Move along all you cute kittens and snuggly little puppies, the Internet has something more satisfying to offer. In this crazy age of juice cleanses and detox diets that make you question the basic rules of nutrition, there is very little left that one could experiment with to see instant results. Instantaneous results and satisfaction, just like popping a zit. The image of you standing in front of a mirror, tweezers in hand, eyes squinting over a premature zit located in a devastatingly tragic spot (like the tip of your nose), is something far from pleasant. Now imagine the euphoric pleasure you derive from successfully popping it and from the controlled self-harm that you just carried out. There is something obsessive compulsive about it that deep down you want to do it again. Just like watching H-Bomb explosions or time-lapse videos of beautiful, but poisonous mushrooms growing, there is something icky and gross, but intensely satisfying in watching a giant zit being popped.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus famously played a teenage girl with a giant zit on her prom night in a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Now, if you were anybody like me, you would want to jump in through your TV screen and help that poor girl with her situation. Although the sketch did not end well for poor Julia, YouTube now has videos which could be defined as “fairytale endings” for your “zitty nightmares”.
Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper is a board certified dermatologist in Southern California and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society for MOHS Surgery. Some kind it hard to believe that a skin cancer and cosmetic surgeon who offers comprehensive care for skin, hair and nails could rise to such internet stardom, but she did and she shot to popularity when she was first featured on Comedy Central’s internet video based show, Tosh.0.
She started off by posting small videos on her personal Instagram of her popping zits, cysts, and blackheads. She first thought that these ‘extractions out of skin’ are mundane procedures better left for aestheticians, but there were so many fans who enjoyed watching these videos even though she thought they may be too icky for audiences. Her first video features an her and an older patient, who’s blackheads are the stars and being extracted. The commenters said that every time a blackhead was popped something gooey would come out like cheese, it is so gross but you cannot look away! Comments under her YouTube videos speak volumes about the viewership. While some viewers just watch her get busy with her patients’ skin concerns to relieve stress, others like leaving funny remarks like “You, Sandra, deserve an Oscar...pure cinematography right here.” With all her videos having at least a million views to date and almost 2 million subscriptions, Dr. Lee has definitely found a niche audience and a unique way to make more money on the side.
These videos might not be everyone’s cup of tea, to say the least, but when you watch them with a group of friends, it might lead to some deep conversations exploring the human psyche. After all, with its vast variety of content, the internet has that potential to force everybody to question their taste, sometimes leading them into existential crisis. If you feel like you are not the philosophical kind, do not fret, you will find your niche. Secretly recording your friends’ reactions while they are watching the videos could prove to be priceless in its own right!