Doctor Confirms That 'Dehydration Check' TikTok Trend Actually Holds Water

Generally speaking, it's not a great idea to take health advice from TikTok.

While that's often true when we're talking about information from unqualified strangers, there seems to be a recent spate of TikTokers coming through with hacks of dubious merit, like the ones putting garlic up their noses in a bid to clear their sinuses.

And while those involved are not necessarily advising that other people do this, TikTok is also where the teeth-ruining "veneer" trend originated with particularly severe oral health implications.

But sometimes, TikTok can actually get the body right. And while the latest trend we'll be looking at could use a little tweak, there is actually some medical basis to it.

As is often the case for TikTok trends, it's hard to tell exactly where this one originated, but it tends to be expressed more or less the same way each time.

In the video you'll soon see, this person gives himself a "dehydration check" by pinching the skin around his knuckle and letting it go.

The idea is that if it immediately springs back into place, you're properly hydrated.

But if the pinched skin stays in the "tented" position you see at the end of the video for a time, that's supposed to be an indication that you're experiencing some dehydration.

According to NHS surgeon Dr. Karan Rajan, these TikTokers are doing something called a skin turgor test.

As he explained in the Instagram video you see here, your skin is more elastic the more well-hydrated you are, so that tenting effect does actually happen when you're dehydrated.

Of course, we usually just let our thirst or dry mouths tell us when we need to drink water.

But as ScienceDirect outlined, turgor tests like these are useful for doctors who are deciding whether or not to give patients an IV drip or who are monitoring their fluid treatments.

That said, Dr. Rajan did identify one little way in which the TikTok trend was off the mark.

As he said in a comment on his video, you're likely to get a more accurate sense of how elastic your skin is if you do this to the back of your hand, rather than your knuckle.

He also said that is test can get less effective as you age since we tend to lose some skin elasticity regardless of how much water we're drinking as we get older.

pixabay | stevepb

But overall, TikTok stumbled onto something that's actually a thing and one that measures what they say it does. So there's that, at least.

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