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Why Is Watching Popping Pimples & So Satisfying?

why is watching popping pimples so satisfying
Photo: Shutterstock

Why is watching popping pimples so satisfying to some people? Why are people so obsessed with watching things that horrify and disgust them?

While it may be difficult to ignore the increase in gross-out clips being shared online, it’s also difficult not to click, watch and share them.

Welcome to the world of “popping,” where you can endlessly view videos of people extracting humongous blackheads, exploding cysts, or 20-year-old pimples.
Surprisingly, there’s actually a very good reason for our morbid curiosities. It all comes down to science.

According to Nina Strohminger, author of The Hedonics of Disgust, it has to do with the fact that seeing repulsive content like pimples being popped doesn’t put us in danger, even if it does give us a thrill and completely gross us out to the point of throwing up.
She explained the psychology behind this particular feeling to Cosmopolitan:

Rather, negative sensations are interesting, particularly when you’re in a context where they can’t hurt you. You’re probably not going to step in dog shit just for the experience, but maybe you’d click on a link to watch someone else doing it.

Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, knows this all too well. She is somewhat of a celebrity in the popping world. And guess what? The majority of her fans actually find the videos quite soothing.

As a result, Lee has grown an empire. The crazy popular dermatologist not only has her own skin-care line (SLMD is sold at Target, y’all) and a highly successful television show on TLC, but she also boasts a whopping 615,000 followers on Instagram and a casual six million subscribers on YouTube. Kim K. said it herself.

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