Slugging. Skin cycling. Dunking your face in a bowl of ice water first thing in the morning. TikTok is awash in skin care tricks, tips and trends delivered straight from the bathrooms of people with perfect skin (and matching athleisure sets, always). But when you’re not an expert, it can be hard to tell who’s spreading dangerous skin care lies and who’s trustworthy.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. While you probably wouldn’t mess with your heart health to test a social media trend, you may not think twice about subjecting your skin to experimentation in the hopes it will make it glow more, break out less and reverse wrinkles. But taking just anyone’s advice, no matter how many followers they have, can lead to breakouts, bad reactions and more.
Most TikTok skinfluencers mean well. In fact, they often drive home important messages.
“They do a wonderful job of emphasizing the importance of caring for your skin, sun protection and establishing a skincare routine,” said Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology based in La Jolla, California (@skinbydrazi on TikTok). “Watching them share their personal experience or journey with a particular product or routine can be helpful for consumers, but they don’t represent scientific evidence.”
But some are reckless. So how can you spot a knowledgeable TikTok creator? You can check their bios to see if they’re a licensed esthetician or dermatologist, give their name a quick search on Google to verify, and even double-check that they’re board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology. Also, pay attention to whether the creator cites scientific evidence in their content.
“I share scientific studies and highlight clinical trials that show support for a trending hack,” Shirazi said. “Doing reaction videos is helpful to decipher what’s fact and what’s fiction, noting the lack of evidence behind information circulating on social media. You have to be honest, transparent, and deliver valuable information.”
Many dermatologists on social media make content specifically to combat dangerous trends, and to reach those who may not have a skin specialist in their area.
“As dermatologists and medical experts, we have a social responsibility to maintain a voice on social platforms. Otherwise, complete dependency and naive trust in skinfluencers will result in more and more misinformation,” Shirazi said. “The way I see it is I’m here to educate, they’re here to influence.”
Shirazi’s most important piece of skin care advice is? If your skin concerns aren’t clearing up, find a doctor you can trust — offline.
Skinfluencers who know their stuff
“Relying on [skinfluencers] for education can prevent people from seeking real medical advice and attention. I think it’s important to always check with a medical professional before incorporating any recommendations from someone who is not a true expert with the necessary training and experience,” she explained.
Along with Shirazi, here are some TikTok skinfluencers who are experts in their field, and worth a follow.
Dr. Camille Howard-Verovic (@dermbeautydoc)
Howard is a board-certified dermatologist, founder of natural hair care line Girl+Hair, and an all-around gem to have in your TikTok feed (she brings the humor and the hot skin care tips). Check out her account for all types of advice, from how to color correct your mineral sunscreen to getting rid of blackheads in your ears.
Dr. Suchismita Paul (@drpaulderm)
Paul is a board-certified, Harvard-educated dermatologist, so to say she’s more qualified than the average skinfluencer is an understatement. She’s especially good at explaining how to try popular trends, like skin cycling, effectively. Her page is also an amazing resource for tips on caring for brown skin, like which exfoliants and retinol get her approval.
Dr. Joyce Park (@teawithmd)
Park is a board-certified dermatologist whose account is the destination for all things SPF, whether it’s how to reapply at the pool, whether to use a stick, spray or lotion formulas or her favorite sunscreens for the face. She also posts plenty about skincare trends on TikTok, like whether or not you should use deodorant as a primer.
Dr. Muneeb Shah (@dermdoctor)
If you like a side of relatability with your skin care insights, Shah is the skinfluencer for you. He’s a practicing dermatologist who isn’t afraid to post the occasional silly video. But most often, you’ll see him reacting to skinfluencer trends, breaking down which ingredients are right for which skin types and explaining skin conditions.
Dr. Adeline Kikam (@brownskinderm)
Kikam is another board-certified dermatologist who has great content for followers just getting into skincare (like how to build your skincare routine) and videos addressing common complaints, like dry skin in the winter. But her focus is on caring for the skin of Black and brown people, with lots to watch about finding sunscreens with no white cast, why you still need SPF and natural hair and scalp care.
Dr. Chris Tomassian (@dr.tomassian)
Tomassian has 1.6 million followers for a reason — his videos are quick, to the point and easy to digest (essentially, his account is the best to reference when you’re standing in Target and not sure what to buy for your hormonal acne). He makes product recommendations and addresses common concerns. You can find answers to so many questions with a quick scroll through his archive.
Dr. Angelo Landriscina (@dermangelo)
If your “For You” page involves anything skin care, you probably recognize this board-certified dermatologist. He’s a self-proclaimed “derm daddy” and posts reaction videos to other skinfluencers’ routines, product recommendations and more. This is the creator for you if you want a “yay” or “nay” on trending topics.
Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky (@dermguru)
Zubritsky is a board-certified dermatologist who posts lots of “if you have this, try that” videos, identifying common skin issues and making product recommendations to help. She also shares tips on caring for your skin like a dermatologist, busting myths and sharing other advice you want to hear.