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Are banana peels good for skin? Dermatologists weigh in

Plus, five expert-approved products to use instead.
Illustration of a Woman looking to the side with bananas falling around her
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images

For many, TikTok has become a go-to source for beauty advice. It's a spot where you can discover buzzy new product recommendations and helpful hacks. And while some of the tips you find on the app can actually benefit your routine —like using rosemary oil for hair growth — many of them should be taken with a grain of salt.

Take the viral hack of using banana peels on skin. Some users have said that it can help reduce dark under-eye circles, fine lines and inflammation.

It seems too good to be true. Could a fruit you can buy for a $1 at the grocery store really solve some of the most common skin care woes? We turned to two top derms to find out. Here, Dr. Jordan Carqueville a leading board-certified dermatologist in Chicago and Dr. Adeline Kikam, the Texas-based board-certified dermatologist behind the account @brownskinderm, help explain why using banana peels is so popular and share some science-backed tips that actually help under-eye skin concerns.

How does it work?

Videos featuring the hack have racked up hundreds of thousands of views, but many of them feature different approaches for using the fruit. One user suggests scraping out the white fibers from the banana peel and combining them with moisturizer or aloe and rubbing under your eyes, leaving it on for up to 10 minutes and then rinsing off. Others suggest simply rubbing it on the skin, while some have cut up the peel and made DIY eye masks.

Are there benefits to using banana peel on your skin?

There aren't any scientific studies to back up the benefits of using banana peels for skin, as noted by both of the derms. That being said, the experts speculate that there are a few reasons why people may be noticing a change after using a "banana mask" or rubbing a peel on their face.

Kikam said the main benefit she could see bananas having for the skin comes from the tannins in the fruit. "Tannins are like natural astringents that are used in skincare to help with tightening and toning of the skin," she said. Banana peels are rich in the compound, so they could be responsible for any reduction in under-eye bags or boost in brightness.

You can actually find banana listed as an ingredient in some skin care products, Kikam said, because they're rich in good-for-the-skin phytochemicals and vitamin A. But these products use a banana extract that's been formulated in the lab so that the ingredient can be easily absorbed by the skin. By using it in its raw form, you likely won't see the same effects.

Carqueville added that she could see one possible benefit for people going the DIY mask routine. By leaving the peels on the skin for an extended period it could potentially "occlude" the skin, essentially sealing moisture in. "So that, in general, can make skin look better," she said.

Are there any risks?

The hack is pretty low risk, though you should definitely skip it if you have a known banana allergy. "I can only presume that if somebody has an allergy to bananas and they're putting it on that area, they risk having an allergic reaction, which can then lead to hyperpigmentation, worsening the dark on the eye circles," Kikam said.

The tannins can also be drying for the skin, Kikam added. But if you're combining the pulp with moisturizer, it could help counteract that.

Any effect you see from the peels will likely be temporary, Dr. Kikam said. And since there's no science to support their use in skin care, the experts could only speculate about the benefits. That's why they both agreed you're better off eating bananas than putting them on your skin. And when it comes to treating dark circles and under-eye bags, you should turn to research-backed ingredients.

Solutions for dark circles and fine lines

There are a number of reasons why you might notice dark circles under your eyes, so treatment can vary. One potential cause is volume loss, which happens with age. For that, Dr. Carqueville recommends using moisturizing eye creams and products with hyaluronic acid to help the skin stay hydrated. She added that fine lines also tend to improve with hydration so those same products can work for that purpose.

"If you have dark circles that are related to blood vessels and sluggish veins around the eyes, then you can use creams that have caffeine," said Dr. Carqueville. These products will cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels, making them less noticeable.

It could also be due to changes in pigment, causing the area to appear darker. In that case, Dr. Carqueville recommends things like vitamin C and retinol.

Sunscreen is an important part of every skin care routine, but it can be particularly beneficial here, as it can help prevent hyperpigmentation from worsening, Kikam said.

Here, five expert-approved solutions to try.

Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Gel

This pick from Kikam uses hyaluronic acid and peptides to help draw moisture in. It also features ingredients like niacinamide and licorice root extract, which may brighten the area.

SkinMedica Instant Bright Eye Cream

While this product is on the pricer side, Kikam said it's an "effective serum packed with evidence-based ingredients such as resorcinol, a potent depigmenting agent, hyaluronic acid to plump under-eye skin," and caffeine to help vasoconstriction.

TIZO Photoceutical AM Replenish Lightly Tinted Sunscreen

"I love this sunscreen in particular because it comes with antioxidants containing vitamins E, C and ceramides to fight free radical damage and moisturize skin while protecting from the sun's harmful rays," Kikam said.

La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes Retinol Eye Cream

New York City dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum previously recommended this retinol eye cream to help minimize fine lines and boost collagen production.

The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream

This derm-approved caffeine cream is one of the more affordable options out there. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick previously told us that it also contains Matrixyl 3000, which can further help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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