We Asked the Famous Derm Doctor About the Most Viral TikTok Skincare Trends of 2022

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Courtesy of @doctorly

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When it comes to skincare advice and information, a qualified medical professional is always your best bet. However, these days many people are turning to social media for help with everything from razor bumps to serums for hyperpigmentation and body washes for acne. And even though social media can be full of misinformation and conspiracy theories, it’s actually a really great place for finding skincare tips. On top of that, you can find an entire community of like-minded folks also struggling with acne or sensitive skin. As with everything online, so much depends on who you decide to listen to. And there’s one expert we’ll always turn to for trusted skincare information — Dr. Shah.

Dr. Muneeb Shah, aka the Derm Doctor, is the mega-viral TikTok sensation and co-host of the Doctorly YouTube channel. Viewers turn to the Derm Doctor for his informative and entertaining videos debunking iffy skincare “hacks” and useful skincare advice.

Plus, his videos are just really fun to watch.

@dermdoctor

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We spoke with Dr. Shah recently to discuss the latest viral skincare trends on TikTok, the best skincare practices for men and the pros and cons of viral skincare transparency. Some quotes have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity. It’s also worth noting that the TikToks we included below are examples to illustrate a certain viral trend, not videos Dr. Shah is responding to directly, and the products are chosen by our editors, based on his advice.

Read More: TikTok’s Derm Doctor Weighs In: The Best Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin

  

TikTok Skincare Trend #1: Pimple Popping

Of course, we’d be remiss to conduct an interview about viral skincare trends with the Derm Doctor and not ask about pimple popping, the subject of some of his most popular TikToks . It might be satisfying (for some) to watch videos of people popping zits, pimples and draining all sorts of abscesses from their bodies; however, this is not a practice Dr. Shah widely recommends.

“I think some people can’t help it. Like, I have a lot of patients who essentially pick at their acne. It happens so often that we have a name for it: it’s called acne excoriée, people who sort of scratch and pick at their acne all the time. We know these people are more likely to develop scarring.”

Should You Pop Your Pimples?

He said it’s definitely not something he recommends anyone regularly do, but if you can’t help yourself, he also offered some best practices for keeping your skin as healthy as possible.

“If you are going to do it, I recommend doing it for ones where you can already see the puss bump or the whitehead at the surface, rather than like deep ones because the deep ones, if you press on them when it’s not ready it ends up rupturing underneath the skin, and that rupture underneath the skin causes that permanent scarring because it damages your underlying collagen,” Dr. Shah said.

If you have a zit that’s ready to pop, you should “clean the area with an alcohol swab, put on some gloves, pop it, remove it and then just apply some vaseline or something to it, treat it like an open wound essentially and let it heal in,” said Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah’s best advice for all you pimple poppers out there? A solid acne routine that prevents them from developing in the first place.

“But, I still recommend for most people to just get on a good acne regimen that’s simple and effective that will get rid of your pimples and keep you from picking at them.”

Another tool he recommended was hydrocolloid pimple patches that not only help keep you from picking at your pimples, they can also help your face heal faster. The brand below wasn’t specifically recommended by Dr. Shah, but it’s a top-rated option available via Amazon Prime.

Mighty Patch Hydrocolloid Acne Pimple Patches

Mighty patch pimple patches Courtesy of Amazon

  
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TikTok Skincare Trend #2: Gua Sha

The ancient Chinese practice of Gua Sha skin scraping is another viral skincare trend that’s become enormously popular online, both as part of a skincare and morning routine. Does it actually do anything to help the skin? Apparently, not so much. So why is it so popular? Dr. Shah shared a few of his theories.

“I see this happening and showing up in all realms and expanding. I think it comes from this desire to want to do something that you can feel, because you feel this thing scraping over your face so you feel like it must be doing something.”

Dr. Shah noted that the actual ancient practice was much more intense than the way it’s being used today, and that there’s a lack of western literature and data about the effectiveness of the practice.

“Actually, the way it was done historically was to the point of bruising, like that would be the point. They would drag the tool over the skin until you started bruising, and then through the wound healing process it would help to rejuvenate the skin.”

Is Gua Sha Effective?

In terms of whether or not this is an effective practice, the waters are murky. There’s little data in western literature about it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist elsewhere and hasn’t been translated.

“Now, is there data on this? Probably not in the western literature, because not all of the eastern literature has been translated to English… In the western literature that’s been translated to English there’s really no data that this is helpful. And not just that, people are not doing it on social media the way it was traditionally done because people aren’t bruising themselves they’re just dragging this Gua Sha over the face.”

Do we recommend using a jade tool to bruise yourself? Absolutely not. Dr. Shah noted there are some potential benefits, but also many purported effects that he promptly debunked.

“Now, what I think it does probably it is kind of helps move lymphatic fluid towards your lymph nodes, kind of helps to depuff temporarily, it can give you a little bit of a jolt in the morning, but it’s not going to shape your jaw, it’s not going to help you lose fat, it’s not going to help improve your skin quality in any way.”

Gua Sha Facial Tool

gua sha facial tool Courtesy of Amazon

  
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TikTok Skincare Trend #3: Vegan Diets and Skincare

Many videos online tout the positive effects of vegan diets and skincare, as well as the importance of using vegan skincare products as opposed to brands that formulate their products with chemicals. I asked Dr. Shah about both of these TikTok skincare trends, and whether or not they hold any water.

“So diet and skin — I think there’s not a lot of really good data. I think studies on diet and nutrition in general is very difficult, and there are often papers that conflict in terms of overall health. One year they’ll say, ‘This is good for you!’ and the next they’ll say, ‘This is not good for you.'”

He noted the difficulty comes from compounding factors in test subjects, which can make it difficult to pinpoint whether it’s your diet or something else that’s having a positive, or negative, effect on the skin. Is it all the chocolate you’re eating that’s causing your breakout, or your sleep routine? You may eat a lot of broccoli and fish, but also smoke on the weekends, so it can be difficult to isolate diet as the make or break factor in healthy skin, according to Dr. Shah, and therefore there’s not a ton of data on it. Of course, anecdotal evidence abounds that eating healthy can improve your skin and reduce acne.

Which Foods Cause Acne?

“The things that have the strongest evidence for acne would be dairy, specifically skim milk seems to cause acne in people. High-sugar diets, eating a lot of sugar and whey protein… Whey protein is a trigger for acne in some people.”

Which Diet Is Best for Acne?

“But what I tend to tell people is if it’s good for your heart, then it’s probably good for your skin. The anti-inflammatory diets are probably the best because a lot of skin conditions that we see — psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea — all have underlying levels of inflammation. So low-inflammatory diets, like the Mediterranean diet, are probably the best you can do for your skin,” said Dr. Shah.

He added, “I don’t think diet is the cure for any skin condition, but it will add to your overall health and benefit your skin to some extent.”

What About Vegan Skincare Products?

When asked specifically about vegan skincare products, Dr. Shah noted, “I think [veganism] is just a different lifestyle. A lot of brands will say, ‘Oh this is vegan,’ or ‘This is vegan and cruelty-free,’ or ‘We don’t use any animal parts,’ and it’s really important to some people that they not only have a vegan diet but they have vegan skincare.”

“Is it better skincare? No. I think that products [that] are effective are going to be effective regardless, but I think that’s more like a personal lifestyle choice than anything else.”

  
@dermdoctor

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The Best Skincare Routines and Regimens for Men

Dr. Shah’s first piece of advice for men who want to get into skincare? Try to not get overwhelmed, especially if you’re diving into viral TikTok skincare trends.

“I think there are a lot of men that are interested in skincare but they don’t even know where to start and because all of that content is targeted towards women. It’s harder and harder to figure out how to navigate the field of 10,000 skincare products. That’s how I felt when I started in skincare too, it’s overwhelming.”

One of the first things he wants to establish? Many best practices for skincare are the same for both men and women.

What Are the Myths of Men’s vs. Women’s Skincare?

“There are slight differences in oil production and skin thickness between men and women and the fact that men shave I think that adds a bit of complexity in how to manage your skincare routine, but overall the principles and the skincare products and all the studies apply across the board because the same effects are going to be seen to the skin with these products,” he said.

Basically, marketing is irrelevant when it comes to the best skincare to use for men and women. If a product is touted as effective and is clearly designed to be appealing to women, men can use it and experience similar effects. However, if you’re a guy and you’re more likely to use a product with black or navy blue packaging, Dr. Shah recommends you take that route.

“So you can 100% shop for ‘women’s skincare’ and see benefits. Now there are brands that market exclusively towards men with the black or navy blue packaging and they look more manly and I think really the only benefit of those is you’re more likely to buy them and use them, because they’re more masculine, but there’s literally no increased benefit to those products and you can definitely and probably find better products within the historically women categories.”

What’s a Simple Skincare Regimen for Men To Get Started?

Dr. Shah offered a super simple skincare routine for men who don’t want a complex facial routine, especially because they tend to not wear makeup, and the fewer the steps, the more likely they are to keep up with it.

In the morning, your go-to’s should be sunscreen and a cleanser.

“So sunscreen, SPF 30 or greater every morning. And then cleanse your face in the morning, apply SPF, that’s the simplest possible routine,” said Dr. Shah.

“At night I’d say cleanse again to remove the sunscreen, use a retinol because it’s going to handle most issues that men have which are pore size, hyperpigmentation, acne and wrinkles. So find a retinol product and then moisturize with a simple moisturizer product. So three steps at night, two steps in the morning. If you stick with that you’re going to be better off than 95% of people.”

So, to summarize:

  • In the morning, use a cleanser followed by a face sunscreen
  • At night, cleanse your skin and follow with a retinol cream and your face moisturizer of choice

To help guys get started, we collected some of our go-to men’s skincare products for you below. We’ll start with a product both Dr. Shah and SPY seem to agree about. Dr. Shah recently shared one of his favorite face moisturizers on Instagram, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which we recently named the best overall face moisturizers for men in The 2021 Man, our end-of-year product awards.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

Kiehls-Ultra-Facial-Cream Courtesy of Kiehl's
  

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen

EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer Courtesy of Amazon

  

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe facial cleanser Courtesy of Amazon

  

RoC Retinol Correxion Night Cream

RoC retinol cream Courtesy of Amazon

  

Acne and Skincare Transparency

I ended by asking Dr. Shah less about specific skincare tips and more about the overall trend of people being more open about their skincare struggles online, and people using social media to find community and shared interests in skincare. He noted there are positives and negatives to this trend, depending on who you’re talking about.

“I think it’s good, [but] I think that there are two issues I see,” he explained. “One is that on social media, you see people who are perfectly manicured and all this stuff. People always say it’s not great for your self-esteem but at the same time, like you said, you’re able to find communities of people who are similar to you… If you have acne and you’re sharing your acne stories you get to go on that journey with somebody else. You may not have anybody immediately around you within your 20-person circle who has acne, so you find the people that are similar to you that are struggling like you. We find this true not just in skin conditions but in communities of different interests.”

What Are the Downsides of Acne Influencers?

One major downside for would-be TikTok skincare influencers? If having acne is your brand, according to Dr. Shah, it can be hard to want to get better.

“The downside of the people that create content around a skin condition is a lot of times it becomes their identity, they only get views when they talk about their skin condition and when they talk about other things they don’t get as much engagement because their community is now a bunch of people who are suffering from acne, right? So the biggest issue I see with those people is they don’t want to get better, a lot of times, or they’ve become incentivized to not get better. So, they don’t necessarily seek out treatment.”

As with all online medical advice, when you find a promising new TikTok skincare hack, it’s always best to consult with your own dermatologist or primary care physician first.