After the birth of my first son, I started getting acne around my chin. (Postpartum hormones can do that to a gal.) A friend suggested I visited Wexler Dermatology, a stalwart in New York dermatology circles, where I met a young physician named Dr. Shereene Idriss. At the time, Dr. Idriss couldn’t have been more than 30, but the way she approached skincare, and specifically my skin’s care, was way beyond her years.
Every other week, I’d see Dr. Idriss as she administered Isolaz, an acne therapy that combines vacuum technology and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to deep clean the pores. In our hourlong sessions, we’d chat about everything from husbands to kids, to maintaining friendships, her approach to aesthetics, the list goes on. I looked forward to these treatments. They were my therapy. When our work together was over, I left Dr. Idriss looking better and feeling way more like me.
Fast forward a few years and I hadn’t seen Dr. Idriss since, that was until I opened Instagram one day and saw her casually dispelling skincare myths from the comfort of her bed. Dubbed “Pillowtalk Derm,” Dr. Idriss began making these chats routine, where she’d answer questions, divulge skincare secrets, share her favorite brands, all with the intimacy of a late night gab session among friends at a sleepover. At the time, Dr. Idriss was practicing at Union Square Dermatology, where she developed an A-list patient following, thanks in large part to her Instagram presence, as well as her face-first approach to aesthetics and her affable, real girl demeanor.
“With Instagram it was like, finally, no one is speaking for me anymore,” Dr. Idriss says. “I’ve always felt like a black sheep in the dermatology world, like an imposter. Everyone’s so polished, but I didn’t fit that mold. Social media gave me a chance to speak freely and find my own voice. I could be comfortable in who I am. The doors opened up because I was resonating with women. Then followers became patients and friends.”
Now, Dr. Idriss is coming into her own with her first dermatology practice, Idriss Dermatology, and she’s taking her loyal Instagram community with her. Housed inside a super stylish, Parisian-inspired “apartment” as she calls it, the home of Idriss Dermatology is like the physical manifestation of Dr. Idriss, herself. It’s insanely chic yet approachable, with tons of whimsy, color and fun. With interiors by Michelle Gerson Interiors, the office features soft, creamy white walls and icy blue gray cabinetry – calming tones you’d sooner find in a home than a dermatology practice. There are olive trees flanking the windows – an homage to her Lebanese roots – as well as chocolate truffles and Starbursts at every turn, coffee table looks and vibrant pop art that she painted. It’s the kind of place where you’d want to hang out after your treatment’s over.
Dr. Idriss always envisioned her own practice, but it was never the right time. Then the pandemic hit. She left Union Square Dermatology and stopped working for three months to figure it out. She started looking at real estate and saw a maisonette just atop Bryant Park.
“I knew I wanted to be overlooking the park on a low floor,” Dr. Idriss says of her third floor perch in the trees. “It feels very grounded. In New York you can get very easily detached. That aspect of being grounded is so important, especially for my patients. When you go to alter or enhance your physique, you can easily forget who you are. Our space is down to earth, cozy, homelike and comfortable. It’s not intimidating, it’s happy.”
At her space, Dr. Idriss is now free to perform facial aesthetics and rejuvenation, as well as minimally invasive body tightening through her own lens, which she describes as seeing the whole patient before examining every little wrinkle. “Sometimes physicians focus on individual problems, like that one line between their eyebrows, rather than taking a step back and looking at holistic betterment,” Dr. Idriss says. “That always led me down the right path. I’m not trying to change anyone. I’m not here to give a patient someone else’s lips.”
As for the next step in Dr. Idriss’s grand plan, she’s developing a skincare line named for her Instagram alter ego, PillowtalkDerm, and a lifestyle brand to follow suit. “With PillowtalkDerm, I want to bring a smile into people’s lives through silly PJs, skincare, empowerment,” Dr. Idriss says. “I want to have a brand that’s not just skin deep. My own story is so much deeper than skin. I want to help other people find their own voice and confidence, not just from the outside in but the inside out.”