One of the most commons things Dr Sandra Lee hears is: “This is gross, yet oddly satisfying”.
She is a California-based dermatologist who began putting videos of her blackhead bursting surgery online - videos which have gone viral, as they say.
And this is an odd fasciantion that is shared by many - her Youtube channel is called Dr Pimple Popper and has almost one and a half million followers.
She talks to Bryan Crump
Read an edited snapshot of their conversation below
How did these pimple popping videos arise in the first place?
Almost two years ago I decided to post a little Instagram about my work – a little window into my work. I have really interesting patients and I think that we do things that are very interesting in dermatology and people can relate to that, because it’s skin and everybody knows what normal skin is like. So I started to post clips and pictures. And one time I posted a blackhead extraction – pretty early on, maybe a month or two in – and it got a jump in likes. And at that time I had maybe a few hundred followers, then I posted a video on Youtub too and that also got a jump in likes.
And it was only at that time that I realised there were people watching other blackhead or popping videos on youtube and these were videos and that people actually watched them. And what happened at that point is someone said in my Youtbue comments “you might want to check out reddit popping”. I’d heard of reddit before but I didn’t know what exactly what it was. When I was there I realised that there was a community of people who watched popping videos and they shared them on this reddit sub community. So there’s actually this subculture – a big group of people who like these types of videos and I thought “wait a minute, I have access to this – this is what I see every day and I have access to some pretty big blackheads too…So people have been crying out for more, so it just grew from there.
So I started my own account on reddit, and I didn’t know that it was anonymous because I didn’t really understand reddit – I just realised I didn’t have to put my own name and I thought “Hey, I’ll call myself Dr Pimple Popper”.
So I posted a video and I got a lot of attention. First, because people said: “hey, you’re a doctor, why are you posting?”
But the other thing was that they saw what I had and they wanted it, they actually helped and encouraged me.
In terms of a business, it’s a great way of attracting people to your work, isn’t it?
Yeah. I feel like this is actually something that is actually really interesting I’ve touched upon a new way that one markets themselves, also show what they can do and their specialties. So I think it provides entertainment, but it also actually showcases your skills and shows your personality now. So I’ve been doing some TV work as a dermatologist for the last five years, but the attention I’ve got in the last two years as Dr Pimple Popper is stratospheric compared to that. Only a daily basis now I get people travelling across the US or across world, to come see me because they see me on YouTube and they now trust me, or they want to see me. They want me to be the one to diagnose their condition or treat their condition.
There is quite a range of pimples and cysts and things that can be squeezed apart from the old white heads and black heads.
Yeah, well I’m a dermatologic surgeon so it’s more a glimpse into the surgical side. I’m the doctor who is going to remove those cysts and do those incisions and take out those lipomas. Black head extractions we call “soft pops” because they’re a little bit softer, there’s no surgery involved, there’s not really blood involved anything like that. But when you talk about the harder pops, like cysts of lipomas or abscess or anything like that, that’s what we consider hard pops. So there’s really a range. And what the man Youtube channel is really all about popping. Because a lot of people like something in there. It’s really quite amazing how many people really like popping and one of the most commons things I hear is: “This is gross, yet oddly satisfying”.