Beauty influencers are back with another viral trend involving beef tallow, a fatty substance in cow meat.

Usually used as an ingredient for cooking, TikTok beauty gurus are adding beef tallow to their skincare routine. Beauty influencers claim that the fat helps moisturize their skin, reduce acne and heal other common skincare issues. The trend has gained attention from users, with #beeftallow having over 3,000 posts. Additionally, #beeftallowskincare has attracted nearly 1,500 online users invested in the recent fad.

Although the public approves of beef tallow’s facial benefits, dermatologists are addressing the risks with using it as a topical. Regine J. Mathieu, a cosmetic and medical dermatologist, doesn’t recommend using beef tallow because the same ingredients are in tested skincare products. Although it is a natural ingredient, her hesitancy in supporting the popular trend stems from its absence of cosmetic regulation.

“There is not an approval of the processes that these companies are doing to actually make this topical treatment,” Mathieu told 21Ninety.

A significant benefit that social media users profess beef tallow aids in is skin inflammation. However, most videos seen are of people with lighter skin tones who used the product for redness. For Black and brown skin tones, hyperpigmentation, which is a condition that makes certain areas of the skin darker than others, is a bigger skin issue. These darker areas can show up as patches throughout different parts of the face and other places around the body. 

“We have more of a predisposition to get hyperpigmentation from irritated skin, ” Mathieu said. “If there is any possibility that beef tallow can irritate someone’s skin, then it can actually contribute to hyperpigmentation, which is the opposite of what we want.”

While Mathieu has her reservations about the usage of beef tallow, she understands that people favor adding it to their regimen because of the positive results.

“Beef tallow and using these fats for skincare has existed for a very long time,” Mathieu explained. “Every so often, these start to make a resurgence in popularity. When you really dive into how it’s procured, there aren’t those checkpoints to ensure this is safe to use.”

Instead, she urged people to find approved over-the-counter or prescribed products with the same properties found in beef tallow. This will help to limit exposure to skin care issues that could arise in the future.

For those struggling with eczema or other dry skin conditions, she recommended searching for products derived from colloidal oatmeal. She also recommended items high in hyaluronic acid and ceramides also help with moisture. Lastly, Mathieu recommends using vitamin A, which aids in treating acne and wrinkles. She suggested finding products with retinol ingredients or prescribed retinoids.