TikTok is packed with beauty, health, and self-care tips. It is often difficult to analyze which ones are legitimate and which ones are based on myths, especially since many videos are often leaked and manipulated.
To help consumers and marketers distinguish fact from fiction, here are several of the top TikTok health trends that have been making the rounds, as well as what experts are saying about their usefulness, effectiveness, and safety.
1. Rice water hair
A common personal care trend involves letting rice soak in cold water for a few days, then spraying the resulting “rice water” on the hair to stimulate “extreme hair growth.”
With over 600 million views, the tag “rice water for hair” is quite a popular search on the platform.♬ I still like you – Paramore
Interestingly, there may be some validity to rice water hair.
According to the Cleveland ClinicHowever, rice water contains inositol, an ingredient that has been associated with hair growth, although some evidence is lacking. At a minimum, rice water does not contain any toxic chemicals, so it may be safe to try it.
However, other videos under the tag warn users that watch out for the rice water trendarguing that it can also cause hair breakage depending on the type of hair.
2. Benadryl Challenge
Among the more damaging trends that have also been making the rounds is the Benadryl challenge. This phenomenon encourages people to take large doses of Benadryl to get high and experience hallucinations.
Taking too much of the drug, which is an over-the-counter medicine used for allergies, can lead to overdose or even death.
Several hospitalizations and even a death among teens who tried the trend prompted health officials to make announcements warning people to stop taking doses that are too high.
As of September 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged parents and health care providers to stay on top of the trend and asked TikTok to remove the videos associated with it.
Johnson & Johnson, which makes the drug, also launched a statement responding to the challengenoting that it was “extremely concerning” and “should be stopped immediately”.
3. Nature’s Cereal Recipe
Among the millions of diet fads and recipes on TikTok, some stand out as being quite healthy.
One is called “nature’s cereal” and it’s a pretty simple trend. A person takes some blueberries, raspberries, or other berries in a bowl, pours coconut water over them, and eats them with a spoon, so you have cereal, without the cereal.
This one is undeniably healthy and harmless, although it may seem strange to eat fruit with coconut water with a spoon.
4. Contour sunscreen
For those familiar with makeup, contouring is a way to sculpt the features of your face using light or dark highlights or contours.
However, instead of the typical way of buying makeup products for this purpose, some people are getting involved in a trend on TikTok that involves wearing Sun to contour your face for you.
In other words, they use sunscreen only on selected parts of their faces so that other parts get a deeper tan.
Still, the results of this can be dubious, and experts stress the importance of using sunscreen on all parts of the skin to protect it from UV rays, which are associated with cancer and skin aging.
5. Training 12-3-30
A treadmill trend encourages people to try a workout for 30 minutes, with an incline level set at 12% and a pace of three miles per hour.
While it may not sound like much, users say the workout is quite intense and can be a good way to start a weight loss journey.
Experts from the Cleveland Clinic Keep in mind that the trend can be quite healthy if done the right way, as finding ways to increase physical activity can be helpful for weight loss or simply increasing stamina and improving overall health.
However, it is important to control your body, and reducing the incline or shortening the time to start is a good way to relax.
Last year, some TikTok users tried drinking liquid chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives plants their color, hoping it would help lighten their skin and offer some anti-inflammatory properties.
However, evidence behind chlorophyll as a health supplement is lacking. While it may not be dangerous if used in moderation, it is not scientifically proven to help you in any way.
Supplements as a whole can be a questionable industry, as evidence to support claims about various vitamins, fish oil or melatonin and other products is often lacking, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
7. NyQuil Chicken
The FDA recently flagged another dangerous TikTok trend called ‘NyQuil Chicken’ – a challenge that involved people cooking chicken in cough syrup.
“Boiling a drug can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways,” the FDA said.
Unsurprisingly, health experts are urging people not to participate in the NyQuil Chicken challenge, noting that it could be very dangerous.
8. Proffee (Protein + Coffee)
Combining protein into coffee drinks is another big trend on TikTok, with people touting its nutritional benefits.
The #profee hashtag has over 27 million views on the platform and is filled with videos of people making their own versions of the drink, whether it’s with ice, cream or milk, and sugar-free sweeteners.
The idea of the drink is quite simple: just combine a scoop of protein powder or protein shake in your favorite coffee drink for a boost of energy and some protein.
For people who skip breakfast, proffee might actually be a helpful nerve-balancing addition to caffeine.
Still, other health experts caution people to drink coffee in moderation, since most Americans already get enough protein, or too much protein, in their diets. Most Americans already eat twice the amount of protein recommended per day.
9. Dry Training Powder
Most people use pre-workout protein or powder mixed into a shake or smoothie, but a new TikTok trend is to eat the powder…dry.
While this may not seem like a big deal, health experts warn of its potential risks.
According to health line, dry mining is dangerous and can lead to heart palpitations, lung infections if the dust is accidentally inhaled, and digestive problems. Use the powder as directed on the label, mixed with water.
In fact, when searching for “dry pickup” on TikTok, the platform redirects users to a online challenges resource page. He urges people to stop and think about a challenge before doing it: “If a challenge is risky or harmful, or you’re not sure if it is, don’t do it,” says TikTok.
10. Coffee with lemon
Touting weight loss, some users are promoting the consumption of coffee with lemon, or coffee mixed with lemon juice in the morning. The trend is for people to drink the concoction on an empty stomach, hoping it will help them lose weight.
Lemon juice mixed with coffee is not inherently dangerous or unhealthy, and may be fine to drink. But it won’t necessarily lead to weight loss.
Weight loss is a promise often linked to TikTok diet trends, but many are inaccurate or show no clinical benefit. a recent one to study published in PLOS One found that diet trends on TikTok can have a damaging impact on eating disorders and body image. In other words: take TikTok trends with a grain of salt.
This story first appeared in mm+m.