Dr. Sandra Lee, also known as Dr. Pimple Popper, made waves for promoting Bioré Pore Strips on her Instagram page. The zit zapper posted a photo of herself sporting a pore strip on her nose, and now skin-care enthusiasts are criticizing her for promoting the controversial product. Let's dig our scalpels into this cyst-uation.

Dr. Pimple Popper recently partnered with Bioré US to promote their pore strips.

"Who’s ready for some super #blackhead harvests with @bioreus pore strips?! It’s truly proof you can see right on the strip!" she wrote on an Instagram post, likening blackhead extractions to a trip to the apple orchard in the fall.

Pore strips are divisive among the skin-care community.

The Redditors of r/skinscareaddiction are nearly uniformly opposed to pore strips. Anecdotally many users suggest that pore strips cause irritation and broken capillaries, and can enlarge pores if used over time. Not cute.

Naturally, people expressed their disappointment with Dr. Lee's promotion.

"Can we talk about the fact that most of those 'blackheads' people complain about on the nose are actually sebaceous filaments? These pores strips are also damaging to the skin... this post makes me sad," wrote Instagram user @lilasaestheticsandmassage.

"Wow super disappointed (but not really surprised) you would accept money for promoting a product is known to enlarge pores and NOT remove blackheads. You’ve become a massive sellout and have lost a long time fan with your hunger for fame at the expense of quality care for your clients," wrote Instagram user @bunnymama21.

"Oh Dr Lee don’t sell out on us! In your book you say that 'blackhead nose strips...can make your nose look better temporarily' (page 75) however they eventually return and that these strips can also be harmful if used incorrectly. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Physicians like myself love you since you educate the laypeople so well about skin that I fear that misleading endorsements like this could erode your credibility," wrote Instagram user @helenawhy.

Let's briefly go over Dr. Lee's qualifications.

Dr. Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is a board-certified dermatologist. She went to medical school at the Hahnemann University School of Medicine Philadelphia, Pennslyvania, and chose dermatology as her residency specialization. According to bio page, she is also a "a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society for MOHS Surgery." 

In other words, she knows what she's talking about.

Dr. Lee responded to the controversy with medical knowledge and science.

"I’ve never changed my mind and I always stand my what I say and willingly will admit when I’m wrong," she wrote in a response a comment. "Im pretty shocked the level of hate and misunderstanding about a product like this. Essentially we ALL have pores and some of us have larger pores than others, and for most of us our pores are naturally larger or at least more apparent in particular geographical areas of the body (Like the nose). Encouraging the clearance of a blocked pore with extractions or pore strips or salicylic acid or retinol to name a few methods, does nothing but temporarily unblock the pore. This does not increase dilation of a pore nor does it increase the risk of bacterial infection. I don’t understand where this information is taken from? Sorry to incite so much anger this was not the intent of this post. It was just to show an at home option for people who hate their blackheads on their nose and want a simple way to minimize them."


Dr. Lee dropped more medical knowledge, writing that pores "dilate mainly due to age. Skin loses its elasticity and turgor over time and this is unfortunately seen as more noticeably looser and more dilated pores which many of us hate. I would postulate that pore strips would actually help to keep your pores from being as plugged with debris and oil/sebum and dead skin cells/keratinocytes and this plugging may actually have the increased opportunity to dilate your pores to a degree. I’m not telling people they must use pore strips by any means. I just think pore strips are one of the tools that ppl can use at home to help keep their skin clear if they wish. It’s an option but certainly not a necessity."

In conclusion, Dr. Lee is standing by pore strips as a tool in your blackhead-blasting arsenal.

Given Dr. Lee's extensive medical training, and the fact that she pops zits and extracts blackheads for a living, folks can choose to listen to her knowledge. Or people can avoid pore strips like the blackhead plague, based on their personal or anecdotal experience. Either way is fine! Your pores do not define you.