Dr. Shah (known on TikTok as @dermdoctor) is a practicing Dermatologist whose passion for skincare education led him to start his social media journey in 2020. Using his motto, “education, not influence,” he empowers people to make informed decisions about their skin health, mixed with the right amount of humor and fun.

What does it mean to you to be part of the API community?

I grew up in an area of the US where I was one of few people that identified as API. There weren't many people that looked like us, sounded like us, or had the same traditions. Being "different" often led to bullying or name calling. We were even placed in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes because of our names, even though we were born in the US and could only speak English. Fast forward 20 years, TikTok has been amazing because it creates a digital community of similar interests and backgrounds. Today, you may not have many API friends around you but you can find this online community with similar backgrounds and struggles. It creates a sense that you're not alone, like I was growing up. By being an API creator and one of the most followed people on TikTok, it allows other younger people to realize what's possible for someone like them to achieve.

How has the TikTok community inspired you?

TikTok changed my life. I went from being able to teach and treat 30 patients a day to being able to teach millions of people across the world. The reach has led to many amazing opportunities both online and offline.

What is your favorite TikTok video that you've created and why?

My favorite videos are ones that raise awareness for conditions that were previously thought to be rare. Many people are unaware that they have this condition and often suffer in silence. I've even had patients come to my office after seeing that video seeking treatment for this condition because they didn't even know they had this until they saw the video.

What inspired you to share your knowledge on TikTok?

I posted one video about skincare, and people kept asking me questions. They wanted answers that weren't available to them elsewhere. So I created a video response to questions that were asked of me, and as that grew, I realized how big the space for accurate information about skincare and dermatology was.

What is the most memorable interaction you've had with a commenter on TikTok?

The most meaningful moments to me are when my content crosses over into someone's daily life. For example, somebody commented "I went and got a suspicious mole checked out because I saw your video. I got disagnosed with skin cancer early on, and I never would've known otherwise." It means so much to me when people thank me and let me know I've changed and improved their life. It keeps you making content because you know you're resonating with your community and making an impact. The fact that I can do this at scale through TikTk is an amazing feeling.

What advice would you have for other healthcare professionals who would also like to become creators?

Start posting. Don't overthink your content. If you're a healthcare professional, you have knowledge that people will benefit from. If you can package that up in a simple way for people to consume, you will reach people and make an impact, so don't let your negative thoughts or the fear of being judged hold you back. Sharing your knowledge on TikTok could change other people's lives and your own for the better.