What the Wellness host Ella Dove is sitting in a chair looking at a screen projecting images of her hair. It’s not a sexy Pantene commercial involving lustrous lengths and a bouncy tune. It’s her scalp…under a microscope…and there is dust. Why has this video garnered nearly two million views on YouTube? It’s the same answer to the question, “How did Dr. Pimple Popper become a cultural fascination?” or “Why are people extracting ingrown hairs on my Explore page?” On our way to the flawless, filtered perfection that we’re willing to show on Instagram, we want to know that others are struggling with accepting their skin as it is—because we often are, too.
“I think there’s a natural human attraction to things that are ugly, gory, and devastating,” says Dove, Well+Good’s former director of creative development. “We drive by a car crash and rubberneck, for example. I think gross bodily functions are the same thing, and capturing it on camera is the same psychological phenomenon. We want to see what’s gross even though we want to look away.”