Dr. Sandra Lee, AKA Dr. Pimple Popper, has helped millions achieve better skin health through the tips she shares online and via her eponymous show on TLC. She says that while there’s a lot of advice on the web for improving your skin, not all tips are equally informed.
In the social media age, there are thousands of online influencers dispensing myriad skin health and beauty tips every day. Within all these videos, posts, testimonials, and blogs, there’s plenty of good information, but how does one parse through the pseudoscience to get to the good stuff?
“The World Wide Web is certainly the wild, wild west when it comes to information and education,” said Dr. Lee, a registered dermatologist. “If you’re about to take the advice of a stranger on the internet, try to first do a little background research on that person. In addition, maybe consult friends and family that you trust who may be able to provide input as well.”
Dr. Lee understands the desire to seek beauty tips online — she has, in part, made a career out of offering great information via her social media channels. For those looking for good info, she recommends seeking information from people with education or training in the field like herself — though the legitimacy of those certifications can be tough to verify.
“It’s even difficult for true experts to figure out what qualifications the person dispensing the information has,” Dr. Lee said. “Anyone can misrepresent themselves on the internet and on social media, and this is rampant. This is not to say that there is not incredible advice and knowledge being dispensed, and it can be such a great platform to educate and entertain.”
One of Dr. Lee’s favorite parts of her job is making people feel confident in their appearance, whether she’s working with them directly or helping them through the tips she shares online. While her services usually only offer cosmetic improvements, there’s no doubting the impact those changes make.
“We all know what it feels like to be judged by the way we look, we all know what it’s like to feel self-conscious and different than others,” Dr. Lee said.
Through her TLC show “Dr. Pimple Popper,” in which she treats patients with unique skin conditions, Dr. Lee helps people in two ways: she treats the patient she’s seeing in person and gives comfort to viewers who may be struggling with skin health issues of their own.
“We share in the happiness when we see someone who gets something fixed, so they no longer have that physical and emotional burden,” she said.
Skin cancer awareness
Because May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, Dr. Lee wanted to dispel some common myths about skin cancer:
She says that, contrary to what many think, getting a tan does not help protect you from developing skin cancer. “A tan is really your skin scrambling to protect itself and means damage is already being done.”
While melanomas — a common yet extremely serious form of skin cancer — can develop from existing moles, that’s not the only way they can grow. “Melanomas can start in a preexisting mole or appear out of nowhere.”
Finally, Dr. Lee says wearing sunscreen, with an appropriate SPF, is the best defense against skin cancer, but adds that just because you apply sunscreen in the morning doesn’t mean you’re protected for the entire day. “Sunscreen wears off after two hours, or sooner if you are swimming or sweating.”That means it’s important to not only put on sunscreen, but reapply it regularly, especially if you’re outdoors and being active, like many plan to be in the coming months.