The premise of the show might seem superficial, but the series features many emotional moments. (Image by Hannah Delmore, Kent State University)

Squeamish or Strong-Stomached, You Should Be Watching ‘Dr. Pimple Popper’

Come for the pops, stay for the tear-filled moments of beauty.

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The premise of the show might seem superficial, but the series features many emotional moments. (Image by Hannah Delmore, Kent State University)

Come for the pops, stay for the tear-filled moments of beauty.

Common blackheads? Sebaceous filaments? Scarring acne? Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, can take care of that and so much more in her office in California. A board-certified dermatologist, skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic surgeon, at least according to her YouTube channel, Lee is helping people across the nation with all of their skin-related problems. In doing so, she makes sure that her processes and methods are available to all. And now, she’s come to the big screen with her new show “Dr. Pimple Popper” on TLC.

For those who are faint of heart, I ask you to hear me out on why you should actually watch this show. Lee is an absolute professional in her field with a lot of experience to back her up, so be assured, she knows what she is doing.

After graduating from UCLA, Lee made her way over to Drexel University College of Medicine to further her medical education. She also completed her dermatology residency and gained even more experience and education in the ways of cosmetic surgery, before finally settling down and working at Skin Physicians and Surgeons.

Furthermore, Lee has been recognized as a certified member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Society for Mohs Surgery, making her a true professional in the field.

Lee’s fame began through her Instagram account, where she posted small video snippets of her procedures. According to her Instagram, she “realiz[ed] that her field of medicine is very visual, [and] she felt that it would be interesting to show people what she sees on a daily basis — during consults, surgeries and in-office procedures.” From there, the somewhat sickening fascination with seeing her extractions and pops began to spread over social media, which eventually led to her moving to a larger platform: YouTube.

Using her stage name Dr. Pimple Popper, Lee began posting full length videos of her procedures: the good, the bad and the ugly. People became captivated by her kind and fun personality, how she managed to make each patient feel as comfortable as possible by talking to them throughout the whole process and easing their nerves. The level of professionalism was only boosted when viewers and skeptics alike saw just how skilled Lee was at identifying different skin conditions, some that were not even fully visible on the skin.

What makes Dr. Pimple Popper’s show worth of watching is the emotional aspect. Surprisingly, it can get pretty touching in that office. It may seem hard to believe — what, crying over a pimple? Patients who appear on the show range from calm and collected, to nervous and skeptical, but what unites all of them are many face-embarrassing and even life-threatening skin conditions. There are people who have been misdiagnosed, promised a blemish-free solution and were consequently let down when their problems returned or persisted. For many, Lee is their last hope.

Dr. Pimple Popper has always made it about her patients. She genuinely cares for them, and her determination and drive are visible even through the television screen. Lee makes sure to take care of as much of the problem as she can in her office, sometimes staying for hours with one patient to ensure she missed nothing dire. She sends every extracted sample to the pathology lab, just to make sure there is nothing life-threatening, even if in some cases, it is unlikely.

Lee goes above and beyond for every person who enters her office, and even when they step out of it, following up with them and checking in weeks after their initial meeting. She has changed lives. Removing embarrassing blemishes or growths does wonders for people’s self-esteem. Some of those individuals have lost job opportunities, friends, lovers — all over something they had no control over. After seeing Lee, it’s as if they see life in a new light, like they have a second chance to live it without fear or concern about others.

Whether you are a complete popaholic or not yet, it is hard to deny that Lee has made quite the name for herself. Her nurturing personality makes watching her fun and easy, while also feeding your newfound addiction for the best pops out there.

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Grace John

Rutgers University

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