Spot popping is a very strange, and often guilty, pleasure. But why is it so damn satisfying?
For some people the itch can be satisfied by watching stomach churning videos of other people having their zits removed, there are even YouTube channels devoted to the grim fascination.
Dr. Sandra Lee argues the satisfaction derives from a ‘cerebral orgasm’, and this is perhaps not far from the truth.
Certified psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner, Nicole Karcinski, told Racked that the pleasurable effect comes from the release of a “feel-good hormone.”
Releasing dopamine is what is truly the neurobiological basis of habit.
We do it, we feel good.
However, in extreme cases, the reason for wantonly poking, prodding, and tearing at your own skin can be the result of obsessive compulsive tendencies.
According to Medical Daily, ‘dermatillomania’ could be a root cause.
Dermatillomania, also known as skin picking disorder, is a mental condition where individuals will repetitively pick at their own skin to the point of causing damage. It’s a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
So what do you do if the guilty pleasure evolves into unhealthy obsession?
Well, Karcinski reckons cognitive behavioral therapy and medication can help, but Maren Wagner told Racked to try using silly putty.
You can move it, you can make popping noises, you can rip it. It’s pretty satisfying.
It won’t have the same effect as dopamine coursing through your veins initially, but it will at least save you from scarring your skin.