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What are the Side Effects of Applying Tomato on the Face?

By Mariela
June 4, 2023
5 minutes

Are you binge-watching DIY skincare lately and feeling like our healthy kitchen ingredients would be better than expensive skincare products when it comes to dealing with mild skin concerns? But did you also find videos explaining how to DIY skincare does more damage than good and kitchen ingredients only belong in the kitchen?

Tomatoes are said to have countless benefits for the skin like brightening hyperpigmented areas of the face, evening skin tone, shrinking pores, and hydrating the skin. But tomatoes can also cause skin irritation, stinging, and burning. So, which of the both is true and which is a myth? Moreover, are you confused about the safety of using tomatoes on the skin? If yes, let me help you here.

Today, we will address the concerns about the safety of tomatoes for the skin and the potential side effects of their misuse or overuse. Also, let us find out if tomatoes cause skin reactions in all people or are some individuals are more prone to the side effects of tomatoes.

How to Use Tomatoes

You can read about the benefits of tomatoes for the skin here. Additionally, here are some ways to use tomatoes on the skin.

1. As Natural Toner

First and foremost, tomatoes are great to be used as a natural toner. They are also the key ingredients of many drugstore toners and face washes because of the presence of the high amount of lycopene and vitamin C in them that helps in toning the skin.

To make a tomato toner, blend thoroughly washed tomatoes in a grinder and strain their juice. Then add lemon juice in it and transfer the mixture into a bottle. Keep it refrigerated and use it every day to have clear poreless skin.

2. In Face Masks

There are countless face masks you can make by using tomatoes. Tomatoes also have potassium and Vitamin A which is also beneficial for anti-aging and treating acne.

So, you can add ingredients like honey, sandalwood, papaya, turmeric, or yogurt to make facial masks.

3. As Ice Cubes

If you are afraid to add two acidic ingredients like lemon and tomatoes to make a toner, you can use tomato cubes to tone the skin.

Simply blend tomatoes and squeeze out their juice. Then pour the juice into ice cube molds and let them freeze. Tomato cubes help in de-puffing the skin, improving blood circulation, and shrinking pores. As a result, skin becomes glowing and supple.

4. In Eye Treatments

Tomatoes contain folates, beta carotenes, and antioxidants that can help in counteracting sun damage and dark circles. You can simply place a tomato slice on your dark circle for 15-20 mins. Moreover, it deals with under-eye bags.

However, cucumbers are safer around the eye areas as compared to tomatoes. This is because eyes are sensitive and can become irritated if tomato juice falls into them.

5. As Facial Scrub

Tomatoes can be used as an excellent exfoliating agent as well. You can directly rub tomato slices on the face to get rid of impurities and clean the skin. You can check out the 10 benefits of rubbing tomatoes on your face every day here.

Moreover, tomato slices can be used with sugar to scrub off dead skin cells, remove excess oils, and stimulate the regeneration of new skin cells.

Are Tomatoes Safe to be Used on the Skin?

Tomatoes are acidic agents with astringent properties. The pH of tomatoes is 4.5 to 5 and the pH of skin is 4.7. As you can see, tomatoes are mildly acidic and their pH is also comparable to that of skin.

So, they are completely safe for the skin and can be used to treat acne breakouts, remove tan, and soothe sunburns. However, overuse of tomatoes or using tomatoes on already damaged skin can cause side effects.

Side Effects of Tomato

Although tomatoes are safe for the skin, keeping tomatoes on the skin for a long time or using them too often can damage the skin barrier and lead to the following not-so-uncommon side effects.

1. Redness and Rashes

The content of acids and pH varies in different types of tomatoes. So, tomatoes with higher amounts of acids and lower pH make the skin red. Moreover, it can cause skin irritation and lead to rashes. Such side effect is also common on the skin already irritated by the application of too many active ingredients.

2. Itching and Peeling

Although tomatoes remove excess oil and balance the natural oil content of the skin, tomatoes can cause itching if your skin is dehydrated and dry.

This is because of the acidic and exfoliating properties of tomato use. Along with the itchiness, it can lead to skin peeling because of over-exfoliating.

3. Burning and Stinging

People with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis should avoid using tomato paste or juice directly on the face because tomatoes have agents like salicylate and amines that worsen such conditions.

Consequently, skin stings and burns. So, do not use tomatoes if you are already aware of your skin tolerance.

4. Skin Sensitivity and Allergy

Tomatoes have anti-inflammatory properties and help in soothing the skin. They also have a small amount of histamine, an inflammatory mediator that can trigger hypersensitivity and allergy.

However, this is a rare side effect of tomatoes and occurs only in people who are allergic to tomatoes. This effect is associated with eating tomatoes and can also cause contact dermatitis.

Substitutes of Tomatoes

What if you cannot use tomatoes, several other natural ingredients can provide similar benefits. So, the following ingredients can be used as an alternative to tomatoes.

1. Lemon Juice

Lemons are the perfect substitute for tomatoes as they are also rich in vitamin C, are acidic, and have anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. However, they are more acidic than tomatoes. So, you have to dilute them to use in place of lemons without harming your skin.

2. Milk

If you use tomatoes for exfoliating the skin and it irritates your skin, milk can help you. Milk contains lactic acid which is an exfoliating agent. So, it can be used to remove dead skin cells, dust, excess oils, and impurities.

However, do not use milk directly after it is irritated by tomatoes, and let it relax for a few days before updating your skincare routine.

3. Potatoes

Just like tomatoes, potatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidant. So, you can use potato juice toner, face mask, or directly rub them on the face for benefits similar to that of tomatoes.

Additionally, potatoes can be used to prevent premature aging, pimples, and dark circles.


Tomatoes are safe to be used on the skin and are beneficial for hyperpigmentation, acne, dull skin, and open pores. They are also used to soothe inflammation and dryness as well. However, tomatoes are just not for everyone.

They can harm sensitive skin and cause irritation, stinging, redness, itching, peeling, and even allergies. So, it is advised to perform a patch test before going all in with using DIY tomato skincare.

Lastly, we have several alternatives to tomatoes to be used in your homemade natural skincare like milk, diluted lemon juice, and potatoes.

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