TikTok Doc

Campbell resident doctor’s videos on skin care have attracted millions of followers and devoted fans

If the name Dr. Muneeb Shah doesn’t sound familiar, you may recognize the TikTok handle that made him famous, @dermdoctor. A resident physician at Campbell, Shah is passionate about skin care education and empowering people to make informed decisions about their skin health.

You can find him debunking skin care myths and dishing out insider tips on TikTok, where he was launched to fame nearly overnight in 2020.

Never very active on social media in his early career, Shah discovered TikTok when the pandemic set in. A combination of free time and the addictiveness of the app, which displays short videos in sequence, led him to start posting comical videos of a day in the life of a health care professional. But he soon began to notice misinformation on TikTok regarding skin care. He switched from general medical humor and began posting videos to debunk the most common (and least accurate) tips and tricks for skin care he was seeing.

Taking his cues from his audience, Shah became more dermatology focused, responding to user questions about specific issues like acne scarring and safe products for sensitive skin. A year later, Shah is the most followed skin care personality on all of TikTok with more than 7.5 million followers and is the second-most followed dermatologist in the world on social media after long-time social media guru Dr. Pimple Popper.

Shah initially started his residency in radiology before realizing it wasn’t a good fit. He wanted more interaction with patients, and the ability to see a patient through both diagnosis and treatment. Dermatology allowed him to spend time in a clinic helping patients on a daily basis. He sees TikTok as an extension of a clinic where he can share information to more people.

“Trust is the most valuable asset that we have as physicians and as content creators on social media,” Shah says. He started to notice that the public began trusting online sources much more than physicians, particularly after COVID-19. By countering any misinformation he came across online, Shah has been able to build his own following by producing relatable and reliable content on the same platforms where he saw less-than-helpful advice being shared.

“Trust is earned through building communities and not necessarily given based on a set of credentials, especially nowadays,” he says. “It’s important to try to understand where patients are coming from, how a condition may affect their lives, some of the barriers to treatment [such as finances] and some of the fears they have with treatment. If your patients trust you, they’re much more likely to follow a treatment plan.”

To Campbell medical students, Shah’s advice is to spend time listening to patients and, as the adage goes, treat the patient, not the disease. He also prescribes a healthy dose of vocational exploration before settling on a field. 

“I started in radiology, but when I switched to dermatology and truly found my purpose, everything fell into place. Explore a bunch of different career opportunities until you find your niche and then pursue it with all your heart.”


— by Kate Stoneburner