As a lover of all things skincare and beauty, I always look for the best advice to optimize my routine. Back when social media was still new for us all, it was mostly hobby enthusiasts who shared their product reviews and tutorials on YouTube and co. Back then the idea of trained professionals presenting their views on, say, the latest retinol products was pretty much unthinkable. YouTube or Instagram were for non-experts, for the seemingly omnipresent influencers who may enjoy using a sheet mask or a cream, but would ultimately know little about the way the product was formulated or how it would perform long-term.
The world of beauty influencers has changed quite a bit since those early days, and the boundaries between “experts” and “influencers” are far less rigid than they used to be. More and more “skinthusiasts”—so, hobby enthusiasts sharing their knowledge about skincare—rely on scientific research and often have excellent advice to give, borne from years of experimenting and self-taught knowledge. There is also a growing number of industry experts, scientists, and even board-certified dermatologists who not only enthusiastically but also very successfully share their wide-ranging knowledge on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
The world of beauty influencers has changed quite a bit, with a growing number of industry experts, scientists, and even board-certified dermatologists on social media.
Now, I personally always caution people to not fall into the trap of binary thinking when it comes to “skinthusiasts vs. experts.” Of course, I am biased given my own work as a beauty blogger and editor without a scientific background, but having grown up around scientists, I can say with certainty that no matter how amazingly smart and well-trained you are, you still aren’t infallible. Specialization in your field matters, first and foremost. My professor of botany dad, for instance, knows a great deal less about skincare than me, and him knowing where mugwort grows and what other plant species it is related to doesn’t mean he can recommend a great mugwort essence. When it comes to dermatologists, they are the experts in the field of skin science and skin treatments, but sometimes listening to a product formulator or cosmetic chemist for skincare advice can actually be more useful. I think the trick is to mix and match your social media content to find a good balance between straight-up facts and, well, informative entertainment.
If you want to add some medical expertise to your social media feed, here are five board-certified dermatologists that are absolute must-follows on social media.
Dr. Shereene Idriss
New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shereen Idriss instantly shot to social media fame after she appeared in an Allure video showing her entire daily routine including skincare products used and advice on how to use them. The video went viral and people were instantly enamored with Dr. Idriss’s flawless complexion, radiant personality, and relaxed professionalism. Due to popular demand, she started her “Pillow Talk Derm” series on Instagram, and her YouTube channel followed soon after. What I love about Dr. Shereen Idriss is her incredibly charismatic yet also very direct approach to answering beauty questions. Here is a derm who is definitely not afraid to be honest about marketing nonsense in the skincare industry, dismissing gimmicky ingredients and speaking straight-up scientific facts.
Her YouTube channel is an invaluable resource if you want to learn more about anti-aging treatments, common skin concerns, and help with your basic skincare routine. Dr. Idriss also did pretty much the best reaction video to that infamous Gwyneth Paltrow skincare routine. Unlike so many skinfluencers who focus strongly on shock-value reaction videos and skincare routine critiques, she managed to stay flawlessly classy and solely focused on debunking the harmful “clean beauty” myths promoted in the video, versus resorting to needless age-shaming or personal attacks. A true professional!
Dr. Andrea Suarez is a board-certified dermatologist based in Houston, but for people who follow her on social media and enthusiastically watch her YouTube videos, she is simply Dr. Dray. Few dermatologists are as influential in the skinfluencer world as Dr. Suarez is, with her YouTube channel having reached over 1 million subscribers. If you are a skincare newbie or feel overwhelmed by the manifold product choices and the by-now oversaturated skincare influencer niche, then Dr. Dray’s channel is a great starting point. This, truly, is no-nonsense skincare advice given by an expert who knows her stuff and isn’t afraid to bluntly tell you the facts without sugarcoating them.
Dr. Dray is strictly against fragrance, essential oils, or alcohol of any kind in her skincare, preferring simple, science-backed formulas that also make minimal use of plant extracts which can potentially be irritating for very sensitive skin. Personally I sometimes find her routines a tad joyless, but that is because I like my skincare a little bit frilly. For anyone who has very sensitive and reactive skin, and for those who just want pure facts and a fuss-free, to-the-point skincare routine, this is a goldmine of a channel.
Dr. David Lim
Let’s be real, most of us follow Dr. David Lim because he’s just so darn charming! This Australian board-certified dermatologist situated in Brisbane is probably one of the most laid-back derms on this list—so laid-back, in fact, that you may make the mistake of thinking he isn’t as professionally advanced as some of the more serious-seeming experts on social media. But oh, you could not be more wrong! As someone who lived in New Zealand I can tell you that this type of relaxed approach is just kind of how Kiwis and Australians are, even when they are the most renowned specialists in their fields.
Dr. Lim specializes in laser treatments and aesthetic procedures of all kinds, meaning he is the perfect address if you want to learn more about these types of skin rejuvenating methods. But that’s not all his YouTube channel has to offer: You also get tons of great skincare advice, product recommendations, and ingredient explanations that are free from any sponsorships or self-promotion of any kind. I also respect Dr. Lim’s level-headed, calm opinions when it comes to “trigger topics” such as fragrance or alcohol in skincare.
Brown Skin Derm
It is an unbearable truth that most skin diseases were (and still are!) studied almost exclusively on white skin. Furthermore, many dermatologists in training apparently never even learn basic facts about darker skin or see a representative number of brown-skinned patients. Even today, a large number of medical professionals still falsely believe in long debunked, racist myths about BIPOC skin that cause both physical and mental harm to patients, e.g., the assumption that dark skin is “thicker” and thus less sensitive to pain. Thus, it is crucial to listen to Black, brown, and biracial professionals in the medical field. Dr. Adeline Kikam, a board-certified dermatologist based in Laredo, Texas, has made it her mission to educate the public about racist bias in the dermatological field and to offer educational content aimed at brown-skinned patients all in the name of skinclusivity.
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Dr. Kikam’s Brown Skin Derm Instagram and TikTok accounts provide a mix of skincare advice and information about common skin diseases and ailments that are often mistreated in or even overlooked on darker skin. For example, allergic reactions, rashes, and potentially dangerous moles look very different on brown versus white skin, and there is few to no information out there on those differences, with white skin treated as the “default.” Dr. Kikam also gives amazing “brown skin friendly” product recommendations, and her sunscreen recs in particular are invaluable.
The Budget Dermatologist
I only just found this YouTube channel and its accompanying Instagram account, but I am already obsessed. Dr. Maren Locke is a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Ocala, Florida, and as the channel name suggests, her content is all about affordable, realistic skincare options for smaller budgets. Dr. Locke also has a clear stance on transparency in regards to sponsored product recommendations, so I feel she is a very trustworthy and honest source.
Most of the products mentioned in her videos and on her Instagram are drugstore, so she really is committed to the “budget” part. What is also great about Dr. Locke is how level-headed and controversy-free her content is—no clickbait titles, no fear-mongering of any kind, with expert opinions that are well-balanced. I loved her video on drugstore eye creams, for instance, where she gives her reasons for why she personally dislikes eye creams and considers them superfluous, but then still recommends a few options for those who nevertheless like to use them.
Who are your favorite dermatologists on social media?