If you enjoy watching Youtube videos of pimples being popped, cysts burst or blackheads being removed, you are not alone. Very far from alone; there are well over a billion subscribers to such channels; normal people like you and me, who really enjoy the sight of someone else’s unsightliness being removed. So why is watching blackhead removal so satisfying?
If it is your own blackheads being removed then this would be easy to understand; who wouldn’t enjoy the fact that their skin was smooth, clear and blemish free? But what about watching other people’s pimples being popped, what is it about this slightly gross spectacle that fascinates people so? Well, there is an answer – and no, it’s not just that you are disgusting!
There is an evolutionary aspect to the interest in watching blackheads and other spots being removed. As primates living in the wild, humans would have been prone to all sorts of parasites, insect bites and other things that cause bumps in the skin.
Removing these parasites was part of our bonding, as well as being essential for maintaining good health – have you ever seen a group of chimps grooming and picking the fleas off one another?
Our ancestors would have done the same, so there is almost certainly a deep, instinctual part of us that still remembers this behaviour. The removal of ticks, parasites and other bugs would have helped us to stay healthy, as well as allowing us to spend quality time together.
Feel good factor
Another factor involved in why is watching blackhead removal so satisfying, is that popping our own pimples gives us a little hit of Dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter. You get the build up to the popping, a little apprehension or fear, followed by the release of the happy chemical and a sense of relief.
That’s why squeezing your own face can be so much fun, but is it the same when watching videos of pimples popping or blackheads sliding out? Well yes, it is.
Apart from the fact that you are watching the deed rather than performing it yourself, the feelings remain the same (apart from the absence of pain if you are not actually squeezing your own face!)
Many people refer to their “popaholism” as a relaxing thing, something that can help them unwind after a long day, and some people even use popping videos to help them get to sleep at night.
There is, of course, the other side to this, which is that blackhead removal, pimple popping and general spot picking is absolutely disgusting. There’s no doubt about that; even the millions of people who subscribe to “Dr Pimple Popper” on Youtube will agree that there is a definite gross factor to these bizarrely satisfying clips.
This may be a part of the attraction to watching pimple popping videos – disgust is a very important human evolutionary tool. Being squeamish helped our ancestors from touching or eating something that might have potentially harmed them, thus helping them survive for longer.
Disgust in today’s society is less of a survival instinct and more of a fun thing to dip in and out of – you could liken blackhead removal videos to a roller coaster. It feels dangerous, but you are actually pretty safe, and you can indulge in the thrill of imagining that you are in danger, while you are actually not.
Some people report ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), which is a pleasant tingly feeling as a response to certain sights, sounds or smells. This has been dubbed an “orgasm of the brain” so it is easy to understand why some people like blackhead removal videos, even if you yourself do not, and can’t understand the appeal. What we like or don’t like is not something that we control, neither is it anything to be ashamed of.
What if you don’t like Blackhead removal videos?
Of course, not everyone is a fan of watching popping videos! There are some for whom the disgust outweighs the enjoyment, and that’s fine. You can stick to squeezing your own spots, and never have to look at others having theirs removed. 🙂
Either view is completely fine and totally normal, so if you are one of those people who really loves a good popping video, don’t worry. Millions of other people share your fascination, and you can find an enormous wealth of videos online that will help cure your craving.
If you hate watching things pop and cringe at the thought of watching blackhead removal then don’t worry, this is also completely normal!
Watching videos on blackhead removal may or may not be your thing, but it also has one potential surprising medical benefit. Sufferers of Dermatillomania, also known as the skin picking disorder, compulsively pick at their own skin, causing damage.
Some dermatologists believe that watching pimple picking and spot popping videos can help relieve the condition, as the sufferer will be experiencing the skin picking vicariously and may not feel the need to pick at their own skin.
Whether you are in the “Eeeww, no!” or the “Oooh yes!” camp when it comes to watching blackhead removal and other spot picking videos, you are completely normal.
Why is watching blackhead removal so satisfying? It may be evolutionary, it may be for that little hit of Dopamine – or it may simply be because humans actually quite like disgusting things. So, you can just go ahead, buy the best blackhead remover on the UK market, and start shooting a new video. 🙂