An Analysis of Skin of Color Dermatology Related Content on Instagram.

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Importance: Social media is making information about skin of color more readily available to those unfamiliar with ethnic skin and hair. Objectives: To answer: 1) what skin of color-related dermatology content is being posted on Instagram? And 2) who is producing this content? Design: Cross-sectional epidemiologic study analyzing the content of posts associated with 31 Instagram skin of color dermatology-related topics (hashtags). Setting: Population-based Participants: The Instagram accounts linked with the top 9 posts as generated by the Instagram algorithm associated with each search term. Exposures: Instagram account holders. Main Outcomes and Measures: [1] The number of posts associated with each skin of color dermatology hashtag search term. [2] Classification of posts as either educational or promotional. [3] Classification of posts as a photo or video. [4] Classification of Instagram accounts that produced the posts (American board-certified dermatologists, dermatology residents, foreign dermatologists, patients, medical interest groups, or other). [5] Quantification of the number of post likes and comments. [6] Comparison of number of educational and promotional posts between board-certified dermatologists and other Instagram users. Results: The 31 sampled hashtags were associated with a total of 9,087,589 posts as of January 16, 2020. 219 of the 288 top posts generated from these queries met inclusion criteria. Board-certified dermatologists (26 posts) only generated 12% of top posts, whereas individuals not certified in dermatology produced 88% of top content. Of this group, social media influencers were the largest subcategory (37 posts). A majority of the top posts were promotional (135 posts, 61.6%) and formatted as photos (181 posts, 82.6%). While there was a significant difference in the number of likes for content posted by board-certified dermatologists vs non-dermatologists (P=0.027), these differences became non-significant after stratifying by the intention of the post (promotional P=0.13, educational P=0.17). Conclusions and Relevance: Board-certified dermatologists are underrepresented among people generating top skin of color dermatology-related content on Instagram. Board-certified dermatologists should establish a more prominent presence on social media platforms so that patients have greater access to accurate, evidenced-based educational resources regarding dermatologic conditions, treatment options, and treatment risks from reliable sources. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(7): doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.5142.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Fellows and Residents, Fellows and Residents

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