It tastes funny when I pop a zit.
January 2, 2005 10:51 AM   Subscribe

PhysiologyFilter: When I was a pimply teenager, I noticed an odd phenomenon that would happen every so often. It has to do with zits and salivary secretions. I hesitate to put more details here for the sake of the squeamish, so come inside for more...

What I noticed was that if I popped a particularly nasty zit, a few seconds later I'd get a sour taste in my mouth. It didn't matter where on my body the zit was (e.g. forehead, back). Does anyone have the faintest idea why this might happen?
posted by greatgefilte to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Maybe you're a very taste-oriented person? Are you able to eat stuff like fish or is the thought to strong?

I never tasted anything but I did notice that my pimples always come back in the same places, popped or not. Which is aggrevating.
posted by Napierzaza at 11:12 AM on January 2, 2005

Was it a coppery taste? that might have been adrenalin.
posted by softlord at 11:16 AM on January 2, 2005

Napierzaza: Nope, it's 100% real.

softlord: That would make sense, though I'm not quite sure what copper tastes like. Why would popping a zit cause a release of adrenalin?
posted by greatgefilte at 11:23 AM on January 2, 2005

And why would adrenaline be released into the mouth, for that matter?
posted by greatgefilte at 11:26 AM on January 2, 2005

Adrenaline surges certainly can cause a bitter or copper taste, but if the only adrenal surge you've ever had came from zit popping, I think you would have more pressing problems to ask about.

Conventional medical ideas: Acne medications, particularly Retin A, can cause a sour taste and dry mouth for some people. Or, if you were using a strong topical medication and got it on your hands while you were touching your skin, you may have got it particularly close to your mouth or nose, causing the bitter taste.

Not-so-conventional idea: According to Aryuvedic principles, if you are prone to acne, it indicates toxicity in the blood, and among other things, you're supposed to avoid sour tastes. No, I don't really know how on point that is, but I thought it was interesting that you had a taste in your mouth that a very old system of understanding the body indicates is related to acne.
posted by melissa may at 12:52 PM on January 2, 2005

Sounds like Synaesthesia (the people I know with it can taste the number 9 and know what color the sound of a bassoon is).
posted by cillit bang at 12:57 PM on January 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

Oh, everyone knows that bassoons sound like chocolate.
posted by interrobang at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

Adrenaline would be released because of the pain involved in the popping process.
posted by Sparx at 4:14 PM on January 2, 2005

Sorry, misread greatgefilte's question. While adrenaline would be released, it would likely be a mild dose and adrenaline isn't really known for its taste nor being circulated by saliva. My guess would be the pain causes excess blood pumpage which may break tiny capillaries in the back of the throat - so what you're tasting is blood. Some people get this with excessive exertion/excercise as well. My guess is you'll only get it with the painful ones - am I right?
posted by Sparx at 4:26 PM on January 2, 2005

Interesting suggestions, all. It's definitely not synesthesia, trust me, though that's one interesting syndrome to have.

Sparx -- er, maybe. What I remember is that it was only the ones where a lot of pressure was released by the popping. I can't recall if it was painful or not, but it makes sense that it would be. Good call!
posted by greatgefilte at 5:33 PM on January 2, 2005

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