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Jacquelyne Froeber

HealthyWomen's Senior Editor

Jacquelyne Froeber is an award-winning journalist and editor. She’ holds a b.a. in journalism from Michigan State University. She is the former editor-in-chief of Celebrated Living magazine and has editing and writing experience for print and online publications, including Health magazine, Coastal Living magazine and AARP.org.

As a breast cancer survivor, Jacquelyne encourages everyone to perform self-exams and get their yearly mammograms.

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5 Health Trends on TikTok: Heart or Hype?

Somatic exercises, snail mucin and the sleepy girl mocktail. Here’s what you should know and what's worth the hype.

Your Wellness

When was the last time you said, “I saw that on TikTok.”

Five seconds ago? That sounds about right.

A lot of people turn to TikTok for information these days. More than 1.8 billion people (that’s billion with a “b”) use TikTok around the world. And more than half of users are women.

The social video platform has content relating to pretty much anything you can think of, including health trends. But that doesn’t mean every post has your best interest at heart. Misinformation is liked and shared on social media all the time. And it can be hard to tell what’s legit based on a short video clip.

We researched current TikTok trends in health and asked the pros to help separate the health from the hype.

1. Somatic exercises to relieve stress and stored trauma

African American woman practicing breathing exercise at the park

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What are somatic exercises?: A combination of movements and mind-body techniques that help you get more in touch with your body (think tai chi, yoga and meditation).

Our expert says: "I think if it works for you, then it is true,” said Mindy Caplan, an exercise physiologist certified with the American College of Sports Medicine. “There are many ways of relieving stress and stored trauma. Some techniques work for some people while other techniques work for others.”

Read: What Is EMDR and How Can It Help Trauma Survivors? >>

One study found integrative body-focused therapy using somatic exercises showed positive effects for people with post traumatic stress disorder. Caplan noted that somatic exercises may be especially helpful for women because women tend to take care of others before they take care of themselves. “By taking time each day to ground ourselves, stay present, re-energize and calm, we help release emotional weight we don’t need.”

Heart or hype? “I don’t know of any [health] risks, only benefits,” Caplan said.

2. Snail mucin for your face

Snail on the jar of skin cream on water background

iStock.com/drasa

What is snail mucin?: So glad you asked! Snail mucin is the mucus left behind from a snail — a snail trail if you will. The slimy serum contains natural glycolic acid, collagen and hyaluronic acid among other things that may benefit your skin.

Our expert says: “Snail mucin is commonly found in skincare products because it has been shown to have numerous benefits to the skin. However, there is surprisingly little research on this topic,” said Lauren Fine, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist.

Fine said mucin contains proteins that help with lubrication, and some small studies have shown that mucin has anti-inflammatory properties that may slow signs of aging. One study from 2020 found snail mucin improved the look of fine lines and wrinkles in women 45 to 65 years old.

Heart or hype? It’s complicated. Fine said, despite the popularity, more research is needed. “I would be somewhat wary of incorporating this ingredient into your skin routine due to the scant clinical data demonstrating clear and measurable effects on the skin.”

3. Olive oil for skin

Bottles of extra virgin oilive oil

iStock.com/Inner_Vision

The one in your cupboard?: That’s the one. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is apparently the secret ingredient for soft, glowing skin according to A-listers Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez. Apparently, Cleopatera was a fan (although she didn’t post it on TikTok, so we can’t know for sure). Olive oil has natural anti-inflammatory and restorative properties and contains high levels of squalene, a compound that helps skin retain moisture. It’s generally considered safe, in theory, to use on your body and face.

Read: 10 Foods for Healthy, Beautiful Skin >>

Our expert says: “Olive oil is rich in vitamins, including A, D and K, as well as vitamin E and is also a potent antioxidant, meaning it may help prevent or reverse damage from cancer-causing UV light,” Fine said.

Another possible bonus: One study found olive oil reduced stress-induced signs of aging on skin in just 13 days. However, Fine said that putting olive oil on your skin is not for everyone. “Any type of oil can be pore-clogging and may cause or [worsen] acne,” she said. People with sensitive skin, eczema and atopic dermatitis may also want to skip EVOO because it may irritate skin.

Read: Clinically Speaking: Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider About Atopic Dermatitis >>

Heart of hype? It is heart healthy … but Fine said to keep it in the pantry. “In my professional opinion, I think there are much better choices for moisturizing and hydration, so I’d leave the olive oil for cooking.”

4. Laxatives for weight loss

woman texting or scrolling her social media feed as she sits down in a restroom

iStock.com/sdominick

What it is: Dangerous and potentially deadly

Research says: A disturbing trend promoting laxatives as budget anti-obesity medication is false and can lead to serious health problems. Outside of constipation, taking laxatives on a regular basis is taxing for your organs and can lead to death. Abuse can also cause dehydration and low potassium levels which can increase the risk for heart attack among other issues.

Experts note that “weight loss” through laxatives is a myth. Any temporary changes caused by abusing laxatives are mostly due to the loss of water, minerals and electrolytes that will return when you drink water again.

Not interested. Dislike. Tapped “report.” This is harmful — not just hype.

5. The sleepy girl mocktail for sleep

Trendy sleepy girl mocktail. Popular cherry drink for deep sleeping

iStock.com/happy_lark

What is the “sleepy girl” mocktail?: A drink made with tart cherry juice and magnesium powder.

Our expert says: The combination sounds like the lullaby of libations. “Tart cherries contain tryptophan and increase melatonin so taking that before bed — plus the magnesium — is great,” said Melanie Fiorella, M.D., in a previous interview with HealthyWomen about the benefits of magnesium.

Read: Much Ado About Magnesium >>

Some studies found improved sleep quality for people taking magnesium supplements. Fiorella said the natural mineral helps relax muscles and lower anxiety, which makes it a good option for a nightcap.

Heart or hype? ♡ Magnesium is an overall safe supplement to take and the “sleepy girl” mocktail may help you catch some ZZZs. Of course, talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, including magnesium.

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