Pop It! The World’s Obsession with Pimple Popping and Black Head Removal Videos

You probably never thought you’d see the day when popping pimples and removing blackheads is a trend—well, that day is here. There once was a time when having a zit was embarrassing. But it seems there’s a new generation of folks who will not only show you their pimples but pop them in front of you as well. This trend might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely a satisfying pastime for some.

What Are Pimples?

Before discussing the trend at hand, you should have a detailed understanding of what pimples and blackheads are. 

Here’s a breakdown (1).


Pimples are the result of the oil glands becoming clogged and infected, which leads to inflamed lesions that are filled with pus. The sebaceous gland creates a waxy element that helps to moisten the hair and skin. As the glands create sebum inside of the pores, new skin cells are being produced and the outside layer of skin is shedding. 

Unfortunately, the skin cells don’t always shed and they remain stuck to the sebum with results in blockage of the pores. Furthermore, pimples comes in a variety of forms. Here they are below:

  • Papules: Tiny, rounded bumps that raised off the skin and are usually pink
  • Pustules: This type of pimple is red at the base and filled with pus.
  • Nodules: These are similar to papules, but they’re bigger and usually deeply embedded in the skin.
  • Cysts: This bump is a visible lesion on the surface of the skin that are generally painful and leave scars on the skin.


Blackheads are formed due to clogged hair follicles (2). Each follicle of the skin includes a hair and a sebaceous gland that creates oil. 

The bumps are black, and they can appear on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. 

Furthermore, dead skin cells and oils gather in the opening of the follicle, which forms a bump called a comedo. When the skin covering the bump opens, exposure to the air turns it black and produces a blackhead. 

Also, there are several factors that cause blackheads, such as: creating excess oil, bacteria skin, hormonal changes, menstruation, and certain medication.

The Fascination Behind Pimple Popping And Blackhead Removal

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of pimple-popping videos on YouTube that have brought in thousands of views. Not only that, but blackhead removal is a thing too. 

For some, it’s a lot to stomach, but others love it! The most popular videos include people who have severe acne, and people are drawn in by seeing a large pimple get drained.

If you’re like most folks, you probably can’t fathom why anyone would be interested in looking at this. However, there’s a real psychology behind it. 

Apparently, watching pimples be popped triggers the nucleus accumbens, which is the reward center of the brain that receives dopamine and gives pleasure, according to Dr. Heather Berlin (3).

Not only that, but viewers like the satisfaction of solving the issue of removing pimples and blackheads. The acne starts off disgusting and full of pus, but once the extraction is done, the area is clean. That kind of result makes people feel relieved and accomplished, just by watching it.

That might seem like a weird concept but the popularity behind this craze proves just how stimulating it is.

Who Is Dr. Pimple Popper?

One of the most popular zit-bursting pros is Dr. Pimple Popper. She’s a board-certified dermatologist by the name of Sandra Lee, and she specializes in skincare (4). 

image source:  mentalfloss.com

She first gained popularity when she decided to start an Instagram profile showcasing her profession. To her surprise, she learned that there was an online subculture of pimple popping. 

Since that time, she has posted thousands of videos on YouTube and earned tons of subscribers. 

As a result of Dr. Lee’s success, she has been able to venture into other aspects of her business, like selling products. On her website, you can purchase coffee mugs, socks, shot glasses, t-shirts, and pimple extractors. 

She also created a game called Pimple Pete, which is fun and entertaining for people ages five and older. You earn points in the game by popping the pimples without bursting the Mega Zit, and whoever has the most points at the end wins the game.

All in all, the zit popping craze has tremendously helped Dr. Sandra Lee in her business. Extracting pimples and blackheads is only one method of getting rid of acne. Luckily, there are several ways to treat pimples and blackheads without puncturing the skin.

Is Popping Zits Good For Your Skin?

Although pimple popping is a trend, it’s not something everyone should do. If you don’t know how to properly extract a blackhead and pimple, popping zits can cause issues such as acne scars, painful acne, or an infection (5). These side effects can lead to severe reactions if you push elements deeper into the skin.

On the other hand, dermatologists are more skilled to do it for you. They use various techniques and extract the acne in a safe way. Dermatologists usually inject the area with a corticosteroid which helps to minimize scarring. Also, they remove large, painful cysts by performing the incision and drainage technique. The process includes using a sterilized needle or surgical blade to open a pimple.

How To Properly Extract A Pimple At Home

The reality is that you won’t always be able to make it to a dermatologist. And if that’s the case, it’s okay because there’s a way to do it safely. Here’s how (6):

  1. 1
    Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands.
  2. 2
    Sanitize your extraction tool with rubbing alcohol.
  3. 3
    At an angle, take your needle and gently puncture the top of the pimple. Be careful not to penetrate it enough to pull blood. This process shouldn’t hurt and if it does, that means you’re pressing too hard.
  4. 4
    Lastly, wrap your fingers with cotton or tissues and put your fingers on either side of the zit. Softly pull away from the pimple to drain it without having to squeeze it. By doing so, you reduce the chance of getting infected material into your skin.

Remove A Pimple Without Popping It

It’s a bit scary to pop pimples instead yourself, and if you think it’s a bad idea, stay away from it. Thankfully, there is another option available. Check out the steps below:

Apply A Warm Compress To Your Acne

If you have a large whitehead, try draining it with a warm compress first. Put the towel into the water and hold it on the pimple for a few minutes and reheat the towel as necessary. The heat from the cloth helps to loosen the pores and let them drain naturally.

However, you must make sure the bump is prepared to be drained. If the head of the pimple hasn’t surfaced, allow it some more time. Using a warm compress on a bump on a whitehead that’s not completely formed, it can make the area look more inflamed.

On the other hand, using a compress won’t work on blackheads because the core of blackheads is more difficult than the center of a pustule.

Various health conditions such as stress, PMS, and PCOS are primary causes of acne.

Use A Spot Treatment

Another good option is to use a spot treatment. If you notice a pimple coming in or you’re not in a hurry to get rid of the bump, spot treatments are best. Put a small amount of cream or gel on the affected area and let it set. Pimple skincare products can be found almost anywhere, such as beauty stores and local drug stores.

Furthermore, products that include sulfur or benzoyl peroxide works best on pustules. It’s a good idea to try out different products to see which works best for your skin.

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