TikTok is a treasure cove of content. From dance trends, pet videos, and even medical information, users on the platform know no limits. So you could say that we aren’t that surprised that dermatologists are making a name for themselves on the social media app.
The platform’s three-minute-long videos with music and “duets” (a feature that lets users respond to videos with their own videos, and post them side by side) offer a fun way to present medical knowledge, previously associated with dry accounts shared in a sanitised, surgical environment.
While the trend started in the US, Asian doctors have followed suit and shared their medical knowledge through their Tiktok accounts. One such doctor is Dr Lim Ing Kien, who runs his own practice Medii Skin Studio in Malaysia. He says: “As a doctor, my main goal is not only to treat patients, but to educate as well. Tiktok has had a growing user base in the past two years around Asia, and lots of its users are in their teens and early 20s. It only made sense to use Tiktok to reach out to these youth.”
Another dermatologist who has gotten on the platform is Dr Teo Wan Lin of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Clinic. She launched her mini skincare and haircare Masterclasses on Tiktok in 2021 and featured snippets from her full-length classes.
Simple and uncomplicated is the name of the game. Dr Teo found it a good tool for short video creation and says of her snippets on Tiktok: “Essentially, it’s bite-sized information that’s relevant and engaging.”
Dr Lim adds: “The medical community used to bombard people with tough medical terms and, more often than not, this causes a disassociation between them. So currently, I use simple terms to describe complicated conditions.”
Still, there are pitfalls to taking advice on Tiktok. Both doctors stressed the importance of seeking second opinions and making informed decisions with real medical experts. Dr Lim advises: “If you’re unsure of the ‘advice’ you received, do consult an actual medical expert instead of an ‘expert’ online.”
Dr Teo has the final word on seeking health information online: “You can check your doctor’s board certification. It’s a fun platform for sharing, but honestly though, Tiktok must not be taken too seriously.”