If you thought reality television was polarizing before, just wait until this summer. Dr. Pimple Popper is getting a TV show, officially making the leap from YouTube and Instagram sensation to full-on reality star. The California-based dermatologist, whose real name is Sandra Lee, will bring her extraction skills and branded comedones to TLC for a series of hour-long episodes that will air all summer long, according to The Cut. So get your face shields ready, because this could get messy.
Lee gained both her handle and her massive following from — you guessed it — popping pimples on camera, and she'll do the same thing in this new series. She proved her chops to TLC last month in a one-hour special titled Dr. Pimple Popper: This Is Zit, which performed so well for the network that it earned her a shot at a full series. The Wrap reports that the Jan. 3 premiere was watched by 1.2 million viewers, proving that Lee is ready to enthrall and/or disgust a whole new demographic. (Often simultaneously!)
In the series, as in the videos that she shares with her YouTube subscription base of 3.4 million and her 2.1 million Instagram followers, Lee will tackle tricky skin issues of all kinds. Armed with tools like punches, scalpels, curettes, and needles, the internet-famous doctor will face off against not just your standard blackheads and whiteheads, but Dilated Pores of Winer, milia, cysts, and steatocystomas. In fact, if you keep your fingers crossed, you might even catch a glimpse of the infamous Momma Squishy.
But no promises, though, because the cast hasn't been set. In fact, it's still being assembled, which means that you and your skin could star in an episode. TLC is currently casting for the Dr. Pimple Popper series, so if you have a skin concern that you think could benefit from her expertise, you might just be in luck.
Maybe your stomach is churning at the very thought, but there are plenty of people who would and will jump at the chance. Whether you love it, hate it, or had no idea it was even happening, pimple popping is having quite a moment right now. Dr. Lee has millions of followers, a pimple-popping toy called the Pop It Pal was recently released, and the phenomenon has gone so mainstream that even the Kardashians are talking about it.
And in a surprisingly crowded field on YouTube — just type "popping" into the search bar for proof — Dr. Lee has managed to monetize her success and excite fans on a whole new level.
But while fans are united in their appreciation for their pimple-popping hero, their reasons for watching are varied. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, when Dr. Pimple Popper was just taking off, the dermatologist explained that people are drawn to her channel for a whole host of reasons. She said that she herself she finds them "hypnotic" and often rewatches the videos, but mentioned that some fans have told her they experience Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) while watching, while others use it to treat their dermatillomania, or Skin-Picking Disorder. She explained,
“I do know that it helps some of my viewers cope with their dermatillomania. I have a few patients with this condition, and when I see one again, I plan to suggest that they watch my videos and let me know if it helps them cope.”
So whether this new show tickles your fancy or makes you want to shut your laptop in disgust, it's undeniable that Dr. Pimple Popper is a public figure with a massive audience, which makes her perfect for reality TV. Whether she'll be able to bring her success from the smaller screen to the small screen remains to be seen, but she's already gotten people talking.