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Why Does Pimple Popping Feel So Satisfying?

The Emotional Impact of Pimple Popping

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A cropped image of a woman squeezing a pimple
A cropped image of a woman squeezing a pimple

Call pimple popping disgusting, queer, bizarre. It does not matter, people love it and followers are growing by leaps and bounds.

It’s hard to understand the appeal of these videos showing rock-hard blackheads, pus shooting out to oozing cysts.

From the expert’s point of view people watching someone else attack on their acne on video might just activate the same feeling of control and fascination.

According to Marc LaFrance, an associate professor of sociology at Concordia University, “acne can be very frustrating, and popping can feel empowering. It allows for momentary and fleeting experience of having some control over a phenomenon that you didn’t choose…”

Why people pop their pimples?

Different strokes for different, people pop their pimples for a myriad of reasons but they share a common compulsion for doing so, i.e. they want their facial skin to look and feel smooth.

Once you pop your own pimples, the brain discharges dopamine, the feel-happy neurotransmitter. Before the act, the popper feels tense or excited and a liberating sensation after. Basically, you have a mixed feeling of physical pressure when popping a pimple and a mental sense of relief too. The mind and body like popping a pimple even if you should not.

Smooth skin is everyone’s dream and an unwanted patch or bumps on the skin’s face is a nightmare to many that must be removed. You relate popping the pimple as the answer to your wish by doing so it will give you the sense of relief and satisfaction that you did something right.

It could be that you are stressed out about the different aspects of your life, things are not working the way you want. Instead of dealing with the problem, you resort to pimple popping as a way out or a coping mechanism for temporary relief.

During the day someone bullied you but you cannot fight back that makes you feel helpless because the bully is bigger than you or he’s the boss. So, when you get home you vent your ire on yourself. You bully back by picking on your own skin so you can feel some control over the unwanted behavior of others.

Others, equate the skin as a picture of their personality. Pimples are an indication that they are a failure and the look tarnish their personality. They shy away from people thinking that they are ridiculed. And by popping, they cleanse themselves of the unwanted growth they are free from the watchful eyes of cynics.

Popularity of the pimple popping on TV and internet

Sandra Lee a cosmetic and dermatologist also known as “Dr. Pimple Popper” trailblazed the pimple popping on the boob tube and the internet. Lee gained a whopping number of followers on social media – 4 million on YouTube, 2 million on Facebook, 2.8 million on Instagram, and 91,000 on Twitter.

Her initial broadcast was an Instagram page as “A little window into my world as a dermatologist” which did not attract attention until she posted a video of a blackhead extraction. People went whacky, it was done again with the same result.

Now she has a show on TLC titled the same name “Dr. Pimple Popper” she delved deeper into her patient’s lives and the personal procedures she performs on them. The show has two episodes and drew over 2.4 million viewers showing the condition of patients and the removal of growths.

The videos typically show ordinary people doing their regular routine with no make-up or script looking just the way they are in real life. They are in their backyard, garage, or living room with dirty fingers, people dogs barking, and people screaming when pimples are popped without anesthetic.

Similar videos were recorded but in a safe and sterile environment showing more extractions and surgeries.

Should we pop pimples?

I don’t want to be the bringer of bad news, but we should not pop pimples.

The upside I can think of is the savings from the treatment of a dermatologist.

A DIY popping of pimples can backfire – Big time. Squeezing pimples out of their socket look simple but actually, it’s not. There are unwanted side-effects when you pop it wrongly, like:

  • Lasting acne scars
  • More pronounced acne
  • Excruciating acne pain
  • An infection

You increase the risk of inflammation if the contents inside the pimple is pushed deeper into the skin.

Trust your dermatologist

These are professionals backed by years of experience and education and use state-of-the-art techniques and equipment for a safe and effective pimple treatment

When acne treatment fails to clear the skin of pimples and blackheads, acne extraction is performed by the dermatologist. It is rarely an option because it takes time and pricey, but a safe way to rid of unwanted growths.

Another procedure is called incision and drainage use to eliminate large pimple or a painful acne, nodule. A sterile needle or surgical blade is used to open the blemish to remove what’s inside.

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