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TikTok Trends: How the Platform Profits from Dubious Health Trends

Eric Elliot

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Home » Entertainment » TikTok Trends: How the Platform Profits from Dubious Health Trends

TikTok, the wildly popular social media platform known for its short-form videos and entertaining content, has taken a turn into the realm of health and wellness trends. While many users flock to TikTok for dance challenges and funny sketches, others are turning to the platform for health advice and remedies. This shift has raised concerns about the spread of questionable health trends and how TikTok profits from them. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of TikTok trends and explore how the platform has become a hub for dubious health recommendations.

The Rise of Dubious Health Trends on TikTok

TikTok, with its massive user base and algorithm-driven content recommendations, has become a breeding ground for the promotion of health trends. Influencers like Busy Belle, with their substantial followings, have the power to sway thousands of users with their recommendations. For instance, Busy Belle promotes the use of castor oil applied to the belly button as a remedy for bacterial infections and tumor dissolution. Her videos have garnered millions of views, and the products she endorses have seen significant sales.

The Power of Recommendation Algorithms

At the heart of TikTok’s success are its recommendation algorithms. These algorithms work tirelessly to provide users with content tailored to their interests. As you engage with content related to health and wellness, the platform’s algorithm takes note and starts populating your feed with more of the same. It’s like having a personal wellness guru on your screen, but is it always a reliable source of information?

The Marriage of Dubious Advice and TikTok’s Trend Cycles

TikTok’s trend cycles are a driving force behind the spread of questionable health advice. When an influencer like Busy Belle promotes a health remedy, it often becomes a viral sensation, leading to a surge in popularity for the recommended product. This cycle creates a sense of urgency, making you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a newfound secret that can improve your health or appearance.

TikTok Shop: The New E-commerce Tool

To capitalize on the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon, TikTok introduced the TikTok Shop, an in-app marketplace where users can purchase products directly. This not only benefits the platform by increasing revenue but also provides influencers with a new way to monetize their content. Instead of traditional sponsorships, influencers can now earn commissions from sales generated through their product recommendations.

Influencers and Their Role in Promoting Dubious Health Products

Influencers play a pivotal role in promoting questionable health products on TikTok. They often receive a commission for every sale generated through their recommendations. This financial incentive can lead some influencers to market products that lack scientific backing or are potentially harmful. From parasite cleanses to detox drinks, these influencers push products that may not have any real health benefits.

The Appeal of “Alternative” Health Trends on TikTok

“Alternative” health trends thrive on TikTok because they offer recommendations that are affordable, accessible, and presented in a quasi-scientific manner. These trends tap into the desire for natural remedies and holistic approaches to health. However, the use of personal anecdotes, a potent marketing tool on TikTok, can sometimes blur the line between genuine advice and unverified claims.

The Impact of Personal Anecdotes

Personal anecdotes are a driving force behind the promotion of dubious health advice on TikTok. Influencers often share their personal experiences, claiming that a particular product or remedy worked wonders for them. These anecdotes can be persuasive, especially when they come from individuals with apparent credentials and large followings. However, it’s essential to approach such claims with caution and critical thinking.

The Repackaging of Dubious Health Remedies on TikTok Shop

TikTok Shop has become a hub for promoting questionable health products. While some of these products may have legitimate uses, they are often marketed with exaggerated claims. Take castor oil, for example. While it can moisturize the skin and hair, claims about it stimulating hair growth or dissolving tumors lack scientific support. TikTok Shop listings sometimes blur the line between legitimate products and those with unverified health claims.

TikTok Shop’s Policies and Enforcement

TikTok Shop has policies in place to prevent the sale of unlicensed medicines, herbal or homeopathic products, and health claims that lack verification from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, enforcing these policies can be challenging, especially when products gain popularity through trending health practices. Some videos blatantly violate these policies, but it’s unclear how these rules apply to TikTok Shop listings, influencers, or both.


As TikTok continues to be a breeding ground for health and wellness trends, it’s essential to approach these trends with caution. While the platform offers entertainment and creative expression, it also presents opportunities for the spread of dubious health advice. TikTok’s algorithms, influencer culture, and TikTok Shop have converged to create an environment where health trends can quickly gain traction, often without proper scrutiny. As users, it’s crucial to exercise critical thinking, verify health claims, and prioritize evidence-based approaches to wellness in a world where TikTok trends are influencing our choices and health decisions.