received Yarbro's seal of approval.

All of the evidence suggests that social media has tremendously changed the way people view skin care, and if you're lacking knowledge in this department, sourcing your tips online can be an easy and fun first step — but to be clear, it shouldn't be the only place you look. While trying out new products is a great way to learn about your skin and how it reacts, you always want to check with a certified skin expert or dermatologist before trying new treatments (or have a reaction).

After all, the health of your skin is way more important than any trend you find on the internet.