Australian TV personality Tilly Whitfeld is warning against a viral TikTok DIY freckle trend that left her with facial scarring and loss of vision. Back in May, the 21-year-old revealed that she often appeared on Australian Big Brother with a blue clay face mask to cover a patchy red reaction on her cheeks and nose, the "result of attempting to remove scarring [she] inflicted on [herself] trying to replicate an at-home beauty procedure" she saw on TikTok.
Sharing several photos of her complexion, the reality star begged her followers to "please, please don't try any 'DIY' or 'at-home' beauty procedures." She revealed that she had to be hospitalized "with temporary loss of vision" in her eye due to swelling and became "very sick from the infection." She even said that her face was "unrecognizable" and that she was left with "deep, below surface level scarring and dark pigmentation."
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At the time, Whitfeld did not reveal which one of the many viral TikTok trends caused the reaction, but in a new interview she told The New York Times that it was the result of attempting to give herself freckles. The trend takes popular faux freckles — applied with henna, an eyebrow pencil or even freckle products — one step further by using sewing needles to prick yourself with ink. The Times report that if the DIY method goes as planned, the results should "fade within six months."
Whitfeld said she ordered brown tattoo ink from eBay and tried her hand at the procedure. "It didn't hurt at all, so I didn't think I should stop," she said. However, she later discovered that the ink was a counterfeit product with "high levels of lead in it" and has since spent nearly $12,000 on doctor's visits to correct the scarring. She has still not found a solution, saying the "main response" she's gotten "has been that I'm stupid, and, yeah, I agree."