TikTok Resin Art Faces Backlash Over Environmental and Safety Concerns

  • Resin art has exploded on TikTok, with the genre racking up hundreds of millions of views.
  • But a group of “anti-resin” TikTokers are flagging potential safety and environmental concerns.
  • Experts explain why the resin-art trend may be doing more harm than good.

Homemade resin products have exploded in popularity on TikTok, with tags like #resinbusiness and #resinartist amassing 105.6 million and 782.7 million views respectively.

These videos show people pouring liquid resin in assorted colors into molds to create shapes including pyramids, trays, or coasters, often including decorative items such as string lights, glitter, and dried flowers, before showing viewers the finished product once the resin has hardened.

But a growing backlash suggests the trend may be doing more harm than good. TikToks under the tag #antiresin — where users complain about resin art’s environmental impact, potential safety concerns, and lack of artistic merit — have been viewed by nearly half a million people.

Insider spoke to experts to get to the bottom of some of thebacklash against resin art’s newfound popularity on TikTok.

Resin products may be harmful to the environment

One of the main concerns is the potential environmental impact of resin art.

While cured (or “hardened”) resin doesn’t have the same level of toxicity as uncured resin, Claire Potter, senior lecturer and course convenor of product design at the University of Sussex, told Insider in a statement that it can have other environmental implications.

Most resins, including the commonly used epoxy resin, are “chemically based,” she said, adding that they are “hugely damaging for the environment if they get into our waterways via our sinks.”

She added, “Alternatives do exist, and bio-based resins are often non-toxic and have a far less environmental impact.”

Some TikTokers are using biodegradable alternatives to the more common epoxy resin to make similar creations. The #bioresin tag on TikTok has 2.2 million views, but that’s still only a fraction of the 1.6 billion times #epoxyresin videos have been watched.

Epoxy resin creators should be aware “that they are making items that will only be fit for the bin when they reach the end of their life — they cannot be recycled,” Potter warned.

There are also health and safety concerns with resin art

In order to harden epoxy resin, creators will go through a process known as “curing,” which involves adding a second substance to the mix. But uncured liquid epoxy resin is “highly irritant to the skin,” according to Dr. Ezgi Ozcan, a YouTuber and practicing junior doctor in London, UK.

“Contact with the skin without the correct protective equipment can lead to dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). Repeated exposure can sensitize the body leading to allergic reactions,” Dr. Ozcan told Insider in a statement.

When inhaled, the same reaction can occur in the airways leading to irritation,” she added. According to the California Department of Public Health, inhaling the chemicals emitted from uncured epoxy resin or some of the other solvents used in the curing process can cause lung irritation and, in some cases, the development of lung diseases like


asthma

.

Multiple resin sellers have shared TikToks showing skin inflammation and allergic reactions which they said was a result of coming into direct contact with resin.

Industrial manufacturers and crafting resin suppliers give details on appropriate protective equipment, ventilation, and other safety precautions to take when using resin, but many TikTokers still post videos appearing to make resin art without proper precautions.

TikToker and YouTuber She Lyons shared a TikTok last year saying she didn’t realize “how toxic” resin could be, and that after six months of curing resin with no protective equipment, she was hospitalized.

In a follow-up YouTube video, Lyons said she had skin lesions and swelling from an allergic reaction to resin as well as breathing issues from not curing the resin in a ventilated area.

“Please protect yourself,” Lyons said in the video. “Nothing is worth damaging your health.”

Some TikTokers have argued resin doesn’t require the artistic skill creators suggest it does

The song “It Costs That Much” was originally posted to YouTube by an artist called Woah Dude in July this year. The premise is to justify why the work of artists can be more expensive than mass-produced products, with lyrics saying their art “costs that much ‘cos it takes me fucking hours” and “took me years to master.”

It has become commonly used by artists and small-business owners across TikTok, with 24,600 videos currently featuring the original audio, but various creators have called out resin TikTokers specifically for frequently using it.

A TikTok user who goes by the name Charmain created a parody version of the song. She replaced the chorus with the lyrics “nobody wants to buy your shitty resin.”

In a statement to Insider, Charmain said she made the parody because there was a “sudden explosion of people buying pre-made molds on Amazon and creating items from resin which is neither recyclable nor biodegradable,” and the original sound “had essentially been hijacked” by them.

The sound was a “hit and miss” among TikTokers, Charmain told Insider. “There are a huge number of people agreeing with my sentiment, but also a lot of resin makers who weren’t happy,” she said.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.

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