Beef tallow is rendered beef fat that has a creamy consistency and contains vitamins and lipids.
Some TikTokers love it because it can help moisturize the skin and reduce acne.
But it can be expensive and give mixed results, which is why dermatologists suggest other products.
In the beauty industry, it isn’t enough to be a great product: To truly stand out, many brands these days also promote vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly items, prioritizing animal wellness and environmental consciousness.
That’s why TikTok’s latest skincare obsession — using beef tallow as a moisturizer — is a bit of a shock. TikTokers are swearing that rendered beef fat is an ancient skin hack for smoother skin, and the hashtag #beeftallowskincare has garnered over 12 million views.
“Beef tallow is the only thing that I put on my face as skincare, moisturizer, everything,” said user Julia Yak in a video. Some claim it gives them glowy skin, while others credit it with clearing their acne.
While beef tallow does have some vitamins and moisturizing qualities, much of the appeal is how “natural” it feels as a one-ingredient product. One man even claimed it is the “manliest” skincare option out there.
Beef tallow is heavily promoted on accounts that also claim the entire skincare industry is a sham, so it’s worth taking this advice with a huge grain of salt (yet another natural skincare ingredient to be wary of).
In fact, dermatologists say there are much more effective and cheaper options out there — especially if animal welfare matters to you.
Beef tallow contains the skin-friendly vitamins and lipids
Beef tallow is rendered beef fat that looks white and creamy like most other moisturizers (though it can have a buttery odor).
According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an associate professor and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, it’s “composed of fats that are surprisingly very similar in composition to our skin’s own natural oil,” known as sebum. People with acne might have lipid deficiencies that can disrupt the skin barrier, according to Zeichner, so the logic is that beef tallow can help restore your skin.
Dr. Ivy Lee, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in southern California, also said that beef tallow has fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12 that are found in many moisturizing skincare products (retinol, for example, is a vitamin A derivative).
But it’s expensive and can be really hit-or-miss
At $35 for a 2 oz jar, beef tallow skincare brands like VanMan’s or Vintage Tradition will set you back a lot if you’re intending on using it as a daily moisturizer.
Then there’s the task of finding tallow that works for you: Lee said some beef tallow can be comedogenic — or actually block pores — for those prone to acne. There is also “concern for stability and consistency of the product,” Lee said.
While you can buy beef tallow in bulk, that type is usually made for cooking and can feel grainy in consistency. Meanwhile, the beef fat designed for skin use will often feature other ingredients like scented oils, which can cause breakouts.
You can also make your own, and some TikTokers have posted instructional videos on the process. But it’s a lengthy activity that involves cutting out beef fat and rendering it, sometimes multiple times, then melting the beef tallow and waiting for it to cool and whipping it to turn it into a cream.
Dermatologists say you can get better results with targeted skincare products
Both dermatologists said that while beef tallow has some benefits, it doesn’t really make sense to use it over the huge selection of cheaper and more accessible skincare products out there.
“There are many over-the-counter moisturizers that contain lipids,” said Lee, who recommends CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($18) as a budget-friendly option and SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Cream ($150) for a “total splurge.”
Zeichner also suggested looking for products that address a specific problem, like active breakouts.
For example, inflamed zits, he said to “stick to ingredients like benzoyl peroxide which lowers levels of acne-causing bacteria” and is “the best option for red, angry pimples.” He said JORI’s Daily Leave-On Acne Treatment Mask ($52) is “an ultra-light water gel mask that can be applied daily to problem areas” and uses linoleic acid, a fatty acid also found in tallow.
For blackheads or whiteheads, he said salicylic acid should be your go-to ingredient as it “removes excess oil and dead cells from the surface of the skin.” He recommended Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment ($68), which uses hydrating ingredients like sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid.
Read the original article on Insider