Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee gained widespread recognition on TLC with her 2018 TV special. The success was so immense that it led to the creation of the popular series, “Dr. Pimple Popper.” The show, known for its attention-grabbing title, featured Dr. Lee addressing a range of unusual and sometimes quite repulsive skin conditions, from cysts to lipomas. The genesis of the show came from her social media videos, where she demonstrated the proper extraction of large, painful pimples.
Over the years, “Dr. Pimple Popper” has consistently been among TLC’s top-rated shows. By 2019, it had even secured the number one spot in its time slot for nine consecutive weeks among females aged 18 to 49. The show’s success prompted the launch of a companion series, “This is Zit,” available on TLC GO, where Dr. Sandra Lee shares the intricate details behind some of her most challenging cases.
While viewers have become acquainted with Dr. Lee through her television appearances, there is more to her story than what’s seen on screen. Dermatology was a family affair for Dr. Sandra Lee, as her father was a dermatologist. Growing up, her home was filled with dermatology textbooks, and she frequently visited her father’s office, gaining a firsthand understanding of the field. It wasn’t until medical school that she decided to pursue dermatology as a career, recognizing its competitive and sought-after nature.
In her youth, Dr. Lee also pursued a different path outside of medicine. She excelled in playing the classical guitar, even competing at a national level. This experience, though rewarding, brought its own set of challenges and nervousness.
Prior to “Dr. Pimple Popper,” Dr. Sandra Lee amassed a substantial following on social media. Her videos, showcasing various dermatological procedures, garnered millions of views. Initially, she considered these posts as a “science experiment.” However, a video featuring a blackhead extraction catapulted her to a wider audience. This led her to delve further into the online subculture of pimple popping, where she discovered a dedicated community.
Before her breakthrough with “Dr. Pimple Popper,” Dr. Sandra Lee had some television exposure as a guest on “The Doctors.” These appearances paved the way for her comfort in front of the camera, though she admits to initial apprehension about being the focus of a reality show. Nevertheless, the show’s reception has been overwhelmingly positive.
Interestingly, Dr. Lee credits Selena Gomez for saving her on Instagram. When her pimple-popping videos garnered mixed reactions, Gomez’s endorsement during an interview with Instagram’s CEO dramatically changed the trajectory of her online presence. Gomez is just one of several celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Chrissy Teigen, and Kim Kardashian, who are fans of Dr. Pimple Popper’s content.
Dr. Sandra Lee’s YouTube channel, boasting over 8 million subscribers, played a pivotal role in her journey. The revenue generated from her channel allowed her to fulfill a long-held ambition — creating her own line of dermatologically beneficial skincare products, known as SLMD. This line encompasses various products tailored to address a range of skin concerns.
Dr. Lee emphasizes the importance of mindful skincare, advising against the use of fragranced hotel lotions. She advocates for minimalism in skincare routines, emphasizing the essentials: cleanser, treatment, moisturizer, and SPF.
Despite her moniker as Dr. Pimple Popper, Dr. Sandra Lee refrains from popping her own pimples, and encourages others to do the same. She cautions against the potential risks of infection and scarring, and recommends a cautious approach. For those who can’t resist, she suggests waiting until a pimple surfaces as a whitehead to minimize damage to the skin.
While Dr. Lee has become a household name in dermatology, her journey from a family immersed in the field to a renowned TV personality is a testament to her passion and expertise in skincare.