Every week on Dr. Pimple Popper , dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD, meets with men and women suffering from rare, often confidence-crushing skin conditions. The boils they carry are massive. The cysts are bubbling up to balloon-sized. But it’s the people underneath the incredible lumps and growths that make the show worth watching. Just cover your eyes through the pus-filled eruptions, if you must.
If you’ve ever wondered about the variety of smells Dr. Sandra Lee might encounter during her popping procedures, season 2, episode 7 is one installment of Dr. Pimple Popper you won’t want to miss. In just an hour’s time, Dr. Lee addresses a curious case of elf-like ear keloids, treats a squishy baseball-sized lipoma on one guy’s skull — and, yes, describes the stench of particularly odiferous pus in great detail. Read on for everything you need to know about the new episode (which, blessedly, does not come with Smell-O-Vision).
Case #1: Taylore
The first case of the episode features Taylore, a 17-year-old aspiring model from Memphis, Tennessee, with elf ears. "When I was 15, I went to get my cartilage pierced on both ears," Taylore says. "Then I went to summer camp and they made me take my earrings out, and that’s when my cartilage skin started growing keloids." The result is two pointy red balloons sitting on the top of both of Taylore’s ears, which she has to hide with hair or a thick headband.
"I just started college, and it’s rough trying to hide my ears all day, every day," Taylore says. "I’ve always had this dream of becoming a model, but with my ears, I’m really not comfortable being photographed. Even if people tell me I’m pretty, I don’t feel pretty — I feel weighed down by these massive keloids."
Consultation day comes, and Taylore hopes and prays that Dr. Lee will be able to remove the growths on her ears so she can regain her confidence in front of the camera. In the exam room, Dr. Lee’s reaction to the keloids is sweet and genuine — she thinks Taylore’s ears are super-adorable, but understands why she’d want to have them removed, especially since they can be itchy and uncomfortable.
Taylore’s surgery is fairly quick and painless. Dr. Lee slices into the ear using a scalpel and severs away the keloid skin smoothly, leaving a tiny bit of excess skin on the top of the ear to use to stitch up the excision. Taylore’s not at all phased by the procedure, which has a blade pretty close to her face; she’s more worried about her eyes watering and messing with her lash glue. In the end, Dr. Lee successfully excises both keloids, and Taylore is able to walk out of the office with newly smooth ears and the confidence to wear her hair up — and work on her modeling portfolio.
Case #2: Jose
Next up, we meet Jose, who has a large, squishy ball popping out above his left eye. "Two years ago, I noticed I had this tiny lump on my forehead," Jose says. "The doctor told me it was a cyst and that it would probably just go away on its own, but it just kept getting bigger. Now it’s huge, and I’m worried that it will start to affect my vision. But more than the fear of health risks, I just feel deformed."
Jose’s lump is keeping him from living his life; he says he feels uncomfortable interacting with other people, even his family. "My family throws a lot of parties, but I never go because of the bump," Jose tells us. "Everyone always asks me what’s wrong, and I don’t want to talk about it or have people stare. So, if Dr. Lee can get this ball off of me, it will change my whole outlook on life — and keep me from disappointing my mom and sisters when I don’t show up."
At the consult, Dr. Lee is immediately worried about Jose’s lump. Feeling around the mass, she finds that there’s a hardened mass under the soft, squishy surface. "The safest thing I can do is to send Jose to get a CT scan to see what’s really going on under the skin," she says. So Jose heads to get imaged, and we move on to a new patient in the meantime.
Case #3: Ken
We meet 34-year-old Ken — and the boil-like cysts covering his whole body — in his home state of Mississippi. "I have cysts everywhere: my back, on my chest, in my hair," Ken says. "They started in my teen years, just as whiteheads and blackheads that would come to these boils. So I saw a specialist and had some of them lanced off, but they all grew right back."
Luckily, Ken has someone to help him deal with the painful lumps and bumps. "My wife Kim is a popaholic — she likes to pop my bumps and watch them ooze," Ken says. "The big ones are painful, but the worst part is the smells — it’s worse than anything you can imagine. It’s like cow manure, or like opening the refrigerator to spoiled food."
So Ken and Kim take a trip to California to see Dr. Lee. Ken tells the derm all about his painful, uncomfortable, and very smelly skin situation. Upon inspection, Dr. Lee determines that Ken is probably dealing with epidermoid cysts over his whole body with pilar cysts on his scalp — but feels confident that she can get rid of the big, honking boils that are bothering him.
Dr. Lee begins with the cysts on Ken’s head, which squirt out like butter. The next one — a large, squishy lump on his chest — looks like a giant rubber band being pulled out of the pore. An especially large cyst over Ken’s pectoral muscle spews like cottage cheese with just a squeeze… and with the volcano of pus comes the smell.
"A cyst will have a smell if it’s infected or inflamed," says Dr. Lee. "Essentially, that skin’s been sitting around, collecting bacteria, getting old and wet and soggy — once that skin is released to the world, of course it smells. It’s like old toe jam. The important thing for me, as a physician, is to make sure the patient feels comfortable. Ken knows they smell, but I’m not going to talk to him about it. I don’t want to make him feel more embarrassed."
Dr. Lee continues to squeeze and squirt the cysts — seven pops total — and Ken’s elated in the end. After the surgery, he tells Dr. Lee that he loves her and never wants her to change. For her thoughtful bedside manner alone, we have to agree.
Following Ken’s successful surgery, we circle back to patient number two, Jose, who returns for the results of his CT scan. Dr. Lee tells Jose that the scan shows that his squishy lump is just a lipoma, which means she can take him into surgery — proceeding with extreme caution as not to touch the delicate nerves in the forehead.
They head into a very bloody procedure in which Dr. Lee slices into Jose’s head and tries to tug out the lipoma. Unfortunately, Jose’s lipoma is pretty fibrous and stuck to the skull, so Dr. Lee has to snip it out piece by piece — which we saw last week — in a frustratingly laborious process. Finally, she’s able to pull out all that squishy gunk, and Jose walks out of the office lump-free.
And with that, we end episode 7. Tune in again next week for a new episode, and another lineup of delightful patients with fascinating skin conditions.
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Source: Refinery29 – Megan Decker