Published on in Vol 6 (2023)

Preprints (earlier versions) of this paper are available at, first published .
Analysis of Dermatology Content by Top Influencers on Twitter and Their Academic Impact: Cross-Sectional Study

Analysis of Dermatology Content by Top Influencers on Twitter and Their Academic Impact: Cross-Sectional Study

Analysis of Dermatology Content by Top Influencers on Twitter and Their Academic Impact: Cross-Sectional Study

Research Letter

1Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, United States

2School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, United States

3Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, Downstate Health Sciences University, Brooklyn, NY, United States

4Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Boston, MA, United States

5Department of Dermatology, Beaumont Health, Detroit, MI, United States

6Department of Dermatology, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States

7Dermatology Service, Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, Aurora, CO, United States

Corresponding Author:

Mindy D Szeto, MS

Department of Dermatology

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

1665 Aurora Ct, 3rd Floor

Mailstop F703

Aurora, CO, 80045

United States

Phone: 1 720 848 0500


Social media platforms such as Twitter allow dermatologists to collaborate, share information with the public, expand their practices, and communicate directly with patients [1]. Concerningly, popular dermatology social media content is often generated by prolific content creators known as “influencers,” not board-certified dermatologists or individuals with evidence-based training [2]. We, therefore, conducted an analysis of top dermatology accounts on Twitter, the content posted by these accounts, and their users’ academic productivity and impact.

The content aggregator Cronycle [3], which has been used in multiple peer-reviewed studies of social media in health care, was used to identify the top 100 Twitter accounts in May 2021 for the topic “dermatology.” Two independent researchers with experience in dermatology and social media extracted the accounts’ self-reported names, credentials, and geographic locations. Content from the 3 most recent Twitter posts for each account was categorized as “educational” if relaying dermatology or health care information, “professional” if associated with promoting conferences or professional events, “advertising” if related to specific products or services, or “personal” for all other posts. A consensus meeting resolved any discrepancies. Foreign language content was translated using Google Translate (Google LLC) if an English translation was not directly available from Twitter. Account users’ names were checked for American Board of Medical Specialties certifications through the Certification Matters search tool [4]. Academic citation metrics as of August 2021 (including the h-index [5] and the number of total publications and citations over an individual’s career) according to the Web of Science and Google Scholar databases were also recorded.

Of the top 100 accounts, 92 appeared to represent individuals and 8 were organizations (Table 1). Most were US board-certified physicians (n=52), and of these, 45 (87%) were dermatologists. However, credential verification was difficult for physicians certified or practicing outside the United States.

Table 1. Dermatology-related top influencers on Twitter in May 2021, number of followers, and board certification status or location outside of the United States.
Influencer rankTwitter accountNameTwitter followers, nUS board certified or non-US location
1jamadermJAMA Dermatology19,800N/Aa (organization)
2poschchristianChristian Posch M.D. Ph.D.16,900Germany
3ducrestDominique du Crest8200France
4drdorisdayDr Doris Day9500Yes; dermatology
5dermatologistmdSusan J. Huang MD8600Yes; dermatology
6jmgardnermdJerad Gardner, MD28,100Yes; pathology, dermatopathology
7drrodrohrichRod Rohrich, M.D.133,900Yes; plastic surgery
8cdndermatologyCanadian Dermatology5200N/A (organization)
9globaldermieJosette McMichael MD FAAD4500Yes; dermatology
10sergiovanogDr. Sergio Vañó34,200Spain
11dermdocJeff Benabio, MD MBA22,000Yes; dermatology
12harveyluiHarvey Lui2100Yes; dermatology
13socinvestdermSID2900N/A (organization)
14drstefaniewDr Stefanie Williams12,200United Kingdom
15dranjalimahtoDr Anjali Mahto6300United Kingdom
16adeadamsonAde Adamson, MD MPP6100Yes; dermatology
17aedv_esAcademia Española de Dermatología y Venereología9900N/A (organization)
18seemalrdesaimdSeemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD1900Yes; dermatology
19dermdrhaleDr. Elizabeth Hale3900Yes; dermatology
20carriekovarikCarrie Kovarik, MD, FAAD1500Yes; dermatology, dermatopathology
21roxanadaneshjouRoxana Daneshjou MD/PhD13,400Yes; dermatology
22juleslipoffJules Lipoff, MD2900Yes; dermatology
23misharosenbachMisha Rosenbach, MD3300Yes; dermatology
24skinpathologyPaul Drury6200Australia
25lupodermatologyDr. Mary Lupo3200Yes; dermatology
26drsteventchenSteven Chen 陳持威9300Yes; dermatology, internal medicine
27sgottesmanmdSilvija Gottesman MD6800Yes; dermatology, dermatopathology
28desazeDavid Saceda Corralo4300Spain
29drlopezbranEduardo López Bran7600Spain
30antoniotejeraAntonio Tejera Vaquerizo2500Spain
31dedeemurrellDedee Murrell1400Yes; dermatology
32harkerdavidDavid Harker, MD, FAAD13,700Yes; dermatology
33dermatologarooElia Roo3000Spain
34drjohnbarbieriJohn Barbieri, MD, MBA2700Yes; dermatology
35drjoelgelfandJoel M Gelfand MD MSCE FAAD1800Yes; dermatology
36dravasaysDr. Ava Shamban10,000Yes; dermatology
37julianconejomirJulián Conejo-Mir8600Spain
38rosatabernerRosa Taberner17,000Spain
39dra_njimenezNatalia Jiménez-Dermatóloga4900Spain
40marcelasaeblMarcela Saeb Lima11,000Mexico
41elena_herasMaria Elena de las Heras Alonso2100Spain
42drboixedaPablo boixeda2600Spain
43ealtmanmdEmily M. Altman, MD1600Yes; dermatology, dermatopathology
44doctormartorellDr.Antonio Martorell2400Spain
45danielbutlermdDaniel Butler MD1500Yes; dermatology
46amostaghimiArash Mostaghimi2100Yes; dermatology, clinical informatics
47hpsoyerH. Peter Soyer1900Australia
48lauzurica_dermaEduardo Lauzurica2700Spain
49dranthonyrossiDr. Anthony Rossi MD1100Yes; dermatology, micrographic dermatologic surgery
50dermalegreAdrián Alegre2700Spain
51pielsana_aedvFundación Piel Sana de la AEDV4800N/A (organization)
52drdidacbarcoDr. Dídac Barco3100Spain
53drramongrimaltDr. Ramon Grimalt7500Spain
54drestherfreemanEsther Freeman MD PhD2100Yes; dermatology
55askdermmdA. Shadi Kourosh, MD, MPH11,500Yes; dermatology
56harrisvitiligoJohn E. Harris, MD, PhD3200Yes; dermatology
57drrobertanolikDr. Robert Anolik2700Yes; dermatology
58msldermatopatoMarcel Saeb Lima2800Mexico
59mightydermpathSara Shalin3800Yes; pathology, dermatopathology
60dermatosilvaDOMINGUEZ SILVA2600Spain
61drahermosagÁngela Hermosa3200Spain
62lpdermatologosLidia Perez dermatologos1200Spain
63dermoguillenvlcCarlos Guillen1600Spain
64allisonlarsonmdAllison Larson, MD2100Yes; dermatology, dermatopathology
65melanoma_mamaDonna Regen2500No; melanoma awareness activist
66hlgreenbergH.L. Greenberg, M.D.1700Yes; dermatology
67mrodriguesmdMichelle Rodrigues1300Australia
68katiefarquharDr Katie Farquhar1400United Kingdom
69dolevdermJacqueline Dolev MD1500Yes; dermatology
70franvilmarFrancisco Vílchez1700Spain
71larocheposayusaLa Roche-Posay USA8000N/A (organization)
72leohealthyskinLEO Pharma16,100N/A (organization)
73cbaileymdCynthia Bailey4300Yes; dermatology
74drmichellelevyMichelle Levy, MD, Dermatologist1200Yes; dermatology
75drwhitneyboweDr. Whitney Bowe4600Yes; dermatology
76aaron_druckerAaron Drucker933Yes; dermatology
77condetaboadaAlberto Conde1400Spain
78your_skin_drDr Anton Alexandroff4800United Kingdom
79beerdermatologyBeer Dermatology2500Yes; dermatology, dermatopathology
80drgrantstevensGrant Stevens, MD5600Yes; plastic surgery
81springerdermaSpringer Dermatology1800N/A (organization)
82laumiguelgLaura M.G.1500Spain
83dermaforyouDra Carmen Galera1500Spain
84ecoalfagemeDr.Fernando Alfageme1400Spain
85germaindermGermain Dermatology2500Yes; dermatology
86leoshmuLeo Shmuylovich, MD PhD1100Yes; dermatology, pediatric dermatology
87ilanarosmanIlana Rosman, MD3000Yes; dermatology, dermatopathology
88drkatiebeleznayDr. Katie Beleznay1800Yes; dermatology
89doctorastonDr. Sherrell Aston5100Yes; surgery, plastic surgery
90theskinmdJessica Krant MD1700Yes; dermatology
91hellmandermDr Judith Hellman2100Yes; dermatology
92alvaro_gonzaÁlvaro González-Cantero1100Spain
93paolijohnJohn Paoli917Sweden
94elenacondemonElena Conde Montero2300Spain
95mydermpathRaj Singh MD5100Yes; pathology, dermatopathology
96drbilumartinDonna Bilu Martin, MD2100Yes; dermatology
97dr_weissRobert A. Weiss1100Yes; dermatology
98drdayanDr. Steven Dayan2700Yes; otolaryngology
99_dermatologistDr Edward Seaton3000United Kingdom
100drlisakatesLisa Kates, M.D.2000Yes; dermatology

aN/A: not applicable.

Academic citation metrics according to the h-index (mean 14, SD 13; median 12, range 0-71) and total publications (mean 89, SD 148; median 43, range 2-950) were highly variable for 81 individuals with citation profiles. Educational posts were the most common (118/293, 40%), followed by professional content (86/293, 29%), personal posts (53/293, 18%), and lastly, advertising (36/293, 12%). Top quartile accounts by Cronycle rank posted far more educational content (>50%) than other categories of posts (Figure 1), and the educational category occurred most frequently in each quartile. Advertising was the least common content category, in contrast to other platforms such as Instagram, where the most common content was related to advertising [6] and posted predominantly by nondermatologist influencers [7].

Figure 1. Percentages of educational, advertising, personal, and professional posts by dermatology-related top influencers on Twitter in May 2021.

We offer a cross-sectional snapshot of associations between content, popularity, and academics, prompting many avenues for further work and repeat assessment. For example, it remains to be seen whether social media branding affects academic influence, or vice versa. Twitter excels at encouraging user interactions through “mentions” and “follows,” with the “hashtag” function allowing easy searching and content propagation. However, without further protections, Twitter could also risk spreading harmful misinformation as an educationally oriented platform. While Twitter verification policies are currently in flux, account registration does not require identity verification, though this could be explored in the future to highlight board-certified physician accounts, especially for international dermatologists where external credential verification resources are limited.

Conflicts of Interest

RPD is a joint coordinating editor for Cochrane Skin, a dermatology section editor for UpToDate, a social media editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), a podcast editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID), editor-in-chief of the JMIR Dermatology, and a coordinating editor representative on Cochrane Council. RPD receives editorial stipends (JAAD, JID), royalties (UpToDate), and expense reimbursement from Cochrane Skin. TES is editorial board member-at-large for JMIR Dermatology and receives fellowship funding from Pfizer.

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Edited by R Alhusayen; submitted 25.06.22; peer-reviewed by J Lipoff, C Wei; comments to author 05.09.22; revised version received 15.05.23; accepted 21.06.23; published 18.07.23.


©Mindy D Szeto, Andrina V Mamo, Kevin Kamel, Jadesola T Olayinka, Payal M Patel, Austin Hamp, Jarett Anderson, Lori S Kim, Madeleine G Yemc, Torunn E Sivesind, Robert P Dellavalle. Originally published in JMIR Dermatology (, 18.07.2023.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Dermatology, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.