TikTok Home Remedies that Can Be Harmful

TikTok has become one of the most popular social networks in the world. However, not all the information disseminated there is true. Learn about some dangerous TikTok home remedies here.
TikTok Home Remedies that Can Be Harmful
Leonardo Biolatto

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 19 March, 2024

Home remedy videos abound on the social network TikTok. Some are harmless and even useful, but others pose a real health hazard. The most worrying thing is that they are spread through “viral challenges” that thousands of users replicate over and over again without first checking whether they carry any risk.

Things like inserting a clove of garlic in the nose, filing the teeth, or putting drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear can lead to side effects ranging from mild to serious. So before trying such things, you should be thoroughly informed and get a professional’s opinion. What should you know about them?

TikTok Home Remedies You Should Avoid Trying

Opinions remain divided on the use of home remedies. While some argue that they are useful for many health problems, others prefer evidence-based conventional therapeutic options.

But whether they work or not, it’s important to know that “natural” or “homemade” is not without side effects. Therefore, it’s good to find out where they come from, who recommends them, and if there are testimonies of their possible effects.

In this regard, we delve into the topic of home remedies that are trending on the social network TikTok. Some may seem benign and with interesting effects, but others pose a real risk for the thousands of users who try them out.

Unfortunately, although TikTok has become a fairly important means of disseminating information, challenges, and tricks that compromise people’s health have gone viral. Some of the following are sure to ring a bell.

1. Putting garlic up your nose for colds

One of the most popular viral health videos on TikTok is the one in which influencers insert a clove of raw garlic into their noses in order to relieve congestion caused by a cold. Does it really work? The results seem promising, as the mucus is seen to flow after removing the garlic.

In reality, however, the effect is not what you see with the naked eye. What happens is that the garlic retains the mucus for a while and these come out when it’s removed. Even, the compounds of this ingredient can lead to irritation of the sensitive skin of the nasal mucosa.

As stated in an article published in the Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters, one of the most frequent side effects of garlic application is burns. Therefore, this type of use is not recommended.

What to do in case of a cold?

In most cases, rest, hydration, and the consumption of some medications are enough to overcome a cold.

Ajo para el resfriado.
Garlic could cause burns to the mucous membranes, due to the components of its surface.

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2. Teeth whitening with a magic eraser

Until just a few months ago, one of the trending videos on TikTok suggested the use of a magic eraser as a tool to achieve home teeth whitening. This item is composed of melamine foam that’s abrasive and toxic.

In fact, its main use is cleaning walls and bathrooms. Far from improving dental aesthetics, it can completely ruin it. Its application on the teeth damages the enamel and leaves the teeth exposed to various diseases.

How to whiten teeth?

In the first instance, it’s important to consult a dental expert to learn about the different methods of teeth whitening. According to a review shared in The Open Dentistry Journal, right now there are outpatient whitening techniques – such as intraoral device peroxide gel application – and in-office techniques-which employ photoactivation.

3. Harmful TikTok home remedies: Liquid chlorophyll to protect your health

Liquid chlorophyll has become the star of a wide variety of wellness videos. Its attractive green color and the multiple properties attributed to it have won over thousands of users who have not hesitated to try it.

But does it work? What are its uses? According to its advocates, this supplement can boost the immune system, energize the body, detoxify the blood, fight constipation, and protect the skin, among other benefits.

However, to date, there’s insufficient evidence. Studies have corroborated its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential, but it’s not considered a panacea for the aforementioned health problems.

We must start from the fact that the supplement itself is not pure chlorophyll, but chlorophyllin. The latter is composed of copper and sodium salts derived from chlorophyll. Although ingested in moderate amounts it does not pose a risk, health experts suggest prioritizing its consumption through green vegetables.

When the supplement is taken in excess there are side effects such as digestive problems, diarrhea, green stools, and skin irritation. Watch out! It also acts as a photosensitizer; therefore, it increases the skin’s sensitivity to the presence of the sun’s rays.

How to obtain chlorophyll safely?

Chlorophyll is naturally present in foods such as green beans, peas, spinach, kale, among other green vegetables. This is considered the best source, as they also provide extra vitamins and minerals. In case you want to try a liquid chlorophyll supplement, it’s best to consult your doctor first.

4. Chicken dipped in cold syrup

Sounds pretty unheard of, and it is! However, this is one of many popular cold home remedies on TikTok. It involves cooking chicken or other meats with a coating of NyQuil, which is a syrup meant to combat cold symptoms.

In this case, it should be remembered that NyQuil is not a seasoning. Also, it’s not a good idea to put it on food, as it can lead to food poisoning.

In an interview for The Sun newspaper, physician Aaron Hartman detailed why this is a dangerous trend:

When you cook a cough medicine like NyQuil, you boil the water and alcohol out of it, leaving the chicken saturated with a super-concentrated amount of medicine in the meat. If you were to eat one of those fully cooked cutlets, it would be as if you were consuming a quarter to half a bottle of NyQuil.

As we have already discussed, hydration, rest, and cold medicines are enough to get you through this illness. In a matter of days, you begin to experience improvement without jeopardizing your health.

5. Hydrogen peroxide to soften earwax

Several influencers through TikTok have suggested the application of hydrogen peroxide to remove earwax. While it’s true that this substance is classified as a cerumenolytic agent, it isn’t recommended for use in its pure state. Why?

Well, this ingredient can be irritating to the ear canal, especially if you have an injury to the eardrum or a buildup of fluids. In fact, it increases the risk of infections and ailments.

How to clean earwax

Hydrogen peroxide solutions – available in drops – are useful. They are products with lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide compared to the pure ingredient. Their application softens the earwax and helps drain it.

However, this is not always necessary. The ears have a self-cleaning mechanism that removes excess wax from time to time. In addition, wax is a protective agent that helps reduce the risk of infections.

However, if it accumulates in excess and affects hearing, it’s necessary to consult a physician. Once the diagnosis is made, the professional may suggest special drops or other therapeutic options such as a clinical ear wash.

Gotas para los oídos.
Ear drops sold in pharmacies have a lower concentration so as not to irritate your ears.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 5 TikTok Cleaning Tricks that Work and 3 That Don’t

6. Harmful Tik Tok home remedies: Contour sunscreen

TikTok home remedies also compromise skin health. One of the most popular is known as a sunscreen hack. It consists of applying sunscreen only on some areas of the face and then exposing yourself for several hours to the sun. In itself, it aims to reduce the need for daily contouring.

But as Dr. Simran Deo explains in an article in the Daily Mail newspaper, exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause significant skin damage, especially for those with fair complexions.

In particular, the sun’s UVA, UVB, and UVR rays are associated with the early appearance of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and, in severe cases, skin cancer.

How to contour the face

The best option for healthy contouring is to use makeup. There are specific cosmetic products to achieve this effect. Before use, it’s important to protect the entire face with sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.

Beware of TikTok’s home remedies

TikTok’s format is quite attractive for information on almost any topic. However, one must consider that not everything disseminated there is true or safe. When it comes to health, it’s essential to verify the source of information and, above all, to investigate further.

It’s best to be wary of all those home remedies that are disseminated as “miraculous” or “curative”. On the Internet, there are many reliable sources to corroborate whether they’re safe or not.

Any such questions can be resolved with a doctor. If you have a health problem, a professional will be the most indicated to guide your treatment.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Keles MK, Bayram Y, Durmus M. How fast can a naturopathic medicine cause skin burn? a case report of garlic burn. Ann Burns Fire Disasters. 2015;28(3):228-229.
  • Féliz-Matos, Leandro et al. “Dental Bleaching Techniques; Hydrogen-carbamide Peroxides and Light Sources for Activation, an Update. Mini Review Article.” The open dentistry journal vol. 8 264-8. 6 Jan. 2015, doi:10.2174/1874210601408010264
  • Pérez-Gálvez A, Viera I, Roca M. Carotenoids and Chlorophylls as Antioxidants. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(6):505. Published 2020 Jun 9. doi:10.3390/antiox9060505
  • Are There Health Benefits to Using Liquid Chlorophyll?. (November 23, 2021). Cleveland Clinic. Available in https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-there-health-benefits-to-using-liquid-chlorophyll/
  • Rossi E, Borchard K, Cole JM. Pseudoporphyria following self-medication with chlorophyll. Australas J Dermatol. 2015 Feb;56(1):47-8. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12198. Epub 2014 Aug 15. PMID: 25123581.
  • Williams, T. (14 Jan 2022). DOCTOR’S ORDERS Urgent warning as doctors raise alert over dangerous ‘sleepy chicken’ TikTok trend. The Sun. Available in https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/17323541/urgent-warning-doctors-alert-dangerous-sleepy-chicken/
  • Sevy JO, Singh A. Cerumen Impaction Removal. [Updated 2021 Dec 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448155/
  • Johnston, H. (26 April 2021). Doctors’ warning over ‘sunscreen contouring’: TiKTok hack for using SPF to make cheekbones look more defined could increase risk of skin cancer. Available from: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9511899/Why-Sunscreen-Contouring-Dangerous-Think.html
  • Guerra KC, Urban K, Crane JS. Sunburn. [Updated 2021 Aug 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534837/

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.