Another day, another viral TikTok video with some pretty ballsy claims. Don't get us wrong: we love the video-sharing platform. It's helped us discover some of our favourite hair hacks, the best new beauty products, and out-of-the-box nail trends. However, we all know the claims on the app can sometimes get a little . . . farfetched. We haven't forgotten about the time someone tried to convince us that using hemorrhoid cream would get rid of under-eye bags (just don't do it), so it's safe to say we take all TikTok claims with a grain of salt.
The latest one was brought to our attention by user Kristina Nguyen, who said in a recent video that her forehead acne was caused by showering with the toilet lid open. The caption of her video reads, "When you shower with the toilet lid open, the humidity and water droplets from the shower causes the germs to float around, landing on spaces including your toothbrush, skin (can cause acne), hair, walls, and more." The video quickly went viral and at this time, has over 1.3 million likes.
Comments on the video range from people saying the claims are totally false to others confirming that she's right — some are even saying that going to the bathroom with your hair down causes acne. So, what's true?
Ahead, we chatted with Suneel Chilukuri, MD, board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic surgery at Refresh Dermatology, who answered all of our burning questions about TikTok's latest claims.
When you shower with the toilet lid open, the humidity and water droplets from the shower causes the germs to float around, landing on spaces inc your toothbrush, skin (can cause acne), hair, walls and more. Research says you can reduce airborne particles by 50% from flushing the toilet with the lid closed. This may be the rsn to acne, body acne and bumps. This is based from research and just a tip! Not forcing anything #korean #koreanskincare #skincare #kbeauty #toronto #skintok #popularkoreanskincare #showerthoughts #showertips #toilettips #shower #bumps #bodyacne ♬ original sound - ⭐️
Does Showering With the Toilet Lid Open Cause Acne?
OK, so, the reason we're all here: can showering with the toilet lid up cause acne? Dr. Chilukuri says this is highly unlikely. "Studies published in 2022 and 2023 show a surprising amount of aerosolised plume once a toilet is flushed. The plume containing E.coli, C. difficile, norovirus, and adenoviruses mainly goes upward and backward, settling on the ceiling and back wall."
While these are bacteria, Dr. Chilukuri says these bacteria and viruses are not responsible for acne.
"The major causes of acne are blocking of the follicular openings by overproduction of sebum, which leads to a build-up of propionibacterium acnes in the skin. With the increased concentration of p acnes, the body releases immune cells that lead to redness and inflammation."
Now that that's out of the way, can going number two with your hair down cause acne? "There does not appear to be any increased risk of acne when pooping with your hair down," Dr. Chilukuri says. The reason for this is essentially the same — the bacteria and viruses that are released in the air are not known to cause acne.
It's the same story when it comes to flushing with the toilet lid open. "While flushing the toilet with the lid down does decrease the amount of E.coli, C. difficile, norovirus, and Adenoviruses released into the air, there is still some aerosolised escape of these bacteria and viruses." However, as Dr. Chilukuri has established, none of these bacteria cause breakouts.
"That being said, I do recommend closing the toilet seat before flushing to avoid seeding your phone [with bacteria]." That way, you can avoid spreading germs around.
For anyone reading this who wants to lay the blame for their acne on their toilet, unfortunately, science does not have your back. However, there are quite a few proven things you can do to help clear your breakouts. "One of the best ways to protect your skin from bacteria is the use of benzoyl peroxide products," Dr. Chilukuri says. He recommends cleansing once or twice a day.