Dr. Pimple Popper Episode 2 Features A Cyst That Looks Like A Unicorn Horn

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 thought you already had enough to watch this weekend, what with both the Critics' Choice Awards and True Detective's season 3 premiere on Sunday and finally sitting through Bird Box (if only so you can properly appreciate all the memes), we strongly suggest you carve out an hour to settle in with the four can't-miss cases in the second episode of Dr. Pimple Popper's sophomore season.
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But if you'd rather just catch the breakdown without all the visuals (or most of them, at least), we can help you out there. Ahead, everything you could possibly want to know about one woman's avocado-shaped cyst and another's unicorn-horn boil, and much, much more.
Photo: Courtesy of TLC.
Case #1: Matt
The first patient of the day is Matt, who was born with a lifelong, untreatable skin condition called neurofibromatosis type 1 that causes rapid tumor growth throughout the body. Matt has visible tumors covering his neck (which present as red, wrinkly folds of skin), and hidden ones lodged in his sides and back. Those are the ones that have become a serious hinderance to his life. "I'm a courier and I deliver packages all across Colorado, and these body tumors have started to really affect my work," Matt says. "I feel like there's a rock growing in my side and my back — it really hurts. I'm nervous the pain will only get worse as I age, so I'm hoping Dr. Lee can take my pain away."
The scary part about living with neurofibromatosis is that there's always the possibility that one of the tumors growing in or on your body may be a life-threatening, possibly cancerous tumor, disguised as a symptom of the condition. Unfortunately, Dr. Lee can't cure Matt's condition, but she can help remove the problematic tumors to help ease the pain and send the excised tumors to pathology for a definitive diagnosis.
In surgery, Dr. Lee removes the two deeply-rooted tumors in Matt's side and back, respectively, pulling out what looks like small, solid petrified pieces of macaroni. And while Matt's tiny tumors are set to the lab for testing, he walks out of Dr. Lee's office feeling much more comfortable than when he walked in.
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Photo: Courtesy of TLC.
Case #2: Yamileth
Sunny Los Angeles is where we meet 22-year-old Yamileth (or Yammy, as her friends call her), who has long black hair that she wears pulled over to one side to hide the avocado-sized lump growing between her neck and her shoulder. "When I was 10 years old, I remember feeling a little ball in my shoulder, and as I grew older, it got bigger and bigger," Yammy says. "It's now the size of a medium avocado — it's squishy all around the sides with a harder ball-like knob at the top."
The issue with Yammy's lump isn't necessarily the pain or discomfort it causes, but the toll it's taken on her confidence. "I used to get bullied in high school," she says. "Eventually it got so terrible, and I fell behind so far, that I just stopped going, and I started exotic dancing for money. It's not a permanent career — I have a dream of someday becoming a backup dancer — but this lump is in my way."
At the in-office consult, Dr. Lee is nervous about extracting this mysterious lump so close to Yammy's neck. "Yammy's bump is in a really precarious area on her neck — there's not a lot of fat between the skin and the internal structures," she says. She proceeds to surgery with caution, and after slowly slicing into Yammy's neck, a steady stream of white pus spews out, which tells Dr. Lee that the avocado neck lump is actually a cyst. As she squeezes, the creamy mashed potato-like pus continues to spill out. "I've never seen cyst contents like Yanny's," Dr. Lee admits in her confessional post-surgery. "Hers looked like creamed potatoes with chives mixed in."
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Case #3: Pat
Next up is a woman named Pat, who has unusual moles peppering her neck, chest, and parts of her face. "The spots started popping up in my twenties, but then in my forties they began spreading really rapidly," Pat explains. "I have no idea what's causing them. My father passed away from skin cancer, so that's always a concern in the back of my mind."
Luckily, at Pat's consultation, Dr. Lee knows right away that her condition is a form of seborrheic keratosis, a fairly common, wart-like skin growth. "This is definitely a presentation of seborrheic keratosis," Dr. Lee says, examining Pat's neck. "The thing is that Pat has so many, we may not be able to remove all of them." In surgery, Dr. Lee sprays the affected areas of skin with concentrated liquid nitrogen, which essentially freezes off the spots, but the sensation while spraying is so cold that it hurts.
Considering that the surgical procedure doesn't involve any kind of numbing, Pat's pain threshold essentially determines how much of the seborrheic keratosis Dr. Lee can remove. But Pat is tough and stoic, and barely even flinches as Dr. Lee freezes off 307 of her individual seborrheic-keratosis spots — the most she's ever removed from one patient in a single sitting.

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Case #4: Jenny
Last up is Jenny, a 32-year-old woman from Hawthorne, California, with a big, bald boil in the middle of her head. "I refer to this as my unicorn bump," Jenny says, motioning to her shiny stub. "When I was 13, it was the size of a little pimple, but it's much bigger now, about the size of a gum ball. It's smooth, hard — unfortunately, hairless — and it hurts," she continues, adding that she's tired of styling her hair in a combover.
At Jenny's consultation, Dr. Lee diagnoses the bump as a pilar cyst, which is a common scalp condition derived from a buildup of hair follicles. The trick is going to be removing the cyst without leaving Jenny with a residual bald spot, but Dr. Lee is up for the task. She slices into the skin of Jenny's head, begins gently squeezing the sides of the cut, and almost immediately, a gnocchi-sized white pus ball pops out cleanly. What's more, Dr. Lee is confident that Jenny's hair will grow back over the small scar without issue.
So, at the end of the hour, it's four successful surgeries down, with much more messy, can't-look-away action to come this season. Check back next week for a full breakdown of Dr. Pimple Popper, episode three.
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