Wait, How Did My Dermatologist Become TikTok-Famous?

One specific sort of magnificence influencer that excites and delights me is the TikTok dermatologist. There’s a complete area of interest neighborhood of licensed derms who, after they’re not seeing sufferers, publish educated commentary on skin-care developments, explaining why you must by no means use interval blood as an at-home face masks when it comes up in your For You.

Dr. Joyce Park, MD isn’t my official derm — she lives in Seattle and I’m in New York — however we just lately met and I used to be fascinated by her profession pivot: from scientific dermatology (the standard path to take following 5 years of medical faculty and three years of residency) to influencing. Forward, Dr. Joyce chronicles her path, which helps clarify the rise of The TikTok Derm — and the cash in it.

The next interview has been condensed and edited for readability.

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Refinery29: How do you know you wished to be a dermatologist?

Dr. Joyce Park: I spent the primary two years of medical faculty doing ophthalmology analysis. After finishing a spot 12 months in medical journalism as a Stanford International Well being Media Fellow, I got here again to my scientific rotations and found, to my shock and disappointment, that I didn’t take pleasure in ophthalmology as a area. A mentor prompt that I strive a rotation in dermatology, and I completely fell in love.

I discovered the sphere very intellectually stimulating; I take pleasure in selection, so I beloved that I may see sufferers in clinic, function to take away pores and skin cancers and different growths, carry out beauty and laser procedures, and see adults and kids, all in the identical day. Sufferers are extremely motivated to deal with their pores and skin situations, and it brings me pleasure to look at my sufferers’ confidence soar as their pores and skin improves. Two months after that first day in dermatology clinic, I utilized into dermatology residency, and matched at NYU.

How lengthy was your schooling? 

4 years faculty (Stanford), 5 years medical faculty (Stanford + 1 12 months hole 12 months as a medical journalism fellow), 1 12 months internship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Middle, 3 years dermatology residency at NYU.

What was the price of that schooling?

$130k for school, $213k for medical faculty. (I really dug again in my tuition excel spreadsheet for this!)

How did you start on social media? When did it grow to be profitable?

My hole 12 months as a Stanford International Well being media fellow took me everywhere in the world, from working within the communications division at WHO headquarters in Geneva to being embedded within the medical unit at NBC Information in NYC. A part of the requirement of my fellowship was to “be taught social media.”

My fellowship director gave me a digital dwelling on the Stanford international well being web site and requested me to weblog about my experiences all year long. Just a few years later, I moved my weblog to my very own area, — a reputation my teenage brother got here up with. In medical faculty, Tea with MD was extra of a artistic outlet for me to jot down concerning the struggles of medical faculty. Then, as I turned a dermatology resident, social media turned a mixture of private and enterprise.

“A part of the requirement of my fellowship was to ‘be taught social media.’”

Dr. Joyce Park, MD

I obtained my first model deal once I was contemporary out of residency coaching, earlier than I began work as an attending. The model discovered me organically on social media and reached out. I don’t even bear in mind the model or the quantity precisely, however I consider it was a skin-care model that paid me a couple of hundred {dollars} to share an IG story of me utilizing their merchandise.

When did you determine to tug time out of your dermatology apply to develop your social presence?

In 2020, the demand for dermatologists on social media skyrocketed. I used to be between jobs and likewise at dwelling with a younger child, and I made a decision to associate with a couple of manufacturers that I already organically use myself and suggest to my sufferers. When I discovered my subsequent job, I made a decision to work part-time, largely so I may spend extra time at dwelling with my son, and likewise proceed constructing my social media enterprise. Now I work for myself, so I can management my schedule utterly.

How has the appearance of TikTok as a platform modified your work? 

I can’t bear in mind the final time I posted a photograph on social media! I bear in mind downloading the platform in early 2020, feeling overwhelmed, and instantly uninstalling it. Then I gave it one other strive a couple of weeks later. I made a video about pimples and food regimen and it went viral, with over 10 million views in at some point. I believed, Wow, this platform is highly effective, and will help me get science-backed, evidence-based skincare info on the market! I’ve been having an excessive amount of enjoyable on TikTok since.

Now, I publish 90% brief kind movies versus images. I additionally revived my YouTube channel a couple of months in the past.

In 2020, the demand for dermatologists on social media skyrocketed.


How a lot did you make as a full-time training dermatologist? And the way a lot can one make on social media alone?

As a full time training dermatologist — working 5 days every week, contemporary out of residency — I used to be making about $450k yearly. This quantity can fluctuate relying on variety of days per week labored, variety of sufferers seen, sorts of instances accomplished (medical versus beauty versus surgical), apply location, and extra.

Dermatologists on social media could make variable quantities relying on components similar to platforms they’re on, attain, engagement, companies supplied, and so on. I’ve heard something from 5 figures all the way in which as much as 7 figures.

What does your steadiness of time seem like at present, seeing sufferers versus doing social?

I simply launched my very own digital dermatology apply, Pores and skin Refinery! I’m presently accepting sufferers in Washington and California for situations similar to pimples, melasma, rosacea, skincare-regimen creation, and extra. I like that I can set my very own hours and have the pliability of it being one-hundred % digital.

For instance: simply this week alone, I noticed sufferers, edited analysis papers with my medical college students, attended committee conferences for the American Academy of Dermatology, traveled to NYC with a skin-care model and attended PR occasions, shot content material for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and continued to arrange loads of back-office operations for my clinic.

Many individuals attempt to ship me images to get consultations over Instagram, however I don’t open any of them as a result of legally, I can’t give medical recommendation over the Web.


Do you see your followers as an extension of your sufferers?

I don’t really; I preserve a transparent boundary between my followers and my sufferers. Many individuals attempt to ship me images to get consultations over Instagram, however I don’t open any of them as a result of legally, I can’t give medical recommendation over the Web. My medical malpractice solely extends to my sufferers at Pores and skin Refinery, so I don’t have a doctor-patient relationship with anybody outdoors of my apply. PSA: Please do not ship me images or ask me for customized medical recommendation on social media. In case you really need my recommendation, please make an appointment by way of!

@teawithmd Concerning #1: It’s a must to 👀! #dermbypark #dermatology #fivethings #doctor #alopecia #fungus #botox #filler #dermatologist ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

What’s your recommendation for individuals on TikTok searching for skin-care ideas — making an attempt to keep away from misinformation?

Please take a look at who you’re following for recommendation. What stage of expertise have that they had, have they got coaching in skincare or dermatology? Are they certified to provide you recommendation? The place are they getting their information from? I like that there are such a lot of medical doctors from all medical specialties on TikTok and different platforms now, which will increase entry to nice skilled recommendation!

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