From Onions in Socks to Drinkable Sunscreen, the 'Internet Cures' Experts Say You Should Probably Avoid

Playing Debunking Some of the Internet's Questionable Medical Myths

Home remedies are all over the internet and how-to videos rack up millions of views, but do they work?

Some of the most popular are videos that claim sleeping with an onion in your sock will remove toxins and even make your feet smell better by killing bacteria.

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But Dr. Roshini Raj says that onion trick is nothing more than a myth.

“Onions are actually quite healthy if you eat them, but putting them in your sock is not going to do anything for you medically,” she told Inside Edition.

So an onion in your sock may not cure you, but it won’t hurt you either. However, experts warn that other miracle cures you see every day on the internet or social media could actually be harmful.

In one online video, a woman swears toothpaste can clear acne.

“Toothpaste was not designed to be put on your skin. It can actually be quite irritating. It can cause redness and further irritation of that pimple or blemish,” Dr. Raj said.

And then there’s so-called "miracle cures" for burns. People online swear almost everything from egg whites to butter will soothe a burn. But Dr. Raj says those cures could be harmful.

Instead, she said your best bet for a minor burn is to run it under some cool water.

Inside Edition also found multiple videos proclaiming the many benefits of a substance called colloidal silver, a liquid infused with silver.

Inside Edition bought a bottle for $30. It looked and smelled like plain old water, but people online claim it will cure everything from colds, sinus infections and bronchitis.

However, medical experts say colloidal silver has no known health benefits and could actually pose a danger.

“If you are regularly consuming colloidal silver, it can deposit and stay in the tissues of your body, which can sometimes lead to severe organ damage or it can lead to a permanent hyperpigmentation, meaning a discoloration of your skin,” Dr. Raj said.

Dr. Raj's warning was exhibited by Paul Karason, a Washington man nicknamed “Papa Smurf" after his skin turned blue from drinking a homebrewed colloidal silver concoction. Karason became a television phenomenon in 2008 when he appeared on Inside Edition to discuss his condition.

He died in 2013 at age 62 due to pneumonia.

The maker of the bottle Inside Edition purchased insists its product is completely safe and will not result in skin discoloration.

Then there's drinkable sunscreen, sold by Osmosis Skincare creator Dr. Ben Johnson.

"As crazy as it sounds, you've got to try it," he insists in an online video.

It sounds like a great advancement in modern medicine and Johnson insists it's a convenient alternative to applying greasy sunscreens that you squirt in your mouth for hours of sun protection.

"If you struggle with getting lotions rubbed on your kids' skin adequately, pumping it in their mouth makes it so much easier,” he suggests in the video.

However, Dr. Raj has her doubts:

“These drinkable sunscreens have never been shown to reduce your risk of skin cancer and are absolutely not a substitute for applying your sunscreen as you normally would do,” she said.

Dr. Johnson shared studies with Inside Edition that he insists prove the product works but many medical experts dispute those studies. 

Then there’s the video we found of a guy who offers tips to treat pneumonia naturally at home using oregano oil, which Dr. Raj rebukes as exceptionally dangerous advice.

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“Pneumonia, especially if it's not treated properly, can lead to severe complications or even be fatal,” Dr. Raj said.

So if you see an internet medical remedy that seems outrageous and wacky, experts say there's a good chance it is.

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