Medical professionals are warning TikTok users about a bizarre viral trend that has them yanking on their scalps until they pop. The “scalp popping” challenge has gained countless participants on the platform – but they may want to think twice.
It’s unclear where this viral challenge originated, but it has gained plenty of attention on TikTok. The hashtag #ScalpPopping has been viewed 6.6 million times and counting, with a landing page filled with TikTokers pulling out their own hair.
So far, TikToker Yana (@yanasemerly) has gained the most attention for her scalp popping video. In her clip, which has been viewed over 5 million times, a friend wraps a lock of her hair around one finger before yanking up – producing a distinct “pop” sound.
“OMG IT WORKS,” Yana wrote in her caption, giving credit for the idea to TikTok user Erika Bretado.
In her own video, Bretado urged viewers to “listen closely” while her mother performed a “Mexican Remedy for headaches.”
Is It Dangerous?
Massage therapist Jon Musgrave told Health.com that scalp popping is, in fact, a practice used to relieve headaches in Mexican and other world cultures.
“I first became aware of it as something Mexican women do to help relieve heat-induced migraines,” Musgrave said. “It’s not a standard Western massage technique, and it’s not something that I would do to myself or to someone else.”
Musgrave isn’t the only medical professional concerned about the scalp popping challenge.
“What you’re trying to do is pull tissue layers apart in your scalp,” pediatrician Dr. Andrew Doyle told WSMV news. “If you pull too hard or the wrong way you risk tearing the tissue, tearing the skin and pulling out a lot of hair.”
Now, TikTok itself has condemned the scalp popping challenge. On the platform’s mobile app, the #ScalpPopping page currently includes a warning to avoid potentially dangerous viral challenges.
“Performance, imitation, or encouragement of dangerous amateur stunts and risky behavior can lead to serious injury or death is not permitted on TikTok,” the notice reads. “Help keep the TikTok community safe and report content that violates our Community Guidelines.”