Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) takes care of her skin

How Dr. Pimple Popper Keeps Her Skin (and Life!) Balanced

The inside scoop on how America's favorite dermatologist maintains healthy, youthful-looking skin.


3 minute read

With a busy dermatology practice, a hit TLC television show, and her thriving SLMD Skincare brand, it’s not hard to imagine that Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) knows a thing or two about stress. But given that stress shows up on your skin, we wanted to know how Dr. Lee manages to keep her life (and her skin) calm throughout the chaos. Here are her best tips — and her surprising solution when all else fails.

Rule 1: Say “no” sometimes

DPP: I definitely have a full plate when it comes to work and I also have two boys, a husband, and wonderful friends that I can’t forget about! These people are the ones who keep me sane when life feels hectic. I’d say these relationships make me the most successful. My girlfriends remind me to take time for myself and I spend quality time with my family frequently. I’ve started using the word no more, which I never used to. The first couple of years, I agreed to do any press or collaboration that came my way. I worked hard to establish myself, but now I realize that some no’s will not hurt me, and sometimes are necessary to get a better YES.

Rule 2: Give your skin some TLC

DPP: When I want to show my skin a little more love, I like to spend some extra time with my skincare routine. I’ll do a nice face mask or even apply my SLMD Salicylic Acid Cleanser on my face, and let it sit for a while, like a little at-home exfoliating face mask. Afterwards I use my all-time favorite, Hyaluronic Acid Serum. I am very aware that I have dry skin and am prone to eczema, so I’m sure to keep a bottle of moisturizing lotion in the shower (like my Glycolic Acid Body Lotion) and I’ll apply it right after I shower when my skin is still damp, and before that moisture evaporates. These things keep my skin healthy, and make me feel the most physically comfortable.

Dr. Pimple Popper's SLMD Favorites

Rule 3: Physically AND mentally prepare

DPP: When I was young I learned to play the classical guitar and performed for some pretty big crowds. It was stressful and made me pretty nervous. My guitar instructor would tell me that when you prepare for a performance, it’s important to be 110% prepared. Go through the motions, your fingering, the melody, meticulously within your mind so it’s really committed to memory, actually overcommitted to memory. When you are performing, you probably won’t do as well due to nerves, etc. — but if you prep for 110%, you’re still likely to be happy with the outcome. I remind myself of this comment often, whether I’m being interviewed on a live television show, or performing a surgery with cameras on me. I am thoughtful and prepared 110% and I’m confident and happy with my results. Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation.

Rule 4: Surround yourself with people you love

DPP: I lean into my family and my two cats a lot. My parents live very close and we will join them for dinner sometimes a few times a week. I have teenage boys, and I love that they get to grow up knowing my parents well — they learn so much from them. They were such a positive influence on me and I’m so pleased they get to make a difference in my kids’ lives. Family time like this fills me up and makes me happy! My two cats, Taquito and Dim Sum, have the same effect on me. Sometimes, I’ll go home during my lunch break to rest and play with them, even for a few minutes. They relieve my stress.

What Sandra’s BEST day looks like

DPP: Those are days that I get a good night’s sleep, exercise, I don’t overeat or over drink the night before, and probably had a great day of work with wonderful interesting patients and felt like I made a difference. I suppose this means that I have to get a good night’s sleep, and not overeat and overdrink, but of course I don’t always listen to my own advice! The way I view it is that you have to have a bad day to actually appreciate a good day, right?

What Sandra’s not so great day looks like

DPP: I lean on the love and support from my husband, my kids, and my great friends. I crawl into bed, watch trash TV, and eat potato chips. Tomorrow is a new day!


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