‘Dr. Pimple Popper’: This is What Dr. Sandra Lee Calls Her No. 1 Job Hazard
A pop (no pun intended) culture icon in her own right now, Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, is TLC’s reigning queen of skin extractions. Millions of viewers tune in to her self-titled program, Dr. Pimple Popper, plus of course, her videos on YouTube and Instagram that started it all.
Her loyal fans, with their own cool nickname of ‘popaholics’, delight in watching her squeeze the innards out of lumps, bumps, growths, and of course, pimples. If it’s growing on your skin, Dr. Lee can ooze it out.
She reveals here the procedure she’s not that crazy about, her 1 job hazard, and how the TV show ‘Seinfeld’ kinda-sorta named her.
How ‘Seinfeld’ helped her find her TV name
“It’s sort of tongue-in-cheek and pays homage to the Seinfeld episode that many of us dermatologists feel a little connection to,” the California-based dermatologist explained. “Seinfeld was dating a woman who said she was a doctor, but when he found out she was ‘just’ a dermatologist, he thought less of her … Seinfeld called her ‘Pimple Popper MD.’ So it’s a subtle reference to this.”
The procedure she doesn’t love doing
By this point, Dr. Lee has seen it all – giant blackheads, massive cysts, enormous growths. She’s respectful and reassuring to each and every patient. They already feel vulnerable and, in many cases, nervous when they enter her office. She wants it to be as positive of an experience as possible. Still, she is human and has learned to handle the difficult parts of the job.
“I have to be careful with [(gagging]), and I definitely don’t really do that when I’m doing cysts or something. If something’s infected, it can smell bad,” Dr. Lee told Mashable in 2018, “but I think I’ve conditioned myself not to do that because I’m so aware — and my staff knows this too, they know to never go ‘ahhh oh my god.’ We never say anything. We try not to get excited because these people are coming in a very vulnerable state. You don’t want them to feel embarrassed about it.”
The procedure she has the hardest time with? “I definitely have to suppress a little gag when I have to deal with somebody’s toes or toenail fungus. My husband is a dermatologist, and he removes toenails — I can’t do that, that’s too disgusting. It’s like, barbaric, it’s like, ugh.”
She considers this her No. 1 job hazard
“The main hazard of my job is getting splashed,” she told Mental Floss in July. “And smells, maybe. It’s skin cells that are wet, that have been stored for years. It smells like really stinky cheese or like maybe like really bad, old toe jam.”
She elaborated more on this icky topic with Cosmopolitan this summer.
“For me, the worst kinds of pimples are the ones that get on you. I wear a splash mask, but it always happens when I don’t wear the splash mask.”
“Sometimes I think I can play that game, and then I get cyst in my hair and feel like showering every time I turn my head. Or if it gets on my arm, I joke and say, “It’s like acid, I can feel it!” I don’t really get grossed out, and I think it’s partly being trained to not act like you are. I want to be respectful to my patients.”
Watch Dr. Pimple Popper on TLC.