TikTok is entertaining. There’s no doubt about that. However, it can also be informative. Well, sometimes it can informative.
Dr. Karan Rajan (@drkaranrajan on TikTok), a surgeon, lecturer and educator, recently shared one of these informative TikTok videos by reacting to the “dehydration check.”
In the video, the person pinches their knuckle to see if the skin bounces back or takes longer to return to normal. Apparently, as Dr. Rajan states, if the skin bounces back, you’re hydrated, and if it stays up, you need to go grab a glass of H2O.
But, is the test accurate? Well, sort of, but not exactly.
To Pinch Or Not To Pinch?
While the skin turgor test is a clinical assessment method used by doctors and nurses to check their patient’s hydration, the location of the test in the video is the problem. Typically the test is performed on the back of the hand, abdomen or forearm. Not the knuckle.
Also, the test is most accurate for children and younger patients, as older and elderly patients’ skin may have lost some elasticity and may take longer to bounce back.
Another thing to consider is the skin turgor test is a quick initial assessment. Medical professionals will consider other clinical signs to either confirm or dismiss the diagnosis of dehydration.
In the comments, Dr. Rajan goes on to say, “The technique shown in this video isn’t quite accurate, [you] should ideally pinch [the] skin on [the] back of the hand not the knuckles! Also, the effect can vary depending on age too (less elastin as you grow older).”
To say that there were a lot of confused and concerned commenters would be an understatement. Even though Dr. Rajan pinned his aforementioned comment, people were still obviously concerned about the condition of their knuckles.
But don’t worry. There are other ways to test your hydration levels, too.
Some Other Techniques
While you can still use the standard skin turgor test on yourself, there are other options, too.
Are your lips dry? Grab a glass of water. Is your urine a pale yellow color? You’re probably good. Are you thirsty? Drink up, buttercup!
Obviously, if you’re outside on a hot day and sweating like crazy, you need to up your water intake, too.
If you need some more concrete facts, according to the Mayo Clinic, women need about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) and men need around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) daily.
But ultimately, consider your environment, level of exercise, overall health and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and adjust your water intake accordingly.