Blackheads, cysts, boils and zits aren’t the first things that come to mind when thinking about what’s popular on YouTube .

But there is an entire sub-genre dedicated to the science of skin extractions – and they aren’t being made by professional vloggers.

Dr Sandra Lee is an American dermatologist working in California.

She started uploading videos of her practise on YouTube in 2010 but began amassing a large following after posting her first skin extraction video in 2014.

With her patients’ written permission she continued to post videos of her treatment and she now posts several videos on her channel a week.

Dr Lee now has 5.6 million subscribers on her YouTube page which goes by the name “Dr Pimple Popper.” Her most recent videos receive millions of views with some of her most popular videos seeing upwards of 40 million views.

Her regular videos became so well known that she was even offered her own reality TV show on TLC in 2018 which followed her patient’s lives before and after treatment.

Many of the participants on the show have severe skin conditions and the results are often life changing experiences for them.

Now in it’s third season, Dr Pimple Popper is more popular than ever.

The psychology of pimple popping

But what makes videos of other people having their skin popped by a professional so satisfying for some?

According to Abigail Cline, M.D., Ph.D. of the Center for Dermatology Research at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, says that people “self-extract” for a variety of reasons in an interview with Men’s Health .

“Some people may get a sense of control and satisfaction that they are ‘treating’ themselves.


“They are cleaning or ridding their body of something that doesn’t belong,” 

Dr Cline also explained why some people receive satisfaction from watching other people self-extract.

“Others might enjoy the grotesque aspect of extractions and feel a bit of bizarre fascination when they see the outburst of pus.”

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