Dermatologist Shereene Idriss Talks Skin, Sunscreen and InstagramMay 13, 2020
You may have discovered NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss on Instagram, where she hosts her #PillowTalkDerm Instagram Story series and breaks down the intimidating science lingo behind some of your favorite skin-care products. We had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Idriss and talk about her passion for dermatology, motherhood, sunscreen and of course, Instagram.
How did you get started in dermatology? What was your first job in the field?
I applied to medical school at 17 and entered into a seven-year program immediately after graduating. I soon discovered my love for dermatology as it combines both aesthetics and medical aspects where patients want to see themselves get better quickly. My first job after my residency was doing dermatology in Long Island, followed by a job in New York City where I really honed my skills.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are anything but typical with two kids under the age of two. My mornings always start with a bang when my one-year-old gets into our bed. From there, I juggle getting myself and my baby ready, and doing my skin-care routine. My nanny arrives around eight to help with the kids and to make sure I have the two same shoes on that day! After giving my babies a kiss, I head to work and see patients from nine to four. At work it’s go, go, go because my days are so condensed. Once I’m home, I play with my daughter, give her a bath and dinner, then put her to bed. After the kids are asleep, I answer interviews, hang out with my husband, get into bed and squeeze in a Pillow Talk on Instagram Stories if I’m not too tired.
How has working in dermatology impacted your life, and what moment in your career (so far) are you most proud of?
When I became a dermatologist I realized that vanity isn’t just skin deep, and the mind and physical connection is real. The better you look, the better you feel, within reason, and I think that makes people have more confidence to tackle the world and feel more powerful. While my treatments address the exterior, I know I’m helping my patients on a deeper interior plane, which is really motivating.
A career moment I’m really proud of was when I met a young lady —a vet from the Iraqi war — who had a really difficult upbringing that impacted her skin, making her look older than she was. Ahead of her wedding, I took her under my wing and treated her skin from A to Z. I started by addressing the active acne on her face and ended by adjusting her facial proportions to restore the youthful appearance that she had lost. Seeing her walk down the aisle brought tears, not just to my eyes, but the entire wedding party because she transformed into who she really is, and not the shell of the person she was before she came in.
If you weren't a dermatologist, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t a dermatologist I would probably be a plastic surgeon, but in a fantasy world, I wish I had a talent like singing.
What's your favorite skin-care ingredient at the moment?
Given that I just had a baby and am done breastfeeding, I’m obsessed with rediscovering retinols. I love the 2% Retinol Complex Serum from Dr. Brandt.
Tell us a little bit about your current skin-care regimen.
My skin-care regimen varied while I was pregnant, and now with a new baby I try to keep it simple. I always take my makeup off, exfoliate, use a brightening serum, collagen booster and moisturizer. Simplicity is relative!
What are the top three skin-care products that everyone should have in their arsenal/ use on the daily?
Everyone should use a glycolic acid exfoliator — I love the Cane + Austin Miracle Pads, an SPF 30+ sunscreen like the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense and a really good moisturizer.
What's your advice for aspiring and upcoming dermatologists?
Becoming a dermatologist is a long road and very competitive, but if you truly love it, no one should stand in your way. Never give up and don’t lose focus of the end goal.
What does beauty and taking care of your skin mean to you?
I find that incorporating beauty and a strong skin-care routine into my daily routine makes me feel my best. When people take care of their appearance on an exterior level, it’s a sign that they value themselves.
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