Dr. Sandra Lee, known around the world as Dr. Pimple Popper, knows exactly why people love watching her gross-out videos of her popping cysts, comparing them to pornography.
"People were watching under a closet, almost like it was porn, and people are now embracing it," she told The Daily Mail of the changing view of her clips. "It’s become less guilty. People were hiding this issue, but now they are announcing it to the world, they are proud of it."
She continued, "They’ve found other people who have this same joy and they appreciate that and now they know they are normal. It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me."
The success of the videos, both on Instagram and YouTube, have brought her biggest fans, known as popoholics, "out of the closet."
"I happened upon this fascinating phenomenon," Lee told the Daily Mail. "I didn't know people enjoyed watching these videos and relaxed to them."
Lee said she has heard of people who fall asleep to her videos. She thinks her calming voice helps put people with the skin picking disorder dermatillomania to sleep. "Patients don't take sleeping pills any more," she added.
Despite her international fame, which attracts patients from all around the world to her Southern California dermatology office, she is uncomfortable with the idea of being a celebrity.
"This is bigger than I ever imagined, but I still think there’s room to grow. This TV special is introducing pimple popping to people not on social media," she said, referring to a TLC special that aired in January. "I’m not popped out yet but I can’t do it forever. It is getting harder with all these other commitments, I get little waves of burnout."
"I also think it may give some people a little rush... similar to what a person may feel from riding a rollercoaster or watching a scary movie," Lee told LADBible when asked why people love the videos. "And I think it's fascinating for many people to see what can come out of the skin of a regular, normal, healthy human."
Lee started on Instagram in 2014 before she migrated to YouTube. Her most-watched video shows her removing a blackhead from an 85-year-old patient and has over 38 million views. A video shot last week shows her removing a cyst perilously close to a man's Adam's Apple.
Lee is working with TLC for a new series, which will feature different dermatology cases, like her successful online videos. The network has not said when the series will begin.
Photo credit: Facebook/ Dr. Sandra Lee