TikTok Trends: EpiPen Tutorial, Plant Juice, and Hair Cracking

Jay Lankau

November 22, 2021

With the holidays just around the corner (how did that happen?), it's a good time to remind yourself of the things you're grateful for.

Perhaps you're grateful for spending chilly evenings under a warm blanket binge-watching your favorite shows or being able to safely gather with loved ones. If you're William Shatner, maybe you're grateful for that quick trip to space (because apparently, that's a thing now) and the poetic tweets it induced. Down here on earth, TikTok has surpassed 1 billion users, and while we're not grateful, necessarily, we are entertained.

Here are the latest good, bad, and ugly TikToks that have been trending lately.

The Good: Doctor Demonstrates Correct EpiPen Use

This reaction TikTok from medical student Mutahir Farhan (aka @madmedicine) has over 252,000 likes and hundreds of comments. In it, Farhan watches a video of a young woman attempting to administer an EpiPen to her friend, with the caption "How NOT to use an EpiPen" over it (in bright red, of course).

The woman in the video is using the wrong end of the EpiPen against her friend's leg, so it isn't working. When she uses her thumb to press down and help, her thumb is actually pressed against the needle end and the EpiPen sticks her instead of her friend. Ouch!

Farhan goes on to explain the anatomy of the EpiPen and shows his audience of 1.1 million followers where to inject it.

"You gotta remember that the orange tip is where the needle comes out. Otherwise, you're going to end up stabbing yourself with epinephrine, like that girl in the video," Farhan says. He goes on to instruct the important, but often overlooked, follow-up: "After you stab someone with epinephrine, call 911 or go to the ER, so that we can make sure they're actually okay and good to go."

The Bad: Liquid Chlorophyll

Here is another one of those tricky trends that are so widespread and popular that it's hard to find exactly where it originated from. A video from @lenamaiah has over 5 million views and 800,000 likes, which even by TikTok standards, is a lot. TikTok is rife with similar videos, which feature drops of liquid chlorophyll being added to water and smoothies.

The pretty emerald hue is mesmerizing and it's hard to resist trying it out when it's being peddled by seemingly every pretty, smooth-skinned pseudo-model on the platform. In this video, Lena says drinking a glass of water with a few drops of chlorophyll can reduce inflammation, get rid of eye bags, boost your vitamin levels, reduce free radical damage, detoxify your system, and file your taxes. Okay, I made that last one up, but it follows, doesn't it? This stuff sounds pretty good. Maybe too good.

Chlorophyll, if you skipped biology class (somehow, I doubt you did), is what makes plants green. Medscape has a detailed explanation of chlorophyll, but all you really need to know is that it's the secret to that cool thing plants do: photosynthesis, or turning sunlight into energy. Scientists have been trying to find uses for it in people since the 1940s. Unfortunately, studies never found much that it can do for us, aside from being kind of deodorizing. So, while it's been historically marketed as toothpaste and deodorant, the new TikTok claims of it being a cure-all or the next big skincare supplement are not widely substantiated by scientific studies. The only real evidence of it being effective is word of mouth from those who claim to like the way they look or feel since taking it, which isn't enough for doctors to recommend it.

TikTok's resident dermatologist, Muneeb Shah, DO, stitched a TikTok from another user, with his captions explaining, "[There's] no scientific evidence for liquid chlorophyll [helping] rosacea or acne."

His advice: "Chlorophyll is great, but just eat more veggies."

The Ugly: Scalp Popping

Warning: Don't watch this if you're easily freaked out by weird body sounds. It's like cracking your knuckles but way, way worse.

This TikTok from @asmr.barber has 1.7 million likes, and lots of people are trying it out for themselves. The viral video features the (disturbed) art of scalp popping, also known as hair cracking. It features what is assumed to be some sort of barber or professional (here's hoping) twisting a client's hair around his fingers and then yanking, creating an audible popping sound. Many are posting their own hair cracking attempts on the platform. It's unclear if this is supposed to feel good or just be grossly satisfying, though some users claim it helps with migraines.

But it turns out this might be more than kind of gross; it can be dangerous, too.

Anthony Youn, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon, comments on the trend with concern: "What the hell is going on here?" Not something you want to hear from a doctor. Youn explains that the popping sound comes from the galea aponeurotica, a fibrous sheet of connective tissue under your scalp, being pulled off the skull.

In a comment, Youn continued to warn people of replicating this trend: "It can tear the inside of the scalp, which can bleed a ton on the inside. Think boxer or MMA fighter with scalp hematoma."

Let's keep our scalps attached to our skulls, people. If I never have to hear that sound again, I'll be eternally grateful.

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