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.
At long last, Dr. Pimple Popper is back — and the first episode in a new batch of never-before-seen footage will start your new year off right. The hour-long journey, which aired tonight, brings dermatologist extraordinaire Dr. Sandra Lee three incredible patients: Traci, traumatized for life after a school bully dubbed her "crater face"; Ravon, with a NSFW lump dangling between his legs; and David, who has a honking big problem. The full recap, ahead.
Case #1: Traci
In Coeur d'Alene, ID, we meet 32-year-old Traci, who has rough, cystic acne-like bumps covering her face. The skin condition first developed as a few uneven patches when Traci was a little girl, but progressed to cover her entire face while she was going through puberty. "When I hit the eighth grade I was dubbed 'crater face' by the school bully," Traci says, her eyes welling up. "Those words took root and I've never been able to get past it. I don't feel beautiful in any way, shape, or form."
Despite having a strong support system in her husband and her horses, who love her unconditionally, Traci travels to see Dr. Lee for some answers, and hopefully a fix for her condition. "When I first see Traci, I see these flesh-colored bumps on her face, but I really pay attention to the distribution of the bumps," Dr. Lee explains during Traci's consultation. "It look like trichoepithelioma, a benign condition of firm and rubbery bumps that usually present in this cluster-like distribution. It's rare because it requires both genetic and environmental gene triggers."
The surgical plan is to flatten Traci's trichoepithelioma by shaving the bumps down, which inevitably comes with the potential for scarring that could make the texture of the skin appear worse. The delicate process involves Dr. Lee taking a razor blade to Traci's face to shave off the raised texture, then using a high-frequency CO2 laser to decrease the bulkiness of the bumps and smooth them down.
As is to be expected, the immediate aftermath shows pigmentation from the laser, but with a little time and healing the new skin will come in softer and more even — a fresh new start for Traci.
Case #2: Ravon
The second case of the day brings us to Clarksville, TN, where we meet 26-year-old Ravon and the droopy mass hanging from the inside of his right leg. The growth, which Ravon initially assumed was an ingrown hair, has ballooned to the size of a tennis ball — and more than anything, it's incredibly uncomfortable, to the point where Ravon can't move without feeling it bounce around.
At the consult, Ravon shows Dr. Lee his dangling growth. "It's very unique to see a growth at this size in this area... because it gets in the way of things," Dr. Lee says. "I think it probably started as a skin tag, and now it's definitely some sort of floating lipoma, filled with fat cells." After situating Ravon so she can cut at the bump (and nothing else), Dr. Lee slices off the growth with a pair of surgical scissors and sutures it up — and Ravon walks out with one less thing attached to his lower body.
Case #3: David
The final case of the episode is rather serendipitous: 74-year-old David is a chauffeur who happens to pick up Dr. Sandra Lee while on the job. Upon getting in David's car, Dr. Lee immediately notices the large, abnormal growth hanging off the end of her driver's nose, and starts asking him about it. Since David had been meaning to see a professional, the fact that the Dr. Lee ended up in his car was definitely meant to be.
At David's official in-office consult, Dr. Lee tells him that his condition is called rhinophyma, an overgrowth of tissue on the nose. More than just a physical abnormality, David's mass is a potential health risk, as the growth is obstructing his nasal passage. In surgery, Dr. Lee numbs David's nose before slicing through the growth with a scalpel, and then re-sculpts the contour of the nose with an electric cauterizer. It's bloody, but in the end, David looks like a whole new man with his old nose back.
And that concludes the Dr. Pimple Popper premiere — be sure to tune in next week for more.
Dr. Pimple Popper airs Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on TLC.