GP Warns Against Worrying TikTok Trend 

A worrying TikTok trend has surfaced, claiming that cyanide can prevent acne and acne scars. In a TikTok video that has over 440,000 views and 77,000 likes, a woman explains that she believes her clear skin may be due to the amount of apricot kernels she ate as a child. 

Although the TikTok user goes on to warn viewers against trying this unusual acne treatment themselves, GP at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, Dr Neel Patel is concerned.

Dr Patel wants to warn social media users against this purported acne treatment

“Apricot stones contain a compound called amygdalin which converts to cyanide once eaten. Cyanide is a toxic compound contained in the seeds, stones and pips of fruits like apples, apricots and red cherries. 

“Cyanide is a rapidly acting, potentially deadly poison which interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen. Long-term symptoms of cyanide poisoning include coma, high or low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, lung injury, seizures and even death. 

“Generally, foods that contain cyanide tend to contain it in very low doses which are nothing to worry about. For example, apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide but whole seeds pass through the body without any problems. Even with crushed or chewed seeds, you’d need to eat at least 150 in one sitting to be at any risk.

“However, you should be careful with apricot kernels. These are the seeds inside the apricot stone. Usually you’d need a pair of pliers to crack open the stone and extract them.” 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) cites apricot kernels as a cyanide poisoning risk. Eating more than three of these kernels in one sitting is not recommended as it can exceed the recommended safe level. The woman in this video says she ate at least five of these a day – almost double this. 

“If replicated, this trend could be highly dangerous and I would not recommend people trying to increase their consumption of cyanide. For anybody who may be concerned about cyanide poisoning, there are symptoms to look out for:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Chest tightness
  3. Confusion
  4. Dizziness
  5. Eye pain
  6. Eye tearing
  7. Excitement
  8. Difficulty breathing
  9. Headache
  10. Nausea
  11. Rapid or slow heart rate
  12. Rapid or slow breathing
  13. Restlessness
  14. Shortness of breath and
  15. Vomiting
  16. Weakness
  17. Wheezing

“If you think you or somebody else may have cyanide poisoning, you should seek urgent medical treatment.” 

Anabel Cooper

Anabel is a graduate of King’s College London and upon graduating, she set out on a journey to inspire and empower women through her words. Besides working as a digital marketing expert, Anabel is a freelance copywriter.