Open Thread: Is Pimple Popping Gross?

Is pimple popping gross?

It seems unrealistic to assume that you don’t do it. Unless, you know, you have a live-in facialist (so fancy!) who handles the happenings of your pores, so maybe this question is marketed inappropriately. What we’re wondering, really, is whether taking a sort of curious pleasure in watching a pimple get popped is gross.

I, for one, know that in spite of how frequently I am told to exfoliate my bikini line to avoid ingrown hair growth, I take great pleasure in popping those ingrowns and then pulling them out, one by one (often while watching Law & Order). Other kinds of pimples, though? Namely the extremely pus-y ones? I don’t know. It is clearly a moot point that maintains two divisive teams: those who love it (there are literal websites and reddit forums dedicated to the art of pimple popping) and those who become queasy at the thought of it. From between the walls of Man Repeller’s HQ, here’s the range of reaction to the underworld of fanatic pimple popping:

“I am mixed on it — I love doing it to myself/my sister but can’t watch those videos.” – Yvonne Dunlevie

“Yeah, can’t watch the videos, but have no problem doing it to myself.” – Emily Zirmis

“I am Team Hate. I do it to myself out of necessity but wash my hands 10 times after. Videos and any involvement from other people are a hard no. Strangely, though, I don’t mind the concept of a facialist performing extractions.” – Harling Ross

Ingrown hair videos are like…so bad they’re good. So good they’re bad.” – Elizabeth Tamkin

“Dr. Pimple Popper is my late-at-night soothing thing sometimes.” – Krista Lewis 

“Not only can I not watch these videos, I feel squeamish when I know someone else is watching them. AND IF SOMEONE EVER ASKED ME TO DO IT TO THEM I WOULD THROW A PORK CHOP AT THEM, I mean her — sorry Mary Norris.” – Amelia Diamond

Hari Nef says plural pronouns are grammatically correct and that is all I have to add to this conversation.” – Kate Barnett

Your turn — observational pimple popping: in it to win it or kill me now?

Gold cuffs by Arme De L’Amour; photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.


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  • Quinn Halman

    It is important to have a friend that will pop your back pimples. However, I will not be that friend.

    • I feel some sort of compulsion to do that for my boyfriend. He’s still surprised that it doesn’t gross me out. (ps, I don’t like hugging let alone touching 99.99% of people.)

      I’ve since realized that one of my earliest memories and probably my first exposure to human relationships is watching my parents pick at each other’s backs. I guess we’re all monkeys deep down after all.

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  • maddie hulting

    tbh id rather die than watch those videos

    • Amelia Diamond


    • Allie Fasanella


  • Shevaun

    the idea of those videos make me want to barf.

    but, my fiance and I take extreme glee in informing each other our blackhead/ingrown findings. like, he’ll come out of the bathroom and be like ‘GUESS WHAT I FOUND IN MY ARMPIT’ and I’m like “congrats bb”. then I inform him when I also find a satisfying one somewhere.

    ah, love.

  • Andrea M

    I have never watched those videos. I once saw a picture of something that looked like a deep-fried brain that had been served at a KFC and threw up. Imagine what pimple-popping videos would do to me. However, I love to pop my own pimples, my boyfriend’s pimples (once they become exes I wouldn’t do it though, it automatically becomes disgusting), and close family members’.

  • Janet

    Is pimple popping gross — No! but talking about it or watching it certainly is!

  • ilpasserotto

    The moment that makes me barf would definitely be when the puss ends up on the mirror I’m using. So doing it to someone else, close or not, is definitely a no for me. Wouldn’t want to end up as a human puss shield.

  • Ramona H

    I came across one of these videos on my instagram feed and have been scared to scroll down ever since… oh god I’m queasy just typing this out

  • I bite the bullet and do it myself…I can’t watch it tho!!

  • I don’t do it. I’m grossed out by touching and popping them. I use the hot water method to get rid of whiteheads. I just hold a cloth soaked in hot water and place it on top of the spot. After a couple of times, it comes out. Then put an antibacterial ointment on top to avoid it getting worse.

    I don’t think I could handle watching those videos! No matter how good my gag reflex can be.

  • Allie Fasanella

    i have NEVER popped a pimple in my life.

    • BK

      You are the hero this website needs but doesn’t deserve

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      you were apparently blessed with skin like Snow White!

      • Allie Fasanella

        i was not! i get some nasty ass whiteheads here and there but i just can’t bring myself to pop them. so i just leave them there and they just look gross lol

  • Debbie

    If you popit with those blackhead gloves you’ll be fine, then put some polysporin on top

  • Džizs blidink krajst.

    err, sorry, that was NO in a foreign language.

  • l:ly


  • Michelle Anderson


  • kristina

    no to the vids. i rarely pop the ones on my face because i have some minor scarring and dont want to add to it. the worst thing is when someone comes to me with “wow you should pop that!”

  • starryhye

    DIY yes. Videos, hell no.

  • I have some OCD obsession with having smooth skin, and popping pimples makes for some seriously not smooth skin, yet I persist.

    For some reason though, those videos make me gag. I guess it’s only the splooge from me and those I love I can handle. Like peeling sunburn!!

  • Jamie Leland

    I’m with Krista. I LOVE Dr. Pimple Popper. My favorites are blackhead extractions and cyst removals that require a scalpel and forceps.

  • BK

    I used to be fine with those videos, but something in me switched and they make me dry heave slightly now and i DONT KNOW what changed

  • elpug

    Haaaaaaate watching it. Love doing it to myself, especially black heads. I do it for my boyfriend on his back occasionally and gag a little to myself but would prefer that to seeing the bout-to-burst pimple. I am gagging now thinking about it.

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  • Madame Elue

    I don’t want anyone touching my face (ew dirty) but myself, so there is no way in hell that I would have my sister let alone my closest relative ir friend pop a pimple .. in my face.

    and there is noooooo way imma do that for you. unless it’s on your back… and you’re in pain and i get to wear gloves and scream out of fear.

  • I love those videos! They’re oddly satisfying and cleansing to watch for me! I’ve been late for dates because I’ve watched too many dr. pimple popper videos

  • rebeccadoomsmcmurdy

    I get kind of sick just thinking about watching a video like that, but I MUST pop them. I’ll even pick my husband and my brother… In the deep recesses of my mind it’s as if *not* popping their zits is like not telling them they have a giant piece of food in their teeth.

  • pterridactyl

    I work with a girl who pops her zits in the work bathrooms. Literally makes me feel equal parts revolted and angry. At home is fine, but in a public space? HELL NO!

  • mr. sa

    i pop my own because i have a bit of compulsiveness w removing blemishes from my person (yes i am literally covered in scars thanks for asking). but the videos gross me the hell out. and one time a close friend of mine asked me to pop one of her zits and i had to genuinely think about if i still wanted her in my life.

  • Yakshi Malhotra

    I can’t stand pus-y pimples. That is so gross to pop and the lovely scars they leave behind makes it all the more reason to stay away. However, I do love the ingrown hair popping and black heads. Now that doesn’t make me feel to gross knowing that there are other people who like the same. But the pus-y pimples and the videos -Gross!!