Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper board certified dermatologist

4 Questions Dermatologists Always Get Asked

Why am I still getting acne? How come pimples take so long to heal? How do I get smoother body skin? What are the best well aging ingredients? Here, Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) answers these questions that dermatologists get asked all the time — and offers up her best skincare suggestions.


4 minute read

We’ve all got skin — which means we’ve all got skin concerns. Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own private dermatologist on call, ready whenever a pimple pops up, or when we’re standing — overwhelmed — in the middle of the skincare aisle?

We’ve got the next-best thing: answers to some of the most common questions dermatologists get asked, courtesy of Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper. She also shares her favorite ingredients (and product recommendations) for tackling a handful of typical skin issues.

#1 Why am I still breaking out?

If you experienced acne as a teenager, chances are you took comfort in the idea that it was just a temporary phase. Surprise: for many adults, acne is back — and more persistent than ever. We’ve talked about the differences between teenage and adult acne before, but here’s a summary of what’s going on:

In adult women, acne is commonly hormonal: either recurring based on the menstrual cycle, or appearing as estrogen levels drop surrounding menopause. According to Dr. Lee, the best way to manage any type of adult acne is to start with a consistent skincare regimen, and spot treat when pimples strike.

Dr. Lee's top picks:

SLMD Acne System combines these effective ingredients into an easy-to-use 3-step program that also includes a moisturizer to keep skin balanced. If you don’t see results after about 12 weeks, check in with your dermatologist for an evaluation.

#2 Why does it take so long for my pimples to heal?

This one has to do with the life cycle of a pimple — and whether or not you pick it. In the early stages, pimples fly under the radar, with follicles slowly filling up with dead skin and sebum. We don’t notice blackheads and whiteheads until they’re visible, though sometimes we feel tenderness or itching for deeper, inflammatory acne.

If left undisturbed, a pimple will typically heal on its own in about a week to ten days. However, depending on your unique skin, it may leave behind a darker mark, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This can linger for awhile — especially when you’re older, since cell turnover is slower.

If you pick at, squeeze, or pop your pimples, says Dr. Lee, you can end up with bigger problems: infection, more pimples from bacterial spread, greater irritation/redness/swelling, and scarring. Your best bet is to spot treat (try clear patches like SLMD Salicylic Acid Pimple Patches) and keep your fingers far away.

Dr. Lee's top picks:

    #3 How do I get smoother body skin?

    While body acne is quite common if you’re prone to breakouts above-the-neck, other types of body bumps and chronic rough patches can also be challenging to manage. Some of the most common causes include:

    • Inflammatory disorders. Chronic conditions like eczema and psoriasis can sometimes be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter skincare. Talk to your dermatologist if your condition persists — there are prescription options available.
    • Keratosis pilaris (KP). Also known as “goosebump” or “chicken” skin, these rough bumps are caused by keratin buildup.
    • Ingrown hairs. Occur when hair turns inward and begins growing back underneath the skin’s outer layers.

    Dr. Lee's top picks:

    #4 What skincare ingredients are essential for well aging?

    With so many new and trendy well aging products on store shelves, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But according to Dr. Lee, there are just a handful of dermatological ingredients that have been clinically shown to reduce the signs of premature aging.

    Dr. Lee's top picks:

    Dr Sandra Lee

    Dr. Lee's Last Word

    Part of why I love being a dermatologist is being able to help people navigate their healthy skin journey. Though I get asked many of the same questions over and over again, I never get tired of it because it’s exciting when people want to learn more. I founded SLMD Skincare to tackle some of those common concerns — because I believe everyone deserves access to dermatological quality skin care.


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