beauty

A skin tag the size of a tennis ball, plus 7 other things Dr Pimple Popper told me about her job.

Let’s assume if you’re reading this right now, you want to know all the things about Dr Pimple Popper.

I’m talking: pimples, gunk, cysts, skin tags, exploding lumps and chunky green stuff.

If you’re not up for that kind of ride, kindly get off now because I asked about all of the above and more, when I got to interview Dr Sandra Lee, a.k.a Dr Pimple Popper.

It’s been five years since Dr Lee, a board-certified Dermatologist, thought it might be fun to start uploading videos of blackhead extractions on Instagram. Back then, she had no idea just how much people secretly like looking at gross body stuff on the internet.

Today, billions of people from around the world spend their time watching her pop and burst various weird and wonderful things on the Dr Pimple Popper YouTube channel, Instagram accounts and on her own reality TV show.

You can watch the trailer for the new season of Dr Pimple Popper in the video below – WARNING, it’s a bit graphic! Post continues after video.

Video by TLC

Ahead of the Australian premiere of the new season of Dr Pimple Popper, airing on TLC on Monday February 24, I asked Dr Pimple Popper to share what life is like when it’s your job to pop and cut off people’s interesting-looking lumps and bumps.

From a skin tag the size of a tennis ball, to her surprisingly simple skincare routine, here are eight things Dr Pimple Popper told me about being an internet-famous dermatologist.

1. People get to hold what came out of them…

Let’s kick things off with something really confronting.

When I asked Dr Pimple Popper about the kinds of things that come out of people’s lumps and bulges, she almost too casually mentioned she actually lets her patients take home the mass of gunk after she’s extracted it from their body.

“Often, I let people hold what… came out of them. They can keep it and take it home,” she said.

“For many of my patients, holding what came out of their body allows them to have some ownership of their decision to do something about a thing they’ve lived with for years. It gives them a sense of closure.”

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2. Yes, there are times she gets gunk on herself.

Naturally, I wanted to know if Dr Pimple Popper ever gets pimple juice and various other bodily fluids on herself when she’s popping people’s pimples. The short answer is, yes. Yes, she does.

“We always wear protective gloves, face masks and eye shields, but there are times when you get something on yourself. Usually, my staff can tell when I’m squeezing something if it’s going to blow, so they start stepping back.”

“It really depends what it is – some things slide out, some things burst out – but it happens because there’s a lot of pressure built up [when squeezing]. I’ve had stuff on my arm that’s felt like acid. I’ve also had stuff in my hair, and you have to spend the whole day with it in there. It’s hard when you get something on you that has an odour because you have to shower or you’ll keep smelling it all day.

“It’s part of the job, though. I like to say, when people leave my office, they always leave a part of themselves behind.”

Wow.

 

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A post shared by Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS (@drsandralee) on

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3. The time she dealt with a skin tag the size of a tennis ball.

The upcoming season of Dr Pimple Popper sees Dr Lee tackle some of the biggest and most complex conditions she’s seen in her career. When I asked her for a case that stood out as being the most memorable, she struggled to choose. But then, she told me about the patient who had a large skin tag in an unfortunate place.

“This season, I had a patient who had a huge skin tag, the size of a tennis ball, on their inner thigh near their groin. I didn’t know if [the network] would air it because it looked so graphic. It looked a lot like… something else.”

“This patient was such a trooper, they were able to laugh at themselves, but really, the toll this appendage was having on their life was massive. Whenever they sat down, they felt like you could see it hanging out. They couldn’t play sport with their friends because of how it moved when they moved their body. It was life-changing.”

Other stand out conditions Dr Pimple Popper has treated recently include a growth that looked like a smaller arm was growing out of a patient’s arm, and a lump removed from a patient’s back that “looked like a brain”.

4. The time she found something unexpected in a patient’s bump.

Then, of course, we had to talk about the times Dr Pimple Popper has gone to remove something from someone’s skin, only to find something unexpected inside.

“Usually, I can tell what will be inside a lump or a growth. Sometimes it comes out bit-by-bit, other times, it’s a full sack of substances. But there was a time I went to remove a cyst from a person’s scalp, and it was actually a big ball of hair under the skin.”

Yum.

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5. There are three things that actually gross Dr Pimple Popper out.

Chunky pimple cheese and mucus in green, yellow or even black don’t gross Dr Pimple Popper out. Yep, even when it smells really bad. So is there anything she can’t handle?

“The stuff that grosses me out is toenail fungus, vomit and diarrhoea. Clumps of substances I’m fine with, but I’m lucky I don’t really deal with the other three very often,” she said.

“I’ve had to train myself to not react to gross things in front of patients, which has helped me get past seeing a lot of things as being gross. You’d be surprised just how long people live with things because they’re too embarrassed to see someone. It’s a deeply shameful experience, so I would never tell a patient they’re disgusting or let them see if I wanted to gag.

“It’s about being polite and respectful of them and their feelings.”

6. Yes, you can pop your own pimples. But do it right.

Beauty experts have debated whether or not you ought to pop your own pimples at home for decades. But Dr Pimple Popper knows you’re going to do it. She just wants you to do it the right way.

Dr Lee added, “I know people love popping pimples. I love popping pimples. So I try and teach patients how to do it the correct way, with sanitised instruments and only when you know the pimple is ready to blow.”

You can learn more about how to pop pimples properly in this episode of the You Beauty podcast below. Post continues after audio.

7. Her skincare routine is really simple.

As for the products Dr Pimple Popper puts on her own face, Dr Lee said she keeps her skincare routine really simple.

“I think that’s where people go wrong with skincare – they think they have to spend a lot of money and put a lot of things on their face. But you don’t,” she said.

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“I have quite dry skin, so in the mornings, I don’t wash my face with anything other than water. At night, I use a Salicylic acid cleanser to remove makeup, clean out my pores and exfoliate the skin. Then I’ll use a hyaluronic acid serum, and maybe a retinol or retinoid product for anti-ageing. And I always wear sunscreen, it’s the number one thing you can do to look after your skin.”

 

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A post shared by Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS (@drsandralee) on

8. Her day job isn’t actually pimple popping.

Finally, Dr Pimple Popper wants you to know extracting the world’s largest pimples isn’t really an accurate representation of her day job.

“A regular day for me is far less interesting – I do a lot of dermatological surgeries, injectables like filler and Botox, removing skin cancers, and even liposuction. It’s really more for the show I do all the big things people now know me for.”

“To be honest, I can’t really do really long procedures anymore, my attention span is so short, I’m too impatient. I’ve done six-hour treatments for the TV show, but any more than three and I have to rest. Squeezing really takes a toll on my hands… maybe it’s because I’m getting old!”

Fair enough, I say.

The new season of Dr Pimple Popper starts Monday at 8.30pm on TLC.

Are you into Dr Pimple Popper videos? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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