Posts tagged with "tiktok"

Why is Pilates so popular?

September 1, 2022

Australian-based Pilates instructor and influencer Bailey Brown summed up the Pilates craze succinctly in a now-famous TikTok: “Gorgeous, gorgeous girls do Pilates. Pilates girls are hot.”

Brown’s post has gained the attention of millions, and the audio has been shared numerous times on TikTok, reports Good Morning America.

The now-trending exercise has also become a favorite among celebrities like Duchess Meghan and Jennifer Aniston. It was name-dropped recently on the Met Gala red carpet by beauty entrepreneur Lori Harvey when she pointed to Pilates when Essence‘s beauty and style editor Blake Newby asked, “What’s the trick to the abs?”

While most market research doesn’t track Pilates separately from yoga, in a report by Research Dive, the global Pilates and yoga studios market was expected to pull in revenue of $269.3 billion by 2028 compared to $127.7 billion in 2021—a compound annual growth rate of 10%.

Fitness influencers Elizabeth Endres and Dale Stabler of Sweats & The City told Good Morning America that they were initially “intimidated” to try Pilates.

“However, when New York Pilates opened in their beautiful space in SoHo, it felt more approachable with class names like ‘ABS ARMS A**’.” We felt like they were trying to get the younger generation onto Pilates and make it fun,” says Stabler.

Enres adds, “Pilates is a challenging, low-impact exercise that really works muscles and parts of your body in ways no other exercise can. It’s about form and alignment and building a really strong foundation. We think a lot of people became tired of breaking their bodies down and wanted to explore all the benefits of Pilates. Not to mention, a lot of amazing studios have popped up in the last year or so.”

But what, exactly, is Pilates? Created by German physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, Pilates is a low-impact exercise focused on form and alignment to enhance strength building as well as flexibility. It can be done on a mat or reformer and practiced through other Pilates apparatuses.

Club Pilates master trainer Shepherd Joseph tells GMA that the most popular form of Pilates right now is performed on the reformer apparatus, which has springs that create multiple levels of resistance and straps for your arms and feet to move on a pulley system. “The reformer resembles a bed, as it was originally designed after a hospital bed when Joseph Pilates was rehabbing injured soldiers,” she explains.

Joseph went on to break down different types of Pilates—including everything from “classical” to “apparatus” formats:

  • Classical vs. Contemporary Pilates: Classical Pilates is a style that stays true to the original Pilates method, called Contrology, created by Joseph Pilates. Contemporary Pilates, seen at Club Pilates, is more of a blend of Joseph Pilates’ original method, and new-age research and exercises adapted from physical therapy.
  • Mat Pilates vs. Reformer Apparatus Pilates: Mat Pilates is a series of full-body exercises performed supine on a Pilates mat—prone, kneeling or standing. Reformer Pilates uses the Mat Pilates principles and performs the exercises with resistance and the pulley system—creating more intensity or assistance depending on the exercise.

Pilates has a wide range of important health, fitness and overall wellness benefits.

Cedric X. Bryant, president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, tells GMA that it also can “improve muscular endurance, flexibility and posture, and in combination can lead to a reduced risk of injury as well as a decrease in existing chronic pain. And, because of the focus on mindfulness, Pilates can reduce stress levels, anxiety and depression.”

He also added that Pilates can be an excellent option for people just starting an exercise routine, as well as those recovering from injury.

“It’s great for at-home workouts and can be done in short bouts of around ten minutes, so there is no need to perform a 60-minute workout to reap the benefits,” Bryant explains.

Additionally, several studies show that Pilates can be beneficial in everything from reducing chronic low back pain to reducing stress and anxiety.

Modernized boutiques and offerings have also sprung up along with the growing interest. Andersen credited some of the success of her airy, bright New York Pilates studios to the company’s use of social media and making it appealing to downtown New Yorkers. “Pilates is not a trend, it’s a movement,” says New York Pilates founder Heather Andersen

She adds, “By creating beautiful environments that feel more like homes instead of gyms, NYP has created a space that people want to work out in. You’ll feel like you’re working out in the apartment of your dreams. We hire the absolute best 400-hour certified Pilates instructors and students have started realizing just how effective Pilates can be.”

But that beauty comes with a price: Many people have called out the price, which can vary anywhere from $35 for a single group class to upward of $120 for one-on-one sessions.

Ife Obi, a certified Pilates teacher, personal trainer and founder of Brooklyn-based studio,  The Fit In, tells GMA that much of the pricing is influenced by keeping up with the current market rate; as well as high associated costs for certifications plus purchasing equipment that can total anywhere from $5,500 to $9,000—and doesn’t include any continuing education.

“While the prices are getting pretty ridiculous, there is in-depth anatomy, alignment, equipment and movement knowledge that you have to know in order to be a quality teacher,” said Obi. She also highlights that much of the in-depth knowledge isn’t included in standard personal training certification and can pack on an extra $1,000 in costs.

“And because of this, you generally don’t teach more than six people in a group Pilates equipment class — whereas in other modalities you can pack 30 or 40 people into a room because there’s not as much attention to detail,” Obi added. “But, you still have to cover the costs of the studio.”

Obi also mentioned that most Pilates studios in New York have opted for affluent neighborhoods, which results in higher rents and higher overall costs for sessions.

Another major drawback: Obi, who is a woman of color, says that Pilates has been inaccessible to many people of color for a number of reasons.

“From the beginning, it was seen as a modality for soldiers in Germany; then, eventually, dancers and celebrities in [the United States],” Obi says. “You didn’t really see us in those groups and in turn, you didn’t really see us in Pilates.”

First-generation Pilates teacher Kathy Grant, who was Black, studied directly under Joseph Pilates; but aside from her, master trainer Lolita San Miguel, who is Puerto Rican, said there weren’t many other advocates pushing to extend access of the method to people of color, according to Diversity in Pilates.

Liz Polk, co-founder of Speir Pilates, attributes the lack of representation to an underdeveloped pipeline of Pilates professionals and a gap in financial resources and support for Black-owned fitness businesses.

“There are so many amazing small Black fitness entrepreneurs out there, but their ability to grow and scale in a competitive way is severely limited when the funding is not available to them and they, instead, need to use their personal savings and/or money from friends and family to bootstrap the business,” said Polk.

“At Speir, we are actively addressing this pipeline issue by sponsoring trainees from underrepresented communities and seeing them through certification,” Polk reveals. “We’ve even offered our trainees open positions at Speir during their certification process. To date, we’ve sponsored the certification of several Pilates instructors and we plan to scale our training and certification programs to truly make a positive impact on this pipeline issue.”

Research contact: @GMA

His emotional support animal is an alligator. They sleep in the same bed.

August 30, 2022

Joseph Henney’s emotional support animal WallyGator goes with him almost everywhere—from the grocery store to walks in the park. They hug each other and sleep in the same bed. WallyGator is an alligator, reports The Washington Post.

“When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss,” said Henney, 69, who goes by Joie (pronounced “Joe”) and lives in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, about two hours from Philadelphia. “He’s super sweet-natured.”

The two watch television together on the couch, and when Henney takes him to the farmers market, WallyGator gives hugs to shoppers—as long as they are okay with being that close to a 70-pound reptile with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.

“Wally is definitely not your average crocodilian,” says Henney, explaining that most people in his community are familiar with his seven-year-old, 5½-foot emotional support alligator.

WallyGator has a following on TikTok and Instagram, and he made headlines on  Friday, August 26, after Henney took him to Love Park in Philadelphia.

“He’s a very special gator, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone get one,” he said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit.”

Henney’s unusual relationship with WallyGator started in 2015, he said, when a friend called from Florida and asked if he could take in a few gators that had been found in a pond in Orlando. Henney makes a living in woodcrafting, but he has always enjoyed caring for reptiles as a pastime, he said.

Alligators are legal to own in Pennsylvania, and Henney has helped relocate unwanted alligators, snakes, and iguanas to wildlife sanctuaries as a hobby for about 30 years. He keeps his rescue reptiles in his home in separate indoor enclosures that he purchased for this purpose. He then finds sanctuaries or zoos that will take them.

He is usually called to rescue alligators when people take in cute baby gators as pets but they inevitably turn into large animals that can be difficult to handle, he explains. They are, after all, a species that has not changed since the time of the dinosaurs.

Henney told his Florida friend that he could take in three juvenile alligators. After a while, he sent two of the gators to reptile refuges in New York and New Jersey, he said.

But Wally stayed behind: “I bonded with him and was committed to caring for him,” says Henney.

“One of the problems when someone gets an alligator for a pet is they don’t realize they’re in for a long haul,” he said, noting that the reptiles can live 80 years or longer in captivity.

They breathe air and generally live in freshwater, but their skin does not need to stay wet for survival. It isn’t common for people to want alligators as pets, though it does happen more than most people realize, he admits.

“When they get to three feet, nobody wants them,” Henney said. “They can bite and they’re extremely hard to handle.”

Wildlife experts agree: Alligators generally don’t make good pets, and they’re illegal to own in many states. “The jaw pressure from an alligator’s bite force is incredibly strong, and their powerful tails can whip you,” adding, “They are also predators who are hardwired to believe that other creatures want to eat them, so they are defensive early on, he said.

“I definitely assume that [Henney] is an exception when it comes to caring for an alligator—he’s done a good job,” Diaz said. “But most people don’t have that kind of time to devote to a pet alligator’s care.”

The large reptiles require a special diet and enrichment such as logs or live plants to hide under; and running or spraying water to thrive under human care. They should never be handled by people who aren’t trained, said Matt Evans, assistant curator of Herpetology at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C.

“If you are interested in working with alligators, volunteer at your local zoo or nature center or get involved with citizen science,” Evans said.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Dad wows the Internet by modeling his daughter’s crochet crop tops

August 8, 2022

This dad loves to model his daughter’s crochet designs—from cool crop tops to beautiful bucket hats. But he’s not just any dad. He’s Jeff Beaver of Arkansas, reports ABC News.

Across several social media platforms—including  Instagram,  TikTok  and more—the dedicated dad can be seen dancing, twirling, laughing, and posing in looks from the LoveBeav product line.

Emily has been crocheting since 2015, but started noticing her business really take off during the summer of 2021, thanks to social media. When she began scouting her parents to model her designs, the business saw an immediate upswwing.

“My dad has never been afraid to look silly, especially if he’s having fun doing it, so there was never any hesitation on his part,” Emily told ABC’s morning show, Good Morning America. “The most important thing for me and my parents is that we are spending quality time laughing and enjoying what we are doing.”

“We could care less what other people think about how silly it might look,” she added.

After noticing how well a video performed that featured her mother, Amy Beaver, wearing one of her crochet designs, Emily thought, “Why not try including Dad, as well?”

“The Internet totally ate it up and every time I included my parents, I knew that there was something special about the concept of a family wearing crochet tops together,” Emily said.

Since making the decision to include her parents in content creation, Emily’s business has continued to grow at a rapid rate and she has seen a large increase in followers.

The 28-year-old crochet artist and content creator was able to quit her previous day job to solely focus on art and content creation full-time because of the increase in engagement and sales.

“I went from barely any sales at all, to usually selling out my entire restock each month,” Emily said. “The biggest win for me, however, has been the opportunities I’ve had to partner with some of my favorite brands, like Michael’s Craft Store. I’ve been shopping at Michael’s since I started crocheting, so to be able to partner with them and create videos for them has been an absolute dream.”

When it comes to the Beaver family’s newfound Internet fame, Emily said they are all “loving it,” adding, “I’m still not sure we have even processed it completely.”

Emily recalls attending the Electric Forest Festival and finding it absolutely mind-blowing how many fans they met. “We were getting asked for pictures about every five feet. It has been such an awesome experience to do this together, and we are looking forward to seeing where this leads.”

From cool crop tops to beautiful bucket hats, all of Emily’s crochet designs can be found on her company’s website. However, social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and  Facebook are the best way to find her and her family’s latest viral moments.

Research contact: @ABC

Hired help: Professional bridesmaids are a booming growth industry in China—but height rules apply

July 25, 2022

Traditionally, being asked by a friend or a relative to be a bridesmaid has been considered an honor—but, in China, the job of being at a bride’s side is becoming a booming growth industry, reports Fortune.

Indeed, the magazine says, professional bridesmaids are increasingly becoming the norm for Chinese women as they plan their wedding days.

One bridesmaid and groomsman rental company based in the Chinese city of Hangzhou  that its number of registered members has grown to 50,000 since its February launch, and that it has received 10 to 20 orders per day over the past month.

Bridesmaids can be hired through wedding planners or companies that specialize in the niche industry, but services also are advertised on social media platforms like Weibo.

On TikTok—known as Douyin in China—a hashtag that translates to “rent bridesmaids” presents users with multiple videos on the topic, and  a video  from a Guangdong-based bridesmaid rental studio offers professional bridesmaids who can “save worry and effort,” but “will not steal the limelight.”

Brides reportedly are able to make demands about prospective bridesmaids’ looks, weight, and personality, and even their academic accomplishments.

Xie Yuke—a 22-year-old woman who has traveled more than 140,000 kilometers (around 87,000 miles) to earn a living as a professional bridesmaid all over China—told Chinese state-run news outlet Sixth Tone on Monday, July 18, that the pandemic had helped the rent-a-bridesmaid industry.

According to Xie, bridesmaids need to be unmarried and cannot be taller than the bride. She said an ideal height for an aspiring professional bridesmaid was between 5 feet 11 and 5 feet 8.

Generally, pro bridesmaids earn a daily rate between 500 and 2,000 yuan ($74 and $295), Xie told Sixth Tone.

A typical day on the job would see Xie wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for the wedding, and she would be expected to spend the day taking photos, entertaining guests, and making toasts until the wedding banquet ends at around 8 p.m. When she works at a wedding, Xie said, she usually pretends to be a friend or classmate of the bride.

While Xie attributed the boom in demand for professional bridesmaids to the pandemic, there is also a darker side to why some women opt to rent strangers to join their wedding party.

According to Yang Hu, a senior researcher at the University of Essex’s Department of Sociology, some women take the hiring route because of “the dangers of being a bridesmaid in China.”

“[Bridesmaids] are expected to fend off drinking requests and in a lot of cases drink Chinese rice wine on behalf of the bride,” he explained in a 2016 blog post.

“It is a widespread tradition that the newlyweds should toast bottoms up to every wedding guest on an individual basis—meaning that the bridesmaid often ends up drinking on behalf of the bride and overconsuming alcohol. In fulfilling their obligation, some of them suffer from alcohol poisoning or even risk death.”

He added that bridesmaids also act as the final “hurdle” before the groom can enter the bridal suite after the wedding, which often leads to the groom and groomsmen carrying out “stunts laced with sexual innuendo.”

“In many cases, bridesmaids are unwillingly involved in sexual stunts designed for the newlyweds,” Yang said. “In extreme cases, some are stripped of their clothes and molested, or attacked.”

He noted that most reports of alcohol poisoning, sexual harassment, and abuse of bridesmaids are concentrated in China’s rural areas and provinces.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Meet Murph, NERF’s first-ever official mascot

July 21, 2022

Rhode Island-based Hasbro is expanding the NERF team with the brand’s first-ever mascot, named Murph, reports The Toy Insider.

 Made entirely of NERF foam darts from head to toe, Murph personifies the playful spirit that kids can unleash through NERF. Murphy is a natural athlete, an expert at surprise NERF Super Soaker ambushes, and a fantastic trick shooter with any NERF blaster.

 Hasbro is placing Murph in the center of NERF’s new advertising campaign launching this  summer  to drive the new brand mnemonic: “Unleash the Play in You.” The campaign encourages families to get up and get active with NERF and Murph to create memories that will last a lifetime. 

 During the multi-year campaign, fans will begin to see Murph appear more and more, including in stores where NERF toys are available, pop-up surprise moments, and on social media. Stay tuned for Murph’s next moves on NERF’s official social media channels on TikTokInstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

 

Research contact: @TheToyInsider

Shell game: Tiny pet turtle Sergio scoots around house on a speedy set of Hot Wheels

July 19, 2022

Turtles aren’t known for their speediness, but a cute one named Sergio has finally found a foolproof way to get past the hare. In an adorable Instagram reel, the tiny reptile can be seen zooming around his owners’ house on a little Hot Wheels car. And once you see him in action, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the endearing display, reports My Modern Met.

The way Sergio “drives” his car is both simple and ingenious. The turtle manages to attach himself to his “speed racer” by using non-toxic Silly Putty to stick the car to the bottom of his shell. And according to his human Kenny James, it’s one of Sergio’s favorite things to do.

Sometimes the turtle takes his Hot Wheels car for a spin with no hands. And once, he even brought one of his amphibian friends, Tubby the toad, along for a ride.

But when he’s not driving his car, Sergio can often be found taking a dip in his custom pool. What a life.

See Sergio the reptilian speed demon in action on Instagram and TikTok.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Loving dog brings his mom presents while she’s in the shower

June 29, 2020

A dog named Fin misses his mom while she’s in the shower—so, he has devised an interesting strategy to get her attention: He leaves little gifts outside the bathroom door, reports My Modern Met.

Whether he’s giving the gifts selflessly or has an ulterior motive questionable, though. Fin isn’t the biggest fan of his mom taking showers. She’s gone so long, which means there’s less time to play. So, the thoughtful pup came up with an intriguing strategy to get her attention. He began delivering gifts—all kinds of household items—to the bathroom door, in hopes of getting her to open the door again.

“From what my fiancé says, Fin brings a couple items to the door while I’m in the shower to see if any of them will get me to open the door,” says Fin’s mom, Vee Thayer. “Sometimes I’ll open it to find an assortment of items; other times, it’ll just be one thing.”

At first, Thayer was understandably confused. But soon, she came to look forward to the surprise gifts. There’s no way to predict what they’ll be. Some of her favorite things he’s brought her have been duct tape, tongs, shampoo, socks, his dog bed, a bowl of his food, hangers, and a pack of Post-it Notes.

She and Fin even have a little ritual now: “When I open the door, I always say thank you and check out each item. His face is the cutest when the door opens—it’s a mixture of pride and concern, like, ‘Oh jeez, I hope I brought the right thing!’”

Fin is also a very playful pup  and seems to think the right assemblage of items is the key to getting his humans to come back from wherever they’ve gone and play with him instead.

He even has devised another endearing ritual, in the hopes of getting his dad back from work sooner. “When he senses it’s about time for dog dad to get home from work, he’ll sit in a specific spot at the corner of the carpet in our living room and wait,” says Thayer. “The longer the wait, the more toys and items he’ll grab. It’s like he’s trying to find ‘the thing’ that will make his dad walk through the door.”

Fin’s adorable offerings have earned him many appreciative followers on both TikTok and Instagram, and he doesn’t seem to have any plans to stop soon.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Contest: Meditation app Calm seeks TikTok story narrator with the ‘smoothest voice’

May 10, 2022

Calm, a meditation and wellness app, is looking for a voice that puts people to sleep, reports CNBC.

And it’s hoping to find that voice on TikTok. The company recently posted a video on the social media platform announcing its Next Voice of Calm Contest, which will select the entrant with the most soothing voice to record one of Calm’s upcoming 60-second Sleep Stories. The winner also will receive $5,000.

“We’re looking for TikTok’s smoothest voice,” Erik Braa, one of Calm’s current Sleep Story narrators, intones in the video.

To enter, interested participants need to post a 60-second or less TikTok stitched to Calm’s contest announcement video. In your minute-long entry, you can read aloud basically anything: “A grocery list, your last text or a made-up story,” Braa says. “As long as it’s original and oh-so-soothing.”

More than 350 million people have listened to Calm’s Sleep Stories, according to the company, making this a potentially huge opportunity for the winner. Other Sleep Stories on Calm’s platform have been narrated by celebrities like Harry Styles, Pink. and LeBron James.

Like many mental health apps, Calm experienced an influx of new users during the pandemic: It was the world’s most downloaded app in April 2020, with nearly 4 million downloads globally that month, according to intelligence firm Sensory Tower. Calm attained a $2 billion valuation in December 2020, following a $75 million fundraising round.

More recently, the global mental health app industry as a whole—which was valued at $4.2 billion last year, according to a Grand View Research report—has come under fire for not actually improving the mental wellbeing of most users. A January study published in PLOS Digital Health, a healthcare research platform, found there was no “convincing evidence in support of any mobile phone-based intervention.”

But according to Calm, its Sleep Stories might actually work. In an October 2021 study conducted by Jennifer Huberty, the company’s director of science, a majority of participants reported that “using Calm helped them fall asleep, stay asleep and get restful sleep.” Most of those participants struggled with sleep disturbances, and nearly half had a mental health diagnosis, according to the study.

Other mental health app critics have raised ethical concerns around how mental health and meditation apps share user information: One study, published in the journal Internet Interventions in 2019, found those less than 50% of apps targeting depression had any privacy policy.

The privacy policy on Calm’s website states that it collects personal user information from inside its app and third-party platforms. Calm did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

The Next Voice of Calm Contest closes on May 13, and the winner will be announced on June 7, with their Sleep Story anticipated to publish on Calm’s app this fall. Entrants are only allowed one submission each and must be at least 18 years old. They also must be legal residents and living in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Research contact: @CNBC

What lies beneath: Long nails may not be as hygienic as you hope

May 4, 2022

Long nails are a major trend these days—seen on the hands of superstars like Cardi B and Billie Eilish. But a biologist warns this new trend may come with health hazards, considering what may be growing underneath.

Jeffrey Kaplan, a biology professor at American University, recently told USA Today that the area under the fingernail in the crevice is where most of the bacteria live.

“The longer the nail, the more surface area there is for microorganisms to adhere,” he said. “Studies have found 32 different bacteria and 28 different fungi underneath fingernails.”

Kaplan said it doesn’t matter if you have long artificial nails, long natural nails, gel nails, acrylic nails, or nail polish, because there is an increased probability of carrying microorganisms which makes it more difficult to decontaminate with handwashing or scrubbing.

One study found MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes serious infections in hospitalized patients, underneath half of the fingernail samples collected, according to Kaplan.

Also, some of the bacteria under nails can be found on the skin, like staphylococcus, which can lead to an infection.

“You can transmit fingernail bacteria to your system by scratching, nail-biting, nose-picking, and finger-sucking,” Kaplan said. 

He said the worst thing that could happen from the bacteria and fungi is a nail infection, which would not be life-threatening, but could leave your fingernails disfigured.

That is why most, if not all healthcare workers, are required to wear short nails due to being at risk for transmitting disease, according to Kaplan.

Two nurses at an Oklahoma City hospital may have contributed to the deaths of 16 babies in 1997 and 1998 because of bacteria found underneath their long nails, The New York Times reported.

Epidemiologists found a link between the deaths of the infants in the neonatal unit and the bacteria under the nails but did not prove it was the definite cause.

“When surgeons scrub for surgery and then they test their hands, there’s always bacteria under the fingernail and you can’t get rid of it,” Kaplan said. 

Kayla Newman, a nail tech based in North Carolina, told USA Today that none of her clientele has had infections or “nasty nails” in her eight years of service. “Generally people who have long nails know how to maneuver with them and keep them clean,” she said. “If you’re spending upwards of $60 to get your nails done and you don’t keep them clean, that doesn’t make sense.”

Newman has seen the trend for long nails grow over the last couple of years and social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, showcase artistic designs on nails that can be over two inches long.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Aloe vera juice is all over TikTok as the latest skincare and digestive health hack

April 11, 2022

Leave it to TikTok to discover (or, in this case, rediscover) all the best health trends. With over 13 million views on the hashtag, the spotlight currently belongs to aloe vera juice, a beverage many TikTokers claim can help clear breakouts, improve digestive health, and boost overall well-being, reports Bustle.

Aloe vera juice has been around for ages and is well-known for its nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties, says Dr. Laura DeCesaris, a clinical nutritionist and functional-medicine certified practitioner. But, she says, there’s an extra demand right now for multi-tasking functional beverages.

“Essentially, if you’re already going to be drinking fluids, it’s popular to look for options that have extra health benefits to help increase energy and vitality,” DeCesaris tells Bustle.

The juice comes from the cool, pulpy gel found inside the aloe vera leaf, which is then combined with water to create a drink, says DeCesaris. Yes, it’s the same stuff you put on sunburns too.

Aloe vera juice is widely available in bottles and jugs at grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as online and in health food stores. “You can drink it on its own or add it to a glass of water with a squeeze of citrus for a refreshing beverage,” she tells Bustle. Or, if you think it’s too bitter, you can blend it into a smoothie, mix it with sparkling water, or stir it into fruit juice.

While more research is needed to validate all of the potential benefits, DeCesaris says a few studies have shown that aloe vera juice may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which includes digestive issues like constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. There’s also some evidence to suggest that it may help ease symptoms of heartburn, and that it may enhance the effectiveness of pharmaceutical interventions for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—all great information to note if you’re prone to indigestion.

This may be because aloe vera juice is anti-inflammatory in nature, DeCesaris explains, and because it has “mucilaginous benefits” or a gel-like consistency that coats the lining of your stomach to reduce acid secretion. Then there are the antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which she says can help to reduce inflammation even more and fight free radicals in the body.

While you might want to drink aloe vera juice for those digestion benefits, there are countless videos touting the drink’s many potential skin benefits, too. But does it really help if you drink it?

While TikTok says yes, naturopathic physician Dr. Alyssa DeSena isn’t so sure. “Most of the evidence supporting aloe vera’s use in acne is when aloe is used topically,” she tells Bustle. “There is not much on how aloe vera juice affects people who suffer with acne and psoriasis if they drink the juice.”

That said, DeSena points out that many folks who have breakouts and psoriasis often have gut health issues too, which is why drinking something that heals inflammation on the inside may lead to visible benefits on the outside. It’s just one of those online trends that research still needs to catch up with to fully understand its benefits as a natural remedy.

One word of warning: Aloe vera juice is a natural laxative, which is great news if you’re feeling constipated, but not so great if you already have regular bowel movements.

To make sure you don’t overdo it or upset your system, DeCesaris recommends drinking “inner leaf” aloe vera juice rather than “whole leaf.” It’s a bit milder in flavor and it’s less likely to cause loose stools, she says.

Start by drinking two ounces a day to see how you tolerate it, before slowly increasing to four ounces a day. “Everyone responds to foods, herbs, and drinks differently,” DeCesaris adds. “If you’re currently taking any medications, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first before adding aloe to your routine.”

Research contact: @bustle