Unless you've been living under a lipoma the size of a softball, you know that Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, has recently pivoted to paid video. The exquisite cyst excision surgeon still posts videos on her eponymous YouTube channel but is saving the good stuff for her subscribers. For $2.99 per month, you can bliss out into blackhead heaven.

But her popaholics are not pleased. Looking at her Instagram, it's clear that Dr. Pimple Popper's fan base is revolting against the notion that they should pay for her content, despite the work it takes to produce such videos. Let's investigate this epidermal drama.

Also, there may be some grossness in this story. You're cautioned if pops are perturbing to you.

Some of Dr. Pimple Popper's full videos are only available through her All Access subscriber, but she'll post teasers on her Instagram.

In this video, Dr. Pimple Popper gives us a few blackhead pops. It's a short 30-second clip, but the full Blackhead Bonanza video is here in the paid section of her site and is 5 minutes and 47 seconds long.

Gripes abound the comment section of her Instagram video. "Camera work has gotten horrible, and you’re wanting us to pay for this? Just no," wrote user sarahgrl3, taking issue with the camera being further away from the blackhead action. In a follow-up reply, she wrote that "It’s been getting bad for a while now, back in the day there were nice close-up shots of blackheads, and now you can only see the big stuff. If she’s going to charge people to watch the videos she at least needs good video quality."

User xxcheryl17xx2019 is unhappy about being asked to pay altogether, writing "I've been a loyal Dr. Pimple Popper fan on YouTube from the start. Now we hardly get any videos. You're also wanting us to pay for the ones you do make. I understand you want to make money, but you're already rich. Can't the TV show be enough and you still post on YouTube for your followers and fans? I feel it does us a disservice."

In another video, fans expressed frustration about the paid service, even though this video is available to watch for free.

In this teaser video for "A Cyst With A Safe Word," no one complained about the camera work (which is good, I guess, if you enjoy pus erupting from cysts). But user lulfaith_savvage asked, "Can u make your YouTube to where we don’t have to have money to watch it? Not everybody have money like that." Dr. Pimple Popper pointed out that the video can be watched for free on her site.

Not all videos are her All Access site are paid — just the ones with a lock icon.

Still, if you visit her YouTube channel, you may notice something missing.

Ads! There are no more ads on her videos. Without ads on her videos, it's likely that Dr. Pimple Popper is losing significant revenue from her channel. Some fans are undoubtedly thrilled about not having their whitehead popping experience interrupted by ads for Rocket Mortgage, but that means that Dr. Pimple Popper isn't earning anything for her videos — which, like anything, cost money to produce.

Dr. Pimple Popper explains why she made the switch to a paid video service.

"My content gets flagged...restricted...taken down," she explains. "And it's not right. It's not fair." And because her content is routinely flagged and considered "gore," YouTube has restricted ads from running on her videos. As she told Wealthsimple, ads on Dr. Pimple Popper's videos would bring in up to six fixtures worth of revenue each month. That's a lot of money that her business has lost.

The All Access is a way for her to capture the revenue (that she deserves!) that she isn't earning from YouTube. "This subscription is really to help cover the cost of everything, really," she says.

Dr. Pimple Popper's revenue streams are different than you may expect.

Dr. Pimple Popper does not charge her patients for extractions if they are going to be filmed. "They’re benign and they’re not anything that needs to be removed medically, which is why insurance won’t pay. So my patients win because they get the blackheads removed for free," she told Forbes.


She doesn't get paid for her TLC show, either.

"I'm not getting paid anything for the show, really. But I'm so fortunate to have this — that this has been offered to me — and I'm so fortunate that they're making me look good," Dr. Pimple Popper told Wealthsimple. Essentially, the TLC show is free publicity for her practice, but the biggest winner are the patients, who get treatments for free and TLC, who can tap into her popaholic fan base for her subscribers.

But she does earn money from her SLMD skin-care line, her book, as well as merch.

>>Get it here

Dr. Pimple Popper created a skin care kit that is sold exclusively at Target. The kit, which is intended to combat acne, consists of a BHA cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide lotion, a retinol serum, and a moisturizer. The entire kit retails for $49.99. 

She also sells branded merch, including her famous comedone extractor. There's also shot glasses, T-shirts, and socks printed with arms that are popping a zit on your feet. Really.

As for her book, Put Your Best Face Forward: The Ultimate Guide to Skincare from Acne to Anti-Aging, is another source of revenue. The book retails for $16.97 on Amazon in paperback and is also available in e-book and audio format.

This all boils down to (boil? Get it?) ...

... Folks don't want to pay to watch her videos. That's it. Sure, she has several other revenue sources, but fans are accustomed to watching her videos for free on YouTube. Now that they've been demonetized, her fans are itching at the thought of having to pay for pops. 

It's tough asking anyone to give you money, but when she clearly works so hard to provide popaholics with the best possible pimples, it may be worth kicking in $3/m for her videos. And for anyone who doesn't want to pay, there are still plenty of videos available for free on her All Access site.