Dermatology and technology: a dip into Instagram, TikTok and ClubHouse
An overview of how social networks can provide correct information in the world of dermatology
The growing presence of social media in the medical field has led to fundamental changes in the way patients interact with doctors. Social media has facilitated networking and consequently changed the way doctors and patients approach and communicate with one another. This is especially true with regards to dermatology, given the visual nature of skin conditions. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and the more recent ClubHouse are the ideal places for dermatologists to become expert influencers.
The best of Instagram
Instagram started influencer marketing, which has paved the way for experienced influencers. These influencers can help to counter some of the other fake news found on the internet as they are often qualified people with publications on their specialist subject. Glamor UK has published a ranking of the 5 best Instagram accounts that talk about skin care, naturally all managed by dermatologists.
@anjalimahto is a consultant dermatologist, author of The Skincare Bible and resident doctor at Skin55 on London’s Harley Street. She has over 90k followers and deals specifically with acne, as well as skin care.
@dr.somaskin has over 24k followers, she is head of the digital department for the British Society of Medical Dermatology and a full time dermatologist.
@dr_ifeoma_ejikeme is the medical director of her own skin clinic. She has 26k followers, to whom she explains how to use certain products and how to treat major skin problems.
@drsambunting has 99k followers and has been the go-to expert for beauty editors for years. She also has her own range of effective skincare products.
@drewomaukeleghe has 13k followers and she is an award-winning medical and cosmetic doctor. She has an honest dialogue with her followers.
The spontaneity of TikTok
TikTok seems to be a platform dedicated to viral challenges. However, many dermatologists are now becoming aware of TikTok’s ever-growing popularity. They are learning to share their medical advice via their phone cameras, rather than limiting their opinions to the consultation room.
There are some striking cases of dermatologists who have used TikTok to create a solid fan base by spreading correct information on the use of some products and giving users honest and reliable medical information through this social media application. One of these is the dermatologist Dustin Portela (@208skindoc). Recognising the app’s potential to reach people with humour, he has taught thousands of teenagers how to take better care of their skin. Dr. Joyce Park (@teawithmd) has also found a very interesting way to engage her followers by teaching skincare tips and debunking myths.
The success of TikTok for the world of dermatology seems to lie in its authenticity. Instagram offers are often highly curated and therefore some content may potentially be “false“. TikTok leaves room for spontaneity. Doctors can clarify what is scientifically sound in a scalable and informative way and this communicative approach is something users very much appreciate.
ClubHouse: just the voice
ClubHouse emerged just before the pandemic and has helped to eliminate any source of image-related anxiety. There are no likes, comments or hashtags; there is just the voice. Interactive podcasts have become the perfect stage for dermatology. Full conversations can be heard at any time of day. It is a safe haven where people can become informed without being forced to appear. Some of the best dermatology clubs have been recommended by RealSelf
- Board Certified Derms is an exclusive club, founded by board-certified New York City dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. It is made up of, and moderated by, board-certified dermatologists. On Thursday evenings, Dr. Zeichner hosts a programme called Controversies in Skincare.
- Skincare with Derms is a club where topics range from trending ingredients to skin-of-colour considerations and clean-beauty controversies.
- Black Beauty Chat hosts discussions on navigating the beauty landscape as a black consumer, service provider or executive.
- The Skin Enthusiast collects skin nerds of all types.
- Kids Skin & Health Club focuses on kids’ and teenagers’ skin-health issues, such as eczema and acne, and other aspects of paediatric medicine.
Social networks are increasingly becoming an integral part of our offline life too. If used well, they can also become a point of reference for the medical world, which has always been characterised by face-to-face relationships. Who knows if one day we will find a university course on the use of social networks to communicate with patients? We can only hope that the number of followers does not become a benchmark for the professionalism of a doctor. What do you think?
By the Editorial Team