Pimple-Popping Videos Are a Major Attention-Grabber
Dr. Sandra Lee is a dermatologist who has enjoyed popularity for her YouTube account “Dr. Pimple Popper.” The venue has gained her a respectable viewership as she uploads hundreds of videos and images to social media. Lee’s social media pursuits began upon noticing a marked increase in views of extractions when compared to her other material.
From then on, Lee tried different approaches until she stumbled upon an entire subculture brought together by a fascination with observing the extraction of boils and carbuncles. Lee’s persona differs from other celebrity doctors in that her content is far more intimate, if less aesthetically pleasing. Her average video affords people the chance to get their gross-out fix and follow a journey to its greatly therapeutic conclusion. Lee’s persona as host is of an attractive woman who makes small talk with her patients, even going so far as nicknaming especially difficult pustules and occasionally speaking directly to her audience.
Critics of Lee admit to a sensation of disgust, but not from the featured attraction. They see her as the barker of a carnival freak show, allowing hundreds of thousands to view the deformed with the promise of localized bodily explosions. While it is true that Lee’s popularity is built upon the disfigurements of patients, she derides such critiques. Lee counters the characterization of a carnival barker, stating that she sees her work as a way to raise awareness of skin issues and begin a dialogue.
While Lee’s patients have had a variety of epidermal disfigurements, all of them are offered care that is heavily-discounted, if not free, if their predicament is deemed notable enough to join her video catalog. Lee sees this arrangement as a win for both parties as extractions are elective procedures seldom covered by insurance. Dr. Art Caplain, a professor of bioethics at NYU Langone, sees the scenario as one of coercion-quipping that doctors should not offer discounted care for uploading curious skin ailments to YouTube.