My colleagues find blackhead extraction videos satisfying. I try to find out why.

Incoming puke-inducing gifs.

Abriel Tay | Sponsored | August 11, 2018, 11:04 AM

My colleagues were watching blackhead extraction videos in the office the other day. What the heck. Hard at work or hardly working?

They encircled the laptop like they were participating in some sort of cult ritual. And blackheads were the venerated.

I observed that most of these videos look the same. They feature an unseen extractor and an extremely zoomed in shot of someone’s skin to present the blackheads.

A small incision and voilà. The goo inside the pore emerges from its host in graphic glory.

My colleagues enjoy this. To one of them, the extraction elicits a fist-clenching, table-hitting kind of excitement. But of course, many others don’t enjoy it.

How can watching yellow goo squeeze its way out of a tiny pore give so much satisfaction?

First, some background. Blackheads are tiny bumps on our skin that occur when pores become clogged with oil, skin debris, and bacteria.

They are also perhaps the most guai lan waste product. The medical term for a blackhead is Comedo. Come do what? Do you? Get lost lah.

Alas, blackheads continue to plague the best of us. Their extraction also continues to captivate some of us. Is there a science to it? Do our brains release some chemical that triggers the satisfaction?

I managed to obtain interesting findings from a few colleagues who enjoy these extraction videos.

Subject A, writer and sometimes “cleanical” psychologist

Subject A took the rational approach. Deadpan, she said it was part of “normal human psyche to want to rid ourselves of dirt”. For her, the satisfaction comes from “watching the nose become cleaner with each extraction”.

Well, each extraction is unique.

Becoming stuck blackheads’ number 1 fan. Slide to see.

Not sure if the reaction or the oozing blackhead gif is creepier. Slide and decide for yourself.

Subject B, animator, animated

It was fascinating observing subject B watch blackhead extractions. As the extraction crescendoed, the animator became animated. Almost involuntarily, he clenched his fists, thumped the table, and pushed against it to slide his roller chair back, all while letting out different inflections of “ahhh!” and “ohhh!”.

When subject B calmed down, he gave an analytical assessment.

“It starts with a problem (the blackhead) and ends with it being solved. It's very satisfying when you know you will be rewarded with a solution in the span of that short video.”

The excitement of an impending reward. Slide to be rewarded.

Subject C, married with one son, senior executive

Subject C explained the joy of blackhead extractions with a hint of twinkle in his eyes. He said he finds blackhead extraction “cleansing” and that he “salivates” when watching these videos. The married man has since clarified that he does not actually drool. Rather, more saliva is produced.

Got so mouth-watering or not? Slide to see. But don’t drool. Or vomit.

The next step was to be one of them. I went on to watch these videos with the sole purpose of finding out whether they were satisfying to me. I searched “blackhead best”, “blackhead biggest” and other similar terms to get the best samples for this research.

Several blackhead extractions and half a gag reflex later, I concede.

I concede that I find them strangely satisfying. With each extraction I watched, I got less disgusted but somehow remained satisfied just the same.

Initially, I felt a palpable satisfaction from seeing the clean and clear hollows after the blackheads were removed. But as I got deeper into the research, my satisfaction morphed into something more distant.

I don’t feel so much of a vicarious satisfaction now. I don’t have to feel like I am the one getting the relief. I just enjoy watching them get extracted. Shiok lah.

Perhaps blackhead extraction is an acquired taste. Or maybe I am a psycho.

That said, I still do get slightly nauseous when I watch the better extractions. I also won’t undergo this invasive procedure for some Comedo.

Very drama. But slide and see. Really quite invasive.

Heck, I don’t even know if I have a blackhead problem.

A quick check in the mirror revealed that some of my pores do look suspiciously similar to those in the videos. So I slapped on a mask for the first time.

After washing the mask off, my face felt wonderfully fresh. I didn’t get to see any goo get ejected out of my pores though.

So when my mask was on, I tried to evoke the satisfaction by watching “Big Blackheads Extraction So Satisfying to watch”.

Not too bad.


Now that you’ve seen the nasty way to treat blackheads, here’s a much more pleasant alternative. innisfree recently launched their latest product for the Volcanic Mask line, the innisfree Super Volcanic 2X Trio.

The products contain volcanic clusters that cleanse and treat pores to keep the skin smooth and fresh. No violent eruptions of blackheads like those in extraction videos with these.

Reaction GIFs are reenactments by colleagues who may or may not be actual subjects.

Blackhead GIFs from Dr. Pimple Popper Youtube Channel.

This sponsored post in collaboration with innisfree thrust the writer into the world of blackhead extractions and beautiful skin.