Teenzone stumbled upon an Instagram account called Dr Pimple Popper. The account has made headlines due to it’s oddly and surprisingly successful account. The account depicts videos of Dr Sandra Lee- a cosmetic surgeon, dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon – basically just doing her job. The account has millions of followers and the videos have thousands of views. What’s more is that it’s not the only account available to watch, well, people popping pimples. So what’s the appeal? Why do people find it so irresistible?
It’s frankly disgusting. But, according to professionals, this is the exact reason why people find it irresistible. Disgust helps us to stay away from objects and people that are likely to make us sick. This is according Daniel Kelly, author of the book, Yuck!: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust. Kelly describes that society has devised ways to shield ourselves from common sources of disgust. These pimple popping videos provide rare and disgusting experiences that we don’t often get to see. It has been equated to the same kind of thrill people get from riding a roller coaster or bungee jumping. Nina Strohminger, author of The Hedonics of Disgust, noted that ‘negative sensations are interesting, particularly when you’re in a context where they can’t hurt you.’
According to Sandra Lee, her viewers find the videos soothing; relieving the pressure of a pimple can be oddly satisfying. Popping a pimple means immediately purging your pores of what was bothering you. Sandra’s viewers reported an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). This is a pleasure sensation experienced by some in response to certain sights, sounds and smells. The sensation of popping pimples can also be related to the feel-good hormone dopamine. Your brain basically rewards you for popping that pimple. This is why some people find it hard not to pick at their skin even though they know it is damaging the tissue and might cause scaring.
Picking at your skin is normal to a certain extent. Nicole Karcinski, a board-certified psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner explains that the DSM-5 recognized skin picking as a distinctive entity called excoriation disorder. This disorder is marked by repeated picking habits (popping pimples). Karcinski also notes that the disorder is more common in women with a possible direct link to expectations of society. Skin-picking is also generally anxiety-based.
So…you’re definitely not crazy if you enjoying picking at your face or watching videos of people popping pimples.
By: Kriszti Bottyan