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Chlorophyl Water

Investigating the rise of chlorophyll water as the latest wellness drink


TextLaura PitcherIllustrationCallum Abbott

Users swear by the supplement’s acne-clearing and weight loss benefits, but does TikTok’s latest wellness craze actually work?

If you’ve scrolled through TikTok recently, chances are you’ve come across a deep, forest-green drink. Its name is chlorophyll water and it’s having a major moment in the wellness world right now. Chlorophyll is a green compound found in plants that absorbs sunlight and helps convert it to energy. When added to drinking water and consumed it’s said to have benefits ranging from clearing acne to helping with weight loss. Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian have sworn by it, and now TikTok is accelerating its rise in popularity thanks to countless videos singing its praises. But does it actually work? High school may have taught us the benefits of photosynthesis for plants, but could a compound so essential in that process also be beneficial for human health? 

Dr Anthony Youn, holistic plastic surgeon and TikTok’s resident doctor with over four million followers, says, actually, there’s no scientific backing behind the claims. “There does not appear to be any scientific studies to support that taking a chlorophyll supplement can cause you to lose weight or improve your acne,” he tells Dazed Beauty. “However, it is a powerful antioxidant and therefore is anti-inflammatory. It's also believed to be good for gut health, and may improve bloating symptoms in some.”

Dr Youn warns that while chlorophyll is a well-tolerated nutritional supplement for most people, there are always potential risks of adverse reaction (mainly gastrointestinal) and the risk of a rare type of skin reaction called pseudoporphyria. Dr Youn has seen many TikTok trends come and go, something he expects to happen soon with chlorophyll water. “I think it's just a flash in the pan because a few interesting videos with great results blew it up. The next one might be methylene blue,” he says. “In general, if you want to try a good antioxidant supplement, start with Vitamin C. It's much cheaper, easier to find, and will probably do very similar things as other antioxidant supplements like chlorophyll.” 

@zzhilton

Reply to @user150456595490 chlorophyll water (& mask) for acne!!! ##chlorophyllwater ##acnehacks

♬ original sound - zayra

Despite this, the buzz around the supplement has still cultivated a cult-like following. 22-year-old Zayra Sandoval, based in California, has been drinking one glass of chlorophyll water a day since 2019 and shared how it improved her acne on TikTok to her nearly 90 thousand followers. “The most remarkable benefit from the chlorophyll water has been its ability to help reduce my skin inflammation problems, specifically terrible face acne I had at the time,” she says. “Apart from helping prevent new breakouts I’d also like to credit chlorophyll water for helping fade the scarring that was left from all that acne.”

Like others on TikTok, Sandoval says she was surprised to discover it is a natural deodorant that “completely helped neutralise sweat and breath scents.” While she claims her skin did purge in the beginning, which she says was a way to get rid of “toxins”, that didn’t last long and she would recommend the supplement to anyone who’s interested.

Roxana Ehsani, registered dietitian nutritionist and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, however, says there is still more research to be done on chlorophyll’s health benefits before confirming the claims. “There are only two small studies of 10 people that saw an improvement in acne when chlorophyll was applied topically,” she says. “And only one study done in 2013 on overweight women found participants experienced a suppression in hunger when consuming chlorophyll and eating a high carbohydrate diet.” 

Ehsani also says that there is not enough research to conclude whether liquid chlorophyll is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, recommending they avoid it. She encourages anyone interested to first consult with a medical professional like a registered dietitian nutritionist before taking the supplement, as it may interfere with medication you are currently taking. In the meantime, she reminds us, there are lots of other ways of consuming chlorophyll, which is naturally found in green plants including spinach (which has the highest chlorophyll concentration), kale, lettuce, bok choy, algae, collard greens, broccoli, and more. “The greener the vegetable, the higher the chlorophyll amount,” she says. 

With this in mind, and the fact that chlorophyll and dietary supplements are not regulated in many countries (such as the US), it seems the healthiest way to keep chlorophyll in your diet is to eat it. While chlorophyll water might be an interesting trend to look at on the internet, and a mostly harmless one to try in moderation, it (like all wellness trends) is not a substitute for eating well and drinking enough water. Whether that water is green-infused is up to you. 

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