Another day, another dubious TikTok trend! The app has moved on from cheesy pasta and fake cereal to tackling the wellness industry. The cure-all du jour: chlorophyll. The thing that makes spinach green and helps plants photosynthesize — that thing you learned about in junior high — is now the coolest pigment on TikTok. People are claiming that adding 15 (fifteen!) drops of the natural green liquid to your morning glass of water will increase energy levels, clear skin, aid weight loss, and even reduce body odor. It’s natural, it’s an appealing verdant shade, and it’s going to allow me to finally switch out my Dove deodorant for a fancy natural one? I’m all in.
After watching a selection of “Why I Love Chlorophyll” videos on my For You page, I went to Amazon to order some chlorophyll pigment for myself. But — horror! Prime is sold out. Clearly Bezos isn’t on TikTok or he would have known to stock up. Instead, I borrowed an extra bottle of the magical liquid from a friend who had beaten me to the trend.
I followed the rules to a T. Admittedly, there aren’t many. I poured myself a glass of cold water, added the pigment, and watched as my transparent drink began to resemble a scummy pond. I brought it up to my mouth and was greeted by a terrible, dusty, kind of sweaty smell? I grabbed a metal straw to ensure that the odor didn’t distract me. It tasted a little minty, a little dirty, and a whole lot like water.
After a week of chlorophyll-water mornings, I wish I had a groundbreaking experience to share, but I do not. Nor do I have anything that negative to say, either. I think I felt a little bit more energized? I definitely used the bathroom more, and it was definitely slightly green — take that as you will. I have fairly unproblematic skin, so I didn’t see much of a change there. But then, drinking more water is always going to be good for your skin, chlorophyll or no. In terms of body odor, I also think I smelled a little better than usual after a hot-yoga workout — but again, it could all be a placebo? Maybe it has something to do with the health-influencer vibe I acquired.
Unable to accept my own results at face value, I turned to medical professionals to get their insight. Dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, @skinbydrazi on TikTok, confirmed my skepticism — chlorophyll drops aren’t bad for you, but there isn’t a lot of proof that they’re great for you, either.
“Although it’s been shown to reduce inflammation and bacterial growth in the skin, there’s very little data that drinking it will actually improve acne,” explained Dr. Shirazi. “Some small studies have found topical chlorophyll formulations to be helpful in reducing breakouts.”
Maybe TikTok has it wrong and we should start putting chlorophyll on our face? I’ll spearhead that trend if you all promise to follow. The skin-care component is clarified, but what about all the amazing internal health benefits I was promised?
According to Dr. Raj Kandavanam, there are some studies that show the pigment aids in weight loss and even wound-healing, but again … not a lot. He also said that chlorophyll stops mutagenic cells, especially within the colon, and can therefore help lower the chances of cancer. Although Dr. Kandavanam warned that overconsumption can cause photosensitivity and diarrhea, ultimately the doctor is here for it. “I believe it is a positive trend because benefits easily outweigh risk,” said Dr. Kandavanam. He suggested one teaspoon daily with a glass of water.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter whether chlorophyll clears your skin or stops you from smelling bad — teenagers are drinking more water and talking about gut health! Maybe this was all just a ploy to get Gen-Zers excited about their health and well-being? Either way, this one feels like a win for TikTok. But, you know, go to your doctor for health advice before you go to your social feed.