From Popping to Preventing Pimples: The Story of SLMD Skincare

We’re celebrating here at SLMD: it’s been 5 years since Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) introduced her dermatological skincare to the world. To honor this major milestone, we’re taking a trip down memory lane, chronicling her journey from popping to preventing pimples — and beyond.

Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper and SLMD Acne System

3 minute read


Part one: the early years

From a young age, Sandra Lee knew she wanted to be a dermatologist — just like her father. She grew up helping out around the office, and was fascinated by the world of dermatology.

Dr. Lee graduated from Drexel University medical school, then matched into Southern Illinois University for residency. But she always knew she’d end up back in Southern California working with her father.

At the family dermatology practice in Upland, California, Dr. Lee began treating all kinds of skin concerns, from acne to psoriasis to rosacea, and much more. She also honed her cosmetic dermatology skills, working with lasers and injectables, and became an expert in mohs surgery to remove skin cancer.

Part two: Dr. Pimple Popper is born

In 2014, Dr. Lee began posting videos on YouTube to give viewers a glimpse into the world of dermatology. Things like wart removal, keloid scar repair, Botox injections — anything and everything that was going on in the office on a daily basis.

When she posted a blackhead extraction one day, Dr. Lee observed something curious: a noticeable spike in engagement. Thinking it might be a fluke, she posted another — and saw an additional increase.

After doing some investigating online, Dr. Lee discovered an entire community of extraction enthusiasts. With their help, she honed her video skills, and took on a new online moniker: Dr. Pimple Popper.

SLMD Acne System

Part three: from pimple popping to skincare products

In just two short years, Dr. Pimple Popper reached one million subscribers. Dr. Lee understood early on that social media was an incredible resource for sharing her knowledge and expertise with people who otherwise may not be able to seek out a doctor for advice.

Dr. Lee saw a true need not only for accurate information about skin health, but for skincare products that effectively treat real skin concerns. So in 2017, she introduced SLMD, launching her 3-step Acne System. A year later, she followed with the award-winning Body Acne System. By 2020, SLMD’s innovative Salicylic Acid Body Spray went viral on TikTok, selling out online.


@drpimplepopper When you need to wear your mask but it keeps giving you MASKNE! 😫#wearamask #drpimplepopper @slmdskincare ♬ original sound - Sandra Lee, MD


Part four: the new face of SLMD

As SLMD was taking off, so was the popularity of Dr. Pimple Popper: in 2018, TLC introduced a television series starring Dr. Lee that’s now 9 seasons and counting. The YouTube channel has exceeded 2 billion views.

Keeping in step with an evolving, growing community, Dr. Lee has expanded her SLMD range to address skin concerns like keratosis pilaris, hyperpigmentation, photoaging, and more.

In 2022, SLMD began debuting a brand-new look, redesigning the website to deliver an optimized, all-in-one skincare resource. Soon, SLMD fans will experience streamlined, updated packaging, as well. It’s the same effective skincare approved and recommended by Dr. Lee, with a fresh, clean face.


December 2014

Dr. Sandra Lee posts first blackhead extraction video

February 2015

“Dr. Pimple Popper” is born

March 2016

Dr. Pimple Popper reaches 1 million subscribers

January 2017

Dr. Sandra Lee launches online skincare resource, The Pretty Pimple

March 2017

SLMD Skincare launches with the Acne System

December 2017

Dr. Pimple Popper reaches 2 billion views

April 2018

SLMD Skincare tackles bacne with the Body Acne System

June 2018

Dr. Pimple Popper premieres on TLC

July 2018

SLMD unveils its solution for keratosis pilaris

August 2020

SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Spray goes viral and sells out

June 2021

SLMD launches in the United Kingdom

August 2022

New website launches with additional features and updated look

2023 and Beyond

Stay tuned for additional brand updates and exciting skincare launches!


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