Disgusting, yet strangely heartwarming.
For better or worse, 2017 was the year of pimple-popping videos. So it only makes sense to ring in 2018 with a new television show dedicated to zit popping from the queen of the trade herself. On January 3, TLC aired the debut episode of Dr. Pimple Popper, which follows the internet-famous, Los Angeles–based dermatologist as she diagnoses and treats patients' skin lumps and bumps.
Zit-busting videos aren't everyone's cup of tea, including mine. I traded my sanity in to write this recap of episode 1. That's right: I watched all 42 minutes and 53 seconds of pimple-popping madness. Here are my top four takeaways from Dr. Pimple Popper.
Dr. Pimple Popper is a real doctor
It may be hard to take her title seriously, but Sandra Lee, MD is a real-deal, licensed, practicing physician. She's a dermatological and cosmetic surgeon, but she made a name for herself with her can't-look-away YouTube videos in which she pops all kinds of blemishes. "I perform thousands of procedures for my YouTube channel alone," she said on the show. She's regularly interviewed for her medical expertise and has even given Health tips on how to get rid of acne.
She's changing patients' lives
Dr. Pimple Popper does more than just extract pus from garden-variety pimples. She deals with some scary-looking lumps and bumps that her patients said have altered their social lives and tanked their self-esteem. "I can't be fully intimate," admitted Angela, a patient on the show with a softball-sized growth under her breast. "I'm afraid to take off my shirt." As a result, Angela wears only baggy shirts and shields her body with her purse to hide the bulge.
Another patient, Delano, said that he has trouble finding a job because potential employers judge the large, mysterious growth on his back. "I was sleeping outside at bus stops and park benches and being hopeless," Delano revealed of his life before meeting the doctor. Other doctors might steer these patients away, but Dr. P says it's become her passion to care for them and better their lives.
You see every squeeze and pop
Broken skin, pus, blood—viewers see everything, and I mean everything. The cameras followed Angela to her consultation with Dr. Pimple Popper and then filmed the entire procedure, from Dr. Pimple Popper marking the incision lines on the skin to cutting into the growth. There's even a warning at the beginning of the episode explaining that the show "examines dermatological conditions" and that "viewer discretion is advised."
The show is surprisingly heartwarming
Before tuning in, I mostly knew Dr. Pimple Popper through her YouTube videos, which emphasize the yuck factor and make her work seem very impersonal. But after watching her talk to the camera and interact with patients, I gained a newfound respect for her and the way she helps people with unsightly skin issues regain confidence, rebuild their trust in doctors, and live normal lives again.