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As a card-carrying member of Gen-Z (hey, I have my middle part to prove it), scrolling through my TikTok “For you” page is an integral part of my daily routine. And for my wellness-obsessed self, my algorithmically curated feed is full of TikTok health trends. Some are mainstream, including the famous “Hot girl walk,” delicious overnight oat recipes, and tips for prepping a salad in a mason jar. But others are far more questionable—and even dangerous. Read on to learn the truth behind some of the most popular TikTok health trends.
Why is everyone putting chlorophyll in their water?
The hottest TikTok health trend of the summer? Chlorophyll drops. If you spent any time scrolling through TikTok over the past few months, you may have noticed users filming themselves sipping on some murky-green liquid—chlorophyll water. The green pigment found in plants (yes, from photosynthesis) is presented as a miracle drug of sorts on the social media app. Feeling tired? Chlorophyll can give you a boost. Breaking out? Green pigment to the rescue—or maybe not. Unfortunately, these supposed benefits aren’t grounded in science. While chlorophyll drops aren’t necessarily harmful to your health, there isn’t much scientific proof behind their alleged benefits. So unless you’re really looking to try a not-so-tasty green drink, we recommend skipping this one.
Can a burnt orange bring back your sense of taste?
You’re likely already aware that one of the major (and most bewildering) side effects of COVID-19 is a loss of smell and taste. TikTok to the rescue? Some users are trying the “Jamaican orange remedy” as a way to supposedly bring back their sense of smell. This remedy consists of charring an orange over an open flame, peeling it, and eating the fruit with a few spoonfuls of brown sugar. While some users seemed to have had success with this viral remedy, doctors say there’s not a ton of scientific evidence to support this trend.
But what about all the people who have claimed charred orange as a success? In an interview for Today, Pamela Dalton, PhD, a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, explained that those who find this remedy works may not have entirely lost their sense of smell in the first place. Instead, they may have some residual sensory abilities that are triggered by something as strong as a charred orange. So does the Jamaican orange remedy pass the TikTok sniff test? Results are mixed—but for those who are longing for their sense of smell, there’s no harm in trying.
Does shoving (yes, shoving) garlic up your nose help with congestion?
If you’ve ever been congested, you know that you would do anything to make it stop. But what if that “thing” is shoving a piece of garlic up your nose? Some users on TikTok are doing just that. The trend is as follows: After you shove the garlic up your nostrils, you’re supposed to wait 10–30 minutes. After removing the cloves from your nose, tons of mucus pours out of your nostrils, seemingly clearing up your previously congested nose. Right? No.
Doctors say that this trend can actually do the opposite of unclogging congestion. The garlic cloves can irritate your nose and cause inflammation—putting your nose in even more pain. Then, why does so much mucus pour out (gross, I know) after removing the cloves? Doctors say this is due to having an obstruction in your nostrils for an extended period of time, which causes mucus to accumulate. You’re much better off letting your congestion resolve on its own or leaving any recommended treatment to the professionals.
Reply to @marissaablairr @dermdoctor
Does a frozen cucumber really help your skin?
I’ll admit it—I gave this viral TikTok health trend a try. After I saw an influencer rolling a frozen cucumber over her face, I promptly stuck one of my cucumbers in my freezer—and faced some much-warranted judgement from my skeptical roommates. This trend is said to reduce the appearance of dark circles and help hydrate your skin. I’m not sure how much the frozen cucumber ended up doing for my skin, but I did like its cooling feeling—which felt soothing on my very dehydrated skin. While aestheticians say this trend isn’t harmful (and you may even see some benefits), you’re better off purchasing a dedicated ice roller or face tool designed specifically for this purpose. (For transparency: I did ultimately end up purchasing an ice roller, which I do recommend.)
Will dry scooping enhance the effects of your pre-workout powder?
This TikTok health trend, which consists of eating a portion of pre-workout power dry (versus diluting it in water), hit the “For You” pages of TikTok users earlier this summer. The aim of this trend is to boost the effects of the pre-workout powder’s ingredients, such as vitamin B, amino acids, and creatine. However, these powders also contain a high amount of caffeine. When this amount of caffeine is consumed quickly, doctors say it can have a severe impact on your heart. One 20-year-old who tried the trend even ended up in the hospital after experiencing a heart attack. Still want your pre-workout? That’s fine—just make sure to dilute it and consume it slowly.