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Why You May Be Hooked On Pimple-Popping Videos

So gross you can’t look away

Why You May Be Hooked On Pimple-Popping Videos Image: Pixabay

If you can’t exactly explain why you love checking out those queasy, pimple-popping videos, scientists may have just found the answer.

University of Queensland PhD candidate James Sherlock said it’s a little bit like watching a horror movie – we know it’s completely gross and but we also get a little thrill from it, the Brisbane Times reports.

“What horror movies and pimple-popping videos allow us to do is expose ourselves to stimuli that are highly arousing.

“In the case of horror movies, our brains tell us the bogeyman on screen is a threat and our body prepares to leap out of the seat and flee by flushing blood into our muscles and increasing respiration.

“In similar fashion, when we watch a surgeon expertly extract a big gooey blackhead from the nose of a patient, our disgust responses are engaged, albeit in a diluted format.

“We’re not actually in any danger, but our brain still rewards us with a little thrill.”


Mr Sherlock said there might be a connection between watching the viral videos and dermatillomania, a condition where people can’t stop picking their skin.

“In dematillomania, skin picking is reinforced by dopamine releases from the brain – because the brain thinks the patient is responding appropriately to a potential threat," he said.

“By watching experts excavate skin imperfections via our computer, we can stimulate a thrilling situation, even though in reality we might still be in our pyjamas in bed.”