It’s fair to say that every day is a school day when it comes to TikTok; whether it’s learning a new hair-do, a new fact, or even a life-changing hack. But, every now and then a bizarre – and rather worrying – trend emerges on the app, and in these instances, it’s a lesson in what not to do.
The latest trend, which is being referred to as scalp popping involves pulling on a chunk of hair so hard that it creates a popping sound on the skull, and let us tell you, you should absolutely not try this at home. The actual popping sound derives from the soft tissue (galea aponeurotica) between the scalp and the skull popping off the skull, which can cause bleeding under the scalp and ultimately lead to infections.
One popular TikTok video from @yanasemerly shows a woman named Yana and her friend taking a small section of their hair, twisting it tightly, and then pulling up with some serious force. They both look surprised when they can hear a popping sound. The video has been liked nearly 834,000 times, and the comments are flooded with people who said they’re trying it too.
“I tried it. Hurts a lot and it doesn’t work,” one person wrote. “I had this done to me as a child and it hurt,” another said. There are plenty of other TikToks of people trying this out, and the results are the same: They pull hard at a piece of their hair and then hear a popping sound.
Some people said in the comments of Yana’s post that the move is used in some cultures to cure certain ailments. “This thing takes away the cough in our culture,” one person said. “My mum does this when we are sick,” another said. “If you have a bad cough, it helps to ease it.”
OK, but what’s going on here? The “pop” you hear is the galea aponeurotica, a tough sheet of soft tissue connected to your scalp, popping off your skull, Anthony Youn, M.D., a Detroit-based plastic surgeon, explained in a TikTok about the trend.
This is really not something you want to try, Dr. Youn said in another TikTok.
my scalp been feeling so weird since i found out about the popping thing!! despicable
— chicana maleficent ✨ (@gorditacronch) October 14, 2021
So…it’s really best to take a pass on this one, OK?