How Dr. Sandra Lee Became Dr. Pimple Popper - Exclusive

There's no other television show out there quite like Dr. Pimple Popper. Ever since it first aired on our television screens, Dr. Sandra Lee has kept viewers interested in her day-to-day as a dermatologist — and it all started with the simple popping of a pimple in a video that quickly went viral.

Once Dr. Lee began getting attention for the video she posted, fame instantly followed. "It kind of happened by accident," Dr. Pimple Popper even admitted, exclusively to The List. She was just a dermatologist before television came calling, working at her very own office in Upland, California, but now people all over the world were visiting her social media pages to see more pimples being popped. In fact, she now has nearly 11 million followers on her Instagram and YouTube accounts combined.

So how exactly did she go from seeing patients to spending time in the spotlight? Here's exactly how Dr. Sandra Lee became Dr. Pimple Popper.

Dr. Pimple Popper discovered dermatology firsthand in her household

Dr. Sandra Lee's devotion to dermatology all started when she was only a kid. Inspiration was all around her, as she was constantly surrounded by the world of skin. "My dad's a dermatologist, so I was really introduced to it at a young age," she told us. "It was ingrained in me." She knew exactly what her dad did and why it was so important to so many people — including herself.

As a matter of fact, Dr. Lee's seen the other side of it, as she grew up experiencing her own skin issues. "I had acne. I had atopic dermatitis, which is a form of eczema. I had light skin, I had alopecia areata, I had, like, a loss of skin hair when I was young," she explained. As a dermatologist today, she's now easily able to understand what her own patients are feeling, because she was once in the exact same situation. Dermatology not only changed her skin, but it also changed her life.

Dr. Pimple Popper had to compete to become a dermatologist

When it came to applying to college, Dr. Sandra Lee knew a medical degree would be the best specialty. However, once she was enrolled, she began to realize just how competitive a dermatology profession really was. "It was one that was very desired by a lot of people," she explained. "That probably lit a little fire under me realizing, 'Oh, this is really a good specialty. I should try to see if I can become one.'" Obviously, it all worked out.

Looking back, there seemed to be a reason why everyone else in medical school was wanting to become a dermatologist, too. As a female, being a dermatologist has given Dr. Lee the flexibility to live a fulfilling life with more than just a successful career. "You can have a family and a life, you raise kids and things like that," she said. "You need to have the time to do that as well."

Dr. Pimple Popper began posting videos online in 2014

Posting pimple popping videos on Instagram was initially a way for Dr. Sandra Lee to show her followers an inside look into her day-to-day as a dermatologist. "It's a really visual field," she said. Everything from cysts to lipomas made it onto her profile, but when she posted her first pimple popping video, everything seemed to change. "I noticed that there was a thing that people really liked to watch. It was really satisfying. It really kind of eased people's anxiety. They were just entranced by it," she told us, so she decided to post others. After that, even more people began to take notice.

One day, Dr. Lee was online when she discovered Reddit. There, she came across a group of over 50,000 people who liked to post popping videos too. "I thought, 'This is so weird, but I could be their queen,'" she admitted, so she signed in and noticed that everyone in the group wanted to remain anonymous. Dr. Lee opted not to post by her professional name, too. "I just thought, okay, what kind of name could I think up?" She said. "Let me go, 'Dr. Pimple Popper,' so that's where it started," and her career only escalated from there after the entertainment industry called.

Dr. Pimple Popper is now one famous dermatologist

In 2018, the very first episodes of Dr. Pimple Popper aired on TVs everywhere, instantly making Dr. Sandra Lee one of the most famous dermatologists of all time. "They've really taken it to another level," she told us. Even more people began following her pimple popping videos on and off the screen, creating a fan base of popaholics that are now eager to see more each and every week.

In fact, the desire to watch this dermatologist at work stems from something much deeper than just seeing other people's pimples popped. From removing lipomas to transforming how a client feels in their own skin, Dr. Pimple Popper is much more than just a dermatologist. "There are certainly people from the show that never go outside, never see people because of whatever they have," she said. People from all over the country now make the trek to Dr. Lee's office in California, hopeful that she can help completely change their lives. "So that's what I feel really lucky to be a part of," she said.

You can catch new episodes of Dr. Pimple Popper every week on discovery+.