WATCH: ‘Mucus fishing’ phenomenon sparking viral revulsion on TikTok

WATCH: ‘Mucus fishing’ phenomenon sparking viral revulsion on TikTok

‘Mucus fishing’ is the latest phenomenon that has gone viral on the Chinese social network. It consists of intentionally removing the gunk that can accumulate at the corner of eyes when they’re irritated… A not very attractive practice, which has already prompted reactions from many health professionals.

Far removed from the beauty tips that we’re used to seeing on the social network, as wacky as they may be, the hashtag that is currently buzzing on TikTok, #mucusfishing, may offend some. This hashtag links to a multitude of videos featuring extreme close-ups of eyes.

Users are actually presenting a “beauty routine” (which is not really a routine) that in theory shouldn’t interest anyone. It’s about removing strands of mucus, essentially the dark gunk, from the eye with a cotton swab, or even worse, with the fingers. We can’t say it enough, these videos may spark the gag response in some viewers, but it is moreover the practice itself that raises questions.

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The TikTokers demonstrating it portray “mucus fishing” as a solution to a purely aesthetic problem. The individuals with the irritated eyes feel that such gunk takes away from their flawless makeup look. But many health professionals, including ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons, have already expressed their surprise – and their incomprehension – at the extent of the phenomenon. The hashtag “#mucusfishing” has so far accumulated more than 7 million views.

Dr Anthony Youn, a US-based cosmetic surgeon, released a video commenting on the practice, explaining that the more mucus is removed the more it tends to return, sometimes in greater quantities. The post has been seen more than 6 million times. Other health professionals have also taken action to let users know that the practice could increase irritation and be the cause of other infections, as the mucus contains protective substances.

Beyond inflicting images on viewers that most users would have rather done without seeing, “mucus fishing” enthusiasts would therefore be well advised to turn to more seemly and less harmful practices.

Watch the video below to see what ‘mucus fishing’ is:

@tonyyounmd #duet with @mikaylaadiorr What is this? #mucus #mucusfishing #doctorexplains #eyelid ♬ TWINNEM – Coi Leray

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