IN 2014, dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD (also known as Dr. Pimple Popper) uploaded a short video on Instagram of a patient being treated for a pimple. Dr. Lee was surprised that it got over a thousand “Likes.” That was just the start. At present, Dr. Pimple Popper has 2.9 million followers on Instagram and over 4 million subscribers on YouTube.
Four years after that first video, she now has a reality show.
Dr. Lee has been a practicing dermatologist in Los Angeles for 15 years, specializing in removing lumps and cysts from various parts of her patients’ skin.
Dr. Pimple Popper, a reality show where Dr. Lee examines and treats patients’ skin conditions, premieres on TLC on Nov. 5 in the Philippines.
“It’s a [much] more rich experience compared to my social media because you really get to see the people beforehand and what they’ve been living with,” Dr. Lee told members of the Southeast Asian press in a phone interview.
The show features patients who will get treatment for cysts and lumps that have affected their lifestyle and self-confidence.
“They (patients) really go through a selection process with the casting and the production company. I take a look at the patients to select and see whether it is really something that is treatable,” Dr. Lee said.
According to Dr. Lee, she has received patients from around the world since becoming popular on social media and the reality show. “It’s just so interesting, the power social media. You can show how you interact with others and what you do, and people trust you and are willing to travel,” she said.
“I think that part of the success of what I do on social media and the success of the show is the fact that people recognize that I don’t treat somebody differently because of how they appear, and that’s really important for me. For somebody to see a doctor, you’re in a very vulnerable position. You’re showing things that you have not shown anyone else and you don’t want to feel judged or embarrassed,” she added.
For Dr. Lee, Dr. Pimple Popper turns something that may be disturbing into something positive.
“I’m just doing my job and I’m doing what I like to do. I feel [really] lucky to play such a big part in people’s lives… I might not remember them as much as they will remember me and that’s really special,” she said.
Dr. Pimple Popper premieres on Nov. 5 on TLC through Cignal TV and Sky Direct at 8:05 p.m. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman