Please, please don’t watch the video embedded in this story if you’re eating.
Or if you’re ever planning on eating again in your life.
Pimple-popping videos aren’t anything new on the internet – you can check out Dr Pimple Popper on Instagram any day of the week – but this one is particularly visceral.
Posted on Facebook in September, it’s since been viewed over 22 million times. You may not understand why that is – we don’t – but there’s no arguing with those numbers.
University of Auckland psychology lecturer Lisa Reynolds studied the disgust reaction as part of her PhD, so she knew exactly what was happening to her when she watched the video.
“I watched it through to the end and I do have quite a strong stomach, but I still had quite a reliable disgust response – I felt a bit queasy,” she says.
Disgust as an emotion is under-studied, Reynolds says, in part because of the nature of it. People aren’t drawn to study disgust because it encourages revulsion.
“Its primary purpose is to promote avoidance of potential contaminants,” Reynolds says, adding that the question is why someone would seek out that response.
“[Disgust] is an arousal response, a bit like being frightened. In the confines of a video there’s no real cost,” she says.
“You get to challenge yourself a bit and there’s a curiosity to it. If people weren’t having that unpleasant response the videos wouldn’t be popular.”
In November, dermatologist and psychiatrist Amy Weschsler told Glamour pimple videos are incredibly polarising.
“No one’s in the grey zone,” she said, adding that there’s nothing weird about enjoying them. We’re unconvinced, but sure.