This story is over 5 years old.

YouTube Channel of the Week

YouTube Channel of the Week #15: Dr Pimple Popper

In many ways, the popping of a pimple has all the drama of your blockbuster horror film, and Dr Sandra Lee is a director of Spielbergian proportions.

YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.


WHO: Dr Pimple Popper.
WHAT: A harrowing collection of pimple popping videos.
WHY SHOULD I CARE: Dr Sandra Lee is a dermatologist, a YouTuber with over 1 million subscribers and a very pretty woman. According to her "About" page on YouTube, she is "a board-certified dermatologist, skin cancer surgeon and cosmetic surgeon, who is a regular guest dermatologist on various TV shows". She is involved in all matters relating to the skin, and her channel has the half-cutesy, half-incomprehensibly horrible name, "Dr Pimple Popper".

Dr Sandra Lee provides a service. Somewhere between the freaks watching endless beheading videos on LiveLeak and people religiously viewing make-up tutorials done by 14-year-olds sits the gross mundanity of pimple popping. It would appear that the good doctor – taking note of this bizarrely, hugely popular trend – has become the queen of pus.

If I cast my mind back, the first example of this obsession with dermo-gore was on a horse. The horse had a giant abscess on its leg, and the farmhands, armed with grainy cameraphones, captured its lancing. The horse shuddered around a little while pus poured out of its leg, the abscess being squeezed while a light-red mulch was expunged from it.

This was back in the olden days, before internet videos were judged by the maxim of views. But everyone saw it. On YouTube there were, and still are, hundreds and hundreds of user-uploaded spot poppings. Zit poppings are just about the only things I've seen women, en masse, be comfortable with sharing. Their inhibitions are broken by the chance of becoming a blackhead celebrity.


Dr Sandra Lee knows all this, and manages to mix her academia and telly prowess with the bleakest of home-grown footage. All the videos are of her patients, and she even does a couple of follow-ups with them. They have a variety of ailments, from bloated noses, giant cysts, blackheads and growths of all shapes, sizes and types. If we like to pop our zits through some apeish grooming satisfaction, then Lee does it for the job satisfaction. She has a lovely bedside manner, regularly checking if the patients can feel the minuscule incisions she's making in the flesh. It's also educational. Apparently, those fucking huge gross blackheads are bits of skin folded in on themselves, the surfaces of which are "oxidised", so they turn black and look a bit like someone mixed a bird shit with a liquorice all sort and threw a bit of hashish in for good measure.

I get the feeling that most punters get a great sense of relief from watching these videos, but that they also feel an overwhelming disgust. In many ways, the popping of a pimple has all the drama of your blockbuster horror film: the swarming, brewing monster hidden under the bed (of skin), the hapless teens armed with whatever tools they can find (tweezers and toothpicks and stuff), only to be burst onto by an ejaculating cavern in the dermis, covered in off-white goo, surely about to burn its way through the victim's clothes. It's a disgusting ballet of wet wipes, bodily lumps and scream-laughs. You don't get much of that down the pictures any more.


That's the thing about Dr Sandra Lee: not only is she a fine doctor, a helper of people, but she's also a director of Spielbergian proportions. She is feeding the masses with the only thing they truly want: videos of foul bodily infections being excised in a pleasantly clinical setting. The dirty being defeated by the clean. It's Wat Tyler's peasants revolt being crushed by the boy king of dermatology. How sweet it is. Hark!


More from VICE:

YouTube Channel of the Week #12: Fred Red

YouTube Channel of the Week #8: WatchMojo

YouTube Channel of the Week #5: CycleDub