She has over 2.5 BILLION views across her Youtube channel, a cool 8 million followers across social media, and has squeezed more spots than Kylie has sold lip kits. But what makes Dr Sandra Lee, aka Dr Pimple Popper, so mesmerising? And what are her top tips for a successful squeeze? Ahead of her UK TV debut in her new show, Dr Pimple Popper on TLC, we catch up with the Dr herself to find out.
“I don’t actually recommend popping anything”
As a dermatologist, I actually don’t recommend popping anything at all at home. But I also know that many of us are pickers and poppers and if you are going to do it, I want to tell you the best way to avoid scarring or aggravating the skin even more.
“Know WHAT to pop”
You should only attempt to pop a pimple which has a fully formed head. We call this a pustule and usually they’re only covered by a very thin, superficial layer of skin so can be easily popped. The more superficial, the better, as you’ll cause less trauma to the skin and it’s less likely to scar.
If it’s a cyst (a deeper, under-the-skin lump), a milia (a small white lump) or a mole – don’t even think about it. You’ll just make it far, far worse or cause more serious issues for yourself.
“Encourage the pimple”
Before popping, always encourage the pimple to come to the surface. A pimple is the result of an immune reaction where white cells and puss has collected to heal the bacterial invasion – you can bring all this closer to the skin surface using a hot compress. Just place it on the area for a few seconds a few times a day and be patient.
A step-by-step guide to banishing acne on every single part of your body
“Know when to stop”
The most important thing is to know when to stop. People can become totally fixated when squeezing a pimple but you’ve got to know when enough is enough. As a general rule, I would say that if the pimple hasn’t popped after 30 seconds of squeezing, you have to walk away. Set an alarm on your phone to time yourself – pimple popping is the ultimate time warp and people often don’t realise just how long they’re digging around in one spot. If you really can’t stop yourself and you keep going back for more, even after the 30 second deadline, put a band aid on it.
“Keep everything clean”
It goes without saying that you should wash your hands before touching your skin, and especially before popping pimples. I’d even recommend showering beforehand, not just from a hygiene perspective, but also to open up the pores and soften the skin. Afterwards, use an antiseptic cream or something with salicylic acid to make sure the area is properly cleansed. Oh, and steralise any popping tools with rubbing alcohol.
“I think people find it relaxing”
People do it because they find it relaxing – it’s a problem that gets resolved, and that is satisfying. But there’s a difference with that and with skin picking disorder, when people are compelled to obsessively pick their spots, and can really cause serious damage to their skin. I think in those cases, or when there’s a risk of scarring or severe acne, you should always seek help from a dermatologist. Acne scars and skin issues can have a huge emotional toll that you carry for life, so it shouldn’t be dismissed. That’s the message I want to get across – yes, I entertain but I also educate. I want people to understand their skin and know what treatments are available.
Dr Pimple Popper airs Thursdays from 26th July at 9pm on TLC