The Dermatologist Behind ‘Dr. Pimple Popper’

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The star of the new TLC show “Dr. Pimple Popper,” dermatologist Sandra Lee is fascinated with “popaholics” or people who enjoy watching people’s pimples popped.

In addition to her dermatology practice in Southern California, Lee has made her way to fame by posting videos of herself on social media popping the pimples of others.

Moving away from social media, Lee now has her own show on TLC, in which she removes pimples and cysts from her patients up close. The show also delves more into the lives of her patients than her previous social media clips did.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Lee revealed that her viewers fascinate her, some of whom have admitted to her “that watching the videos relaxes and entertains them.”

The show, which just recently premiered last week, provides viewers with an in-depth look at the various skin conditions people are either born with or develop that require them to have cysts, pimples, or even growths removed from their bodies. Lee claims the show will attract the attention of all people, not just so-called “popaholics” because the show also explores the backgrounds and lives of Lee’s patients.

“It’s so interesting to me that this is all sort of starting on the grotesque, or something that is shocking or gross to so many people,” Lee said, “but it ends up being a happy story.”

Neuroscientist Heather Berlin claims that, from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s completely normal for people to want abnormalities removed from their skin, adding that, therefore, it is also normal for people to want to actually see these pimples or growths removed or popped. According to Berlin, for some people “popping pimples or watching others do it stimulates the nucleus accumbens, the reward center in the brain that receives dopamine,” while others have the opposite reaction.

Featured image credit: Jason KempinGetty Images

Lee, who now has a huge social media following, revealed that whether viewers were fascinated or disgusted by her Instagram videos, they still watched and tagged their friends in them, regardless. Now, her new show is also receiving massive attention after airing only two episodes.

While she says she is honored by the overwhelmingly positive response, Lee also admits, “It’s intimidating, too, because I feel like I’m representing dermatology in general and I want to make sure I represent dermatologists well.”

“It’s been a ride,” she said. “I have to sit back sometimes and remind myself to enjoy it.”