I have never been one to appreciate pimple-popping videos, in part because they remind me of the horrors of pubescence, but also because I think they are gross. But some people find both the act of pimple-popping and watching videos by professional pimple-poppers to be soothing, and while that fascination is beyond my comprehension, it's popular enough that someone decided to make a novelty toy that simulates pimple-popping for the fans.
The "Pop it Pal," as this innovation is so lovingly dubbed, is basically a slab of fake skin (comes in brown or beige) that you can fill with yellow "pus" and pop at will. The toy was created by husband-and-wife duo Billy and Summer Pierce, who, according to the Pop it Pal's website, are self-described pimple-popping video addicts.
"We love that disgusting little habit nobody likes to talk about," they write, mollifying fellow poppers. "Don't worry. You've found your safe haven here in our little spot in the great big Digiworld."
The Pierces thought it would be cool to gift pimple-popping enthusiasts with yet another tool to explore their pastime, hence the toy. Apparently, it's been quite a hit. "Our three kids love it, our parents love it, and apparently, now, people around the world are raving about it," the Pierces write.
Here it is in action:
It's hard to grasp exactly what's so satisfying about pimple-popping when you're in the camp that's repulsed by the practice. But according to neuroscientist and assistant professor Heather Berlin, Ph.D., who spoke to Refinery29, it forces your brain to release dopamine, the feel-good chemical, aiding in the sense of satisfaction. Another reason people love popping their pimples is that it rids them of a bothersome blemish, providing them with a sense of release. A bulbous, pus-filled pimple is as painful as it is unsightly, after all, and popping it relieves you of both counts.
But popping your pimples can cause scarring, infections, and other unpleasantness, hence why it's far better for folks to watch other people get their acne lanced — preferably by a professional, like Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper — than screw up their skin on their own. The Pierces' toy provides people with an even more hands-on approach to pimple-popping, so you get to physically feel the fun of squeezing out pus (I'm sorry!) while keeping your actual appendages off your face.
Per Pop it Pal's Facebook page, the reviews are... surprisingly good. One fan called it a "great stress reliever," while another recommended it to "anyone addicted to picking." Another said their daughter called it "the next fidget spinner," which is... disturbing, but everyone's got their own thing, I guess.
The fact is, everybody's got their own preferred form of stress relief. When I was in the third grade, I discovered that I liked to stick pushpins in the wooden desks at school and dig out the pulp. I can't explain why I found that so satisfying, but the thrill of finding a solid chunk of sawdust inside a previously undiscovered knothole made learning long division bearable. Then again, when my teacher found me digging pins into school property, she accused me of vandalism and sent me to the principal's office. School officials were not swayed by my, "But school is boring and math is bad and I like this!" defense.
So, pimple-poppers, I hear you, even if I can't understand you. But the Pierces are one of you, and for a mere $19.99 (plus $5.99 for pus refills), you can relive the pleasure of pimple-popping over and over again, without any of the shame, stigma, or recurring acne scars. We truly live in the greatest era the world has ever known.