Here’s a repost of a book review I wrote in January 2019. It appears here as/is.
Until a couple of weeks ago, when someone mentioned the name Sandra Lee, I thought of the tall blonde chick who used to do “semi-homemade” cooking shows on the Food Network. But, just as I’ve lost touch with today’s popular music and television shows, I also missed out on Dr. Sandra Lee, dermatologist extraordinaire, popularly known as “Dr. Pimple Popper”. Sandra Lee, as I pointed out in a recent post, made a big splash on YouTube… or should I say she “busted out”… posting disgusting videos of herself removing cysts, pimples, and lipomas.
Dr. Lee became so successful that The Learning Channel (TLC) gave her a show of her very own, called Dr. Pimple Popper. She showcases patients with unsightly blemishes who visit her in her southern California practice, where she practices dermatology and does cosmetic and surgical procedures. Apparently, a lot of people make appointments with her after watching her videos on YouTube. She even had one patient come to her all the way from the Philippines.
I must admit, I binge watched everything and, as much as some of the videos turned my stomach, even enjoyed the show enough to decide to read Lee’s book, Put Your Best Face Forward: The Ultimate Guide to Skincare from Acne to Anti-Aging. Although I’m definitely not a beauty fanatic, I do find medical subjects interesting. I’m also at that age when zits are less of an issue than wrinkles and red blotches are.
On her television show, Dr. Lee is very friendly, personable, and warm. She comes across the same way in her writing, which is chatty and conversational. Her book, which was just released on December 31, 2018, consists of an impressive 285 pages of information about how to keep your skin healthy and glowing, along with some anecdotes, and a few of Lee’s thoughts on the vast array of medical professionals who now offer cosmetic procedures.
As someone who once aspired to work in healthcare, I was surprisingly interested in Lee’s comments about all of the people who are now offering services designed to make people look better. Why do they do it? Because people tend to pay out of pocket for those services and doctors can make more money. Lee writes that everyone from dentists to physicians’ assistants are getting in on the game, even if they aren’t necessarily qualified. Therefore, it’s very important to do your homework before you see someone for cosmetic procedures not covered by insurance.
Dr. Lee also has some interesting thoughts on collagen fillers and “Botox”, which is the popular name for the botulism toxin used to temporarily paralyze certain muscles in your face that makes you look older. Apparently, Botox gets a bum rap. Dr. Lee thinks it’s “amazing” and uses it herself, although she cautions against using too much of it. Also, what we think of as “Botox” has evolved from what it was even fifteen years ago. The technology is changing rapidly and now, instead of using a bovine derivative of the “toxin”, new drugs are used. But, just as we tend to think of all bandages as “Band-Aids” and all copiers as “Xerox”, people think of Botox as a catchall term for that medicine that people use to look younger.
Aside from her thoughts on choosing the right person for cosmetic procedures, Lee also offers tips on how to take care of your skin. Naturally, she is all for sunscreen and moisturizers. She writes that some products, such as eye creams, are kind of a waste of money. A good moisturizer that works for your skin will probably be fine for your eyes, too, despite what the marketing professionals try to tell you. She cautions readers to avoid smoking and to wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun, even in addition to wearing sunscreen. I also enjoyed reading her thoughts on liposuction, which many people know little about. She explains that liposuction is not for weight loss, but for contouring. Also, it’s apparently a physically demanding procedure, but she finds offering it fun and rewarding on many levels.
Although Dr. Lee does take a couple of opportunities to pitch her skincare line, SLMDskincare, she mostly keeps the product pitching to a minimum. I appreciated that, since I think it’s a huge turnoff to read a book that is basically an ad campaign. She does explain that the “golden age” of medicine has passed, and today’s healthcare environment is not like it was when her father practiced dermatology. Apparently, a lot of doctors are leaving healthcare practice, mainly because of insurance companies. I can believe it. However, it does appear to me that Dr. Lee is extraordinarily lucky, clever, and talented. Besides being a doctor, she’s also a classically trained musician and plays guitar. She’s pretty and bubbly, and that will likely get her far in our image obsessed culture. On the other hand, I must admit she also has a very pleasing personality, which makes her success less likely to inspire jealousy among the masses.
Personally, I enjoy Dr. Lee’s show because each case has a compelling story behind it. It’s gratifying to watch Dr. Lee change someone’s life just by improving their appearance. This book is like a companion piece to Dr. Pimple Popper. I bought it on Kindle, but I actually kind of wish I’d gotten a hard copy. It’s a good reference book that begs to be consulted, which is easier to do with an actual book. She includes some pictures, which are also easier to find in an actual book.
Overall, I think Put Your Best Face Forward is a good read, especially if you care about keeping your skin looking great. I would recommend it, especially to those who also like watching Dr. Pimple Popper.
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