TikTokers Used This Quick Test to See If They're Dehydrated, and Experts Say It's Legit

You can use the skin pinch test, AKA the skin turgor test, when you're wondering how hydrated you are.

Collage of person drinking water while wearing headphones - with words TIKTOK True of False overlay
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TikTok True or False is the answer to your burning questions about the health, beauty, and fitness fads taking over your social feeds. Each story breaks down a buzzy wellness trend with the help of experts and scientific research to uncover the truth and safety behind the viral "advice" you see online. You'll never have to wonder what's actually legit — or what to skip — again.

TikTok is home to some pretty bizarre trends, but sometimes the health tips the app offers can actually be helpful. Case in point: Karan Raj, M.R.C.S., who goes by the TikTok username @dr.karanr, posted a video where he weighs in on a simple hack for seeing if you're dehydrated. You may already be gauging your hydration level by the color of your pee, but this test is even easier to conduct and won't require a trip to the restroom.

The test is referred to as "the skin pinch test," and it's actually a reliable way to find out if you're dehydrated, shares Raj in his video. To try it, you pinch the wrinkly skin on your finger at the midway point, where your finger can bend in half. If your skin returns to normal right after you pinch it, you're suitably hydrated. If it retains the pinched shape for a few seconds or longer, you're likely dehydrated, says Raj. (Check It Out: The 16 Best Water Bottles for Workouts, Hiking, and Everyday Hydration)

This sounds like a quick and easy way to see if you're dehydrated, but is it legit? Ahead, read what an internist has to say about the TikTok-famous skin pinch test and the importance of staying hydrated.

What is dehydration?

Staying hydrated is crucial to your overall health. "Staying hydrated helps with lubricating joints, boosts skin health and beauty, flushes body water, and regulates body temperature," says Alicia Shelly, M.D., F.A.C.P., internist. While it's normal to lose water throughout the day, losing more fluids than you take in causes dehydration, which can impact your body's performance and lead to symptoms, such as dizziness, feeling tired, feeling thirsty, and having dry skin, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Daily water requirements are highly individualized, though, so it's helpful to keep tabs on the color of your pee or your skin's elasticity rather than assuming you should follow the classic eight-glass rule. (See: The Best Water Filters to Stay Hydrated at Home)

Does the pinch dehydration test work?

Dr. Shelly seconds Raj's notion that the pinch test is an accurate test to measure dehydration. "Skin pinching assesses for skin turgor, which is the elasticity of your skin," she explains. A decrease in skin turgor is a sign of fluid loss, and health care practitioners will sometimes check skin turgor between patients' fingers or on their arm or abdomen, according to the NLM.

"When you are dehydrated, there is less fluid in the skin so it takes longer for the skin to return to its normal position (snap back in place) after pinching for one to two seconds," says Dr. Shelly. "If you are hydrated, your skin has no problem returning to normal after the skin pinching."

Is the pinch dehydration test safe?

While the skin pinch test is a reliable method for testing dehydration, you should also factor your age into your results, as over time, skin elasticity decreases, says Dr. Shelly. "An elderly person has 20 percent decreased elasticity in their skin, so the skin may not return to normal as fast as someone who is younger," she says.

"If you don't trust the finger pinch method, there are other ways to test for dehydration, including urine osmolality [a measure of the concentration of chemicals in urine which can be measured via urine test or blood test], fluid intake, and expressing fatigue," says Dr. Shelly. Additionally, the color of your urine can indicate how hydrated you are, confirms the Centers for Disease Control; a pale or straw-colored urine means you're in the clear, while a darker urine color suggests you need to hydrate more. The amount that you pee, your heart rate, and whether or not your mouth feels dry aren't so helpful when it comes to cluing you in to whether you're dehydrated, says Dr. Shelly.

You can determine if you're hydrated using the pinch dehydration test: true or false?

TikTok True or False: Dehydration Test - True written on person drinking water
Getty Images

The pinch dehydration test can help you determine if you're dehydrated, but if you're older or unsure of the results of the pinch test, there are other methods you can try. Consider this a sign to make drinking water a priority this summer — and to measure your success with the skin pinch test. Your body will thank you.

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