Dr. Pimple Popper's Holiday Special Was Glorious — Here's Everything You Missed

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
When contemplating which holiday classic to binge watch tonight (an installment of the Harry Potter series, or The Holiday, perhaps?), we're going to go ahead and put in our recommendation for the Dr. Pimple Popper holiday special. In case you're behind on your popaholic news, the hour-long episode aired tonight, and should already be available for your streaming pleasure on TLC.
If you want to get a better idea of what you're in for before you hit that "play" button, all you really need to know is that the episode features 12 pimple-popping procedures in a festive dermatological play on "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Not only is the hour filled with a dozen shocking skin abnormalities — like one 55-year-old ear blackhead, which has ballooned out to a huge charcoal-colored crater, and a mysterious snowman-shaped squishy lipoma on one guy's arm — but Dr. Lee works in holiday puns throughout every step of the craziness, bringing it all together into one freaky, festive fever dream.
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If you're looking for a good Friday-night drinking game, take a sip of whatever red wine you have on hand every time Dr. Lee somehow manages to turn a pimple into something seasonally appropriate. So bottoms up — and check out the recap, below.

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The first pop of Christmas: Jaila and her ear-keloid ornaments
When Jaila was two years old, she suffered a botched ear piercing, which resulted in lobe trauma and two growths that just kept getting droopier — ending with 20-year-old keloids, which Dr. Lee calls "her bauble ornaments" (drink). In surgery, Dr. Lee is able to slice off both keloids with two clean cuts, one on each ear. And with that, Jaila can hear the jingle bells, instead of wearing them.
The second pop of Christmas: Justin and his snowman-shaped lump
Justin travels all the way from North Carolina to see Dr. Lee about the tri-lump formation popping out of his upper arm. Dr. Lee compares the skin configuration to a lumpy snowman (drink). The best part is when Justin, in his deep Southern accent, tells the camera: "I don't know what's in there, but it sure ain't snow." In the surgery, Dr. Lee cuts deep into Justin's skin and begins squeezing the sides of the protruding bump, and a fountain of white pus spills out — and it doesn't look unlike a melted snowman.
The third pop of Christmas: Christina and her neck blisters
Dr. Lee immediately diagnoses Christina's field of little blister-like neck lumps as steatocystomas, which is a kind of benign cyst that secretes oily material. This one's a speedy surgery — all Dr. Lee has to do is squeeze each bump between her thumb and forefinger, and a buttery string of pus spills out of the skin. Dr. Lee loves popping these buggers so much, she proclaims them to be "filled with Christmas cheer." (You know what to do.)
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The fourth pop of Christmas: Farrah and her cheek cyst
A facial cyst is worse than any other because it's the first thing people notice when they look you in the eye — and fourth patient Farrah, with her confidence-wrecking cheek cyst, is proof. In surgery, Dr. Lee slices into the cyst with a scalpel, and with a single squeeze at the edges of the cut, a bullet of pus squirts out. Gummy white liquid continues to spill out as Dr. Lee keeps squeezing. She compares the facial cyst to an iceberg, because the tip is just the beginning, and there's so much more buried underneath. It starts as a snowball, and with one squeeze, the pus explosion becomes a full on Nor'easter. Drink.
The fifth pop of Christmas: Dorris and her 55-year-old ear blackhead
Dorris has traveled all the way from Ontario, Canada, to have Dr. Lee treat an ancient ear blackhead she's carried with her since 1963. Dr. Lee calls it the unicorn of dermatology, the dilated pore of Winer, which is another word for a giant blackhead that has grown so big it's actually stretched out the pore. To excise the aged blackhead, Dr. Lee first rips off the hardened exterior — which she compares to a hardened lump of coal (sorry). Then, she uses a pair of pliers to pull the rest of the deep-rooted gunk from the gaping skin hole.
The sixth pop of Christmas: Randi and her under-eye bags
Upon meeting Randi, Dr. Lee immediately diagnoses her with xanthelasma, a rare but benign condition wherein yellowing bumps form around the eye area, usually related to high cholesterol. It's scary to have knives and needles around the eyeball area, but Dr. Lee handles the thin skin and delicate area like a pro. There's even a soft "Carol of the Bells" ringing in the background as she takes us through Randi's bump drainage.
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The seventh pop of Christmas: Kenneth and his back bulge
Kenneth has had a bowling ball-sized bump growing in his left shoulder for the past ten years. To get rid of it, Dr. Lee slices into the squishy mass and, using two hands, begins to squeeze Ken's lump. The bugger is stubborn, requiring some yanking and tugging at the sticky gunk to remove everything from under Ken's shoulder. In the end, after a lot of wrestling, Dr. Lee defeats the bulge.
The eighth pop of Christmas: Connie and her face & back steatocystomas
Connie comes to us from Miami and says she's dealing with chronic pimples that sprout up all over her face and back — that her family members have taken to popping for her. Dr. Lee finds that the bumps are deep steatocystomas (the same condition Christina was diagnosed with). Using her fingers, Dr. Lee squeezes the bumps, and butter-like spirals spew out from each one.
The ninth pop of Christmas: Felix and the bump on his head
Felix has a 25-year-old golf ball-sized lump sticking out of his upper forehead, which he's tired of hiding with a hat. After touching the skin around the lump, Dr. Lee diagnoses the lump as a pilar cyst, a condition that typically occurs at, or close to, the scalp. After cutting into the skin, Dr. Lee pops the chestnut-like clump out from Felix's face.
The 10th pop of Christmas: Jean Marcus and his 14 lipomas
Jean Marcus has a compilation of spongy lipomas growing all over his body — mainly on his arms and chest — which have tripled in abundance over the past few years. Following the brief consultation, Dr. Lee diagnoses him with familial multiple lipomatosis, an inherited condition that both his sister and his dad also have. These lipomas are benign, but are kind of an eyesore — and Jean Marcus has a lot of them. In surgery, Dr. Lee speedily squeezes all fourteen blubbery lipomas out from under his skin, and Jean Marcus walks out lump-free.
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The 11th pop of Christmas: Jennifer and her skin tags
Jennifer believes that the array of skin tags covering the front of neck are a byproduct of her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). After consulting her medical books, Dr. Lee explains that Jennifer may have been misinformed, because there's no concrete link between skin tags and PCOS. Instead, Dr. Lee thinks it's more likely a result of insulin resistance, which can be controlled. "It's not uncommon for people to demand a definitive diagnosis," says Dr. Lee. "But sometimes dermatology is more nuanced — a true Christmas mystery." Bottoms up to Jen's successful skin-tag removal.
The 12th pop of Christmas: Santa Claus
And just when you thought that Dr. Lee had forgotten about the twelve drummers drumming, she brings out the final holiday patient. Yes, to finish off the marathon of popping, Dr. Lee gets a surprise appearance by Jolly Old Saint Nicholas himself. It's a fitting ending to an extremely festive special — one that we hope got you just buzzed enough to not be traumatized by Santa's skin condition.
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