Dr. Pimple Popper removed 307 'barnacles of aging' from a woman with seriously a impressive pain tolerance

  • Dr. Pimple Popper” — the TLC show starring dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee — has returned for a second season.
  • The second episode featured a woman with hundreds of seborrheic keratoses, common skin growths that are sometimes called “barnacles of aging.”
  • Lee removed the growths with a freezing procedure known to be deeply painful.
  • The patient, Pat, withstood the removal of more than 300 spots — something Lee said she’d never seen in her career.

After a months-long hiatus, Dr. Pimple Popper is finally back on TV. The beloved YouTuber and dermatologist (real name: Dr. Sandra Lee) returned to TLC for the second season of her TV series, also titled “Dr. Pimple Popper.”

The season’s second episode, which aired Thursday night, showcased one woman with extraordinary tolerance for pain during a procedure to remove common skin growths.

Here’s a closer look at her case.

Pat sought Dr. Lee’s help for “rapidly spreading moles”

A close-up of Pat’s skin.

In an interview segment, Pat, 66, said she was seeking Lee’s expert opinion on what seemed to be “rapidly growing moles.”

The dark brown spots first started appearing when Pat was in her mid-20s, but later spread across her neck, temples, chest, and abdomen. They also itched, stung, and got caught on her clothes.

“During the three last years, they’ve spread very rapidly, and that’s a concern for me,” Pat said. “My dad who passed away, he had skin cancer, so always at the back of my mind is the thought of skin cancer. I’d just like to know what is causing these moles.”

But the moles were actually growths known as seborrheic keratoses

Pat sitting in an exam room at Lee’s office.

In the exam room, Lee told Pat that her “moles” weren’t really moles at all. They were a type of growth called sebhorreic keratoses (singular: seborrheic keratosis).

These common spots may seem like warts or skin cancer, but they’re completely harmless, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). It’s still not clear why they occur, but seborrheic keratoses seem to run in families. And because most people get them when they’re middle-aged or older, they’re sometimes referred to as “barnacles of aging,” according to the AAD.

Most people develop many seborrheic keratoses, rather than just one. Pat happened to have hundreds.

“Pat has so many of these seborrheic keratoses, it’s almost as if she has more of them than she has regular skin,” Lee said.

Read more: The best pimple-popping videos of 2018, from a 50-year-old blackhead to a cottage-cheese leg cyst

Lee then offered to remove some of Pat’s keratoses using cryotherapy. In this procedure, a dermatologist applies extremely cold liquid nitrogen to a seborrheic keratosis, and later, the growth falls off. Though it’s possible for new ones to grow elsewhere on the body, removed keratoses typically don’t come back, according to the AAD.

The only catch? It’s famously painful.

“Liquid nitrogen treatment can be pretty painful,” Lee said. “It is so cold that it burns. I know, myself, I could probably only tolerate three or four [sebhorreic keraotses] removed at one time … The number of these that I can remove is very dependent on her pain threshold.”

Pat withstood the pain as Lee removed 307 spots

Lee used liquid nitrogen to treat Pat’s seborrheic keratoses.

As the procedure began, Lee told Pat she should “cry uncle” if she needed a break.

But the pain of cryotherapy was no match for Pat’s pain threshold. Her face hardly flinched as Lee went through canister after canister of liquid nitrogen, freezing off a staggering total of 307 seborrheic keratoses.

“In my whole career, I’ve never had anybody withstand me treating more than 40 or 50 of these seborrheic keratoses,” Lee said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a patient with the pain tolerance that Pat has. A lot of patients can’t tolerate this procedure.”

Liquid nitrogen treatment is painful.

In an interview segment filmed after the procedure, Pat said that mental tactics helped her persevere.

“I was practicing relaxing and I did the mind over matter thing,” she said. “I was comparing that pain to other pain that I’ve experienced. I had migraines until I was in my 50s. So that’s how I was able to get through.”

And the pain was likely worth it: Lee explained that, after a healing period, Pat’s once-bumpy, itchy skin would finally smooth out.

“These areas will darken and kind of scale up, maybe even blister,” she said. “They peel off over the next couple weeks, and then the skin is going to look gorgeous and nice and smooth and clear.”

Catch a sneak peek of the complete second season (including a glimpse of Pat’s procedure at the 25-second mark) below. You can also watch all episodes of “Dr. Pimple Popper” on TLC’s website or the TLCGo app (available for Apple and Android).

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