Dr. Sandra Lee — best known to fans as Dr. Pimple Popper — opens up about adjusting to her hectic schedule

By Melody Chiu
January 16, 2019 12:00 PM
Advertisement

Sandra Lee’s TLC show Dr. Pimple Popper pulled in huge ratings after it premiered last July, but the dermatologist says the show wasn’t always a sure thing.

“I’m very much a control freak and it was actually very hard for me to decide to do the show,” Lee — whose blackhead extraction videos catapulted her to fame over the last few years — tells PEOPLE exclusively in its latest issue. “I was getting pitched by so many networks and I really didn’t know if I was interested.”

Sandra Lee at home
Koury Angelo

Known for her empathetic bedside manner, Lee, 48, says her biggest hesitation was being portrayed in a negative light.

“You know these shows: People end up divorced or throw stuff at each other. I don’t want that!” says Lee, who felt the added weight of representing dermatology responsibly.

For all the details on Dr. Sandra Lee’s journey to accidental stardom and life with her family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Shooting Dr. Pimple Popper four days a week has also been more stressful than she imagined. “The show definitely has given me some big cases,” says the physician, who has 4.8 million subscribers on YouTube and 3 million on Instagram, and also oversees her skincare line SLMD Skincare.

Lee with a patient on Dr. Pimple Popper
TLC

“We’re booking out farther, but I also don’t want to neglect my ‘regular’ patients,” adds Lee. “It’s just evolving and I have to get adjusted to this new normal.”

Despite her initial doubts, Lee says the show has turned out to be a positive experience — and has helped her become closer to her patients.

“I actually get so much from it because I don’t normally get to see patients [after they’ve left my office] and how I’ve affected their lives,” she says. “You just go about your job, but now I actually get to see it and be proud of it.”

Dr. Pimple Popper airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on TLC.