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What to do about "dormant" papules?

zit zits pop pus red mark

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#1 sh3rpa

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:09 AM

I get hormonal acne a few times per month. However, I mostly seem to get papules and pustles, and most of the time when the papules form they stay "dormant" and never become inflamed. They are painful, big, red bumps that just don't seem to go away. A head never forms so I can't do anything to pop it. Cleansers don't seem to work, and neither does BP because the zit stays under the skin.

Any suggestions? Does anybody else get these? They go away after a week or so but leave a bump and awful brown marks even when left untouched.

Edit: photos!
Okay, so here is what one of them looks like. It is on my left cheek and it is the inflamed one, the others around it are just red marks from....months ago. (The thing in the corner is my ear.)

Attached File  IMG00018.jpg   29.46K   2192 downloads
Attached File  IMG00019.jpg   30.21K   1840 downloads

#2 Sushi891

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:20 AM

I hear you. I had one three weeks ago..and well it's still there. I duac/retin-a micro that thing every night and it doesn't seem to work. The redness/pimple is gone, but now I have a brown elevated bump that's not going away. I guess time will heal it.


If you go to your derm, you can always try a cortisone shot, but man is that thing expensive!

#3 willow569

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 02:27 PM

These sound more like nodules to me than papules. You might try going to a derm who does cosmetic surgeries and see if the spots can be extracted. Sometimes the core of the pimple is so deep under the skin, that the spot just won't heal all the way. I have only ever had one of these - a pea-sized lump that was way under the skin on my jawline. It just stayed dormant on my jawline for a few months. I had it extracted by a cosmetic surgeon and it went away and hasn't come back.

#4 willow569

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 04:09 PM

QUOTE (duchamp @ May 26 2008, 01:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How big are these things for you? Might not be so serious that you need an extraction if they aren't that huge. I get very, very similar pimples (which aren't huge, definitely less than 5 mm), and don't know if they're hormonal - but they take ages to go away, seldom respond to topical treatments, and leave behind brown marks when they heal. It's gross. I'm sorry I don't have any more practical advice (I can't use BP and tea tree oil doesn't do much), but I'm bumping to see if anyone has something constructive to say.


Size doesn't matter when it comes to extractions. People often get small whiteheads and blackheads extracted when they get facials. The reason to get a long-standing deep spot extracted is because it will heal up better if you can get the "core" or the "seed" of the pimple out. Often the core of these spots is very tiny, but as long as it remains in the pore, the spot won't totally heal or it may flare up over and over again. The spot I had on my jawline wasn't that big, but it just wouldn't come to the surface or go away. It was too deep under the skin for my esthetician to get at, so I ended up going to the dermatologist who was able to apply a local anesthetic so he could go deeper under the skin to extract the core. I have no mark or scar at all where the spot was either.

#5 sh3rpa

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 08:09 PM

QUOTE (willow569 @ May 26 2008, 02:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
These sound more like nodules to me than papules. You might try going to a derm who does cosmetic surgeries and see if the spots can be extracted. Sometimes the core of the pimple is so deep under the skin, that the spot just won't heal all the way. I have only ever had one of these - a pea-sized lump that was way under the skin on my jawline. It just stayed dormant on my jawline for a few months. I had it extracted by a cosmetic surgeon and it went away and hasn't come back.


Hm, this could be more serious than I thought.

The thing is, I don't get "regular" acne--I rarely get whiteheads and I never have had a blackhead. But I get about 1-3 of these weird papules/cysts/nodules spots a month. Mine are usually around a uniform 5mm. I could never figure out if it was a papule or a cyst or whatever. It sucks because my skin is usually decent but I'll have a huge single zit that is incredibly noticeable.

Now that I have figured out what they are, any suggestions on prevention/treatment?

Also, since I get these pretty frequently, it'd be pretty expensive to go to a derm every month to get them extracted..

#6 willow569

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:31 PM

QUOTE (sh3rpa @ May 26 2008, 07:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (willow569 @ May 26 2008, 02:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
These sound more like nodules to me than papules. You might try going to a derm who does cosmetic surgeries and see if the spots can be extracted. Sometimes the core of the pimple is so deep under the skin, that the spot just won't heal all the way. I have only ever had one of these - a pea-sized lump that was way under the skin on my jawline. It just stayed dormant on my jawline for a few months. I had it extracted by a cosmetic surgeon and it went away and hasn't come back.


Hm, this could be more serious than I thought.

The thing is, I don't get "regular" acne--I rarely get whiteheads and I never have had a blackhead. But I get about 1-3 of these weird papules/cysts/nodules spots a month. Mine are usually around a uniform 5mm. I could never figure out if it was a papule or a cyst or whatever. It sucks because my skin is usually decent but I'll have a huge single zit that is incredibly noticeable.

Now that I have figured out what they are, any suggestions on prevention/treatment?

Also, since I get these pretty frequently, it'd be pretty expensive to go to a derm every month to get them extracted..


From the pic you posted it doesn't look like a nodule. It looks like its right at the surface of your skin. How long have you had it? Nodules are ususally deeper under the skin. That looks more like a pustule to me. You said you get these frequently? How long do they generally last?

If you don't think extractions are an option for you, then you might try a couple things. Both ice or heat can help in different ways. Ice can help reduce redness and swelling of a pimple - you can ice it 2-3 times a day for 5 min or so each time. A warm compress (you can add salt to this too) may help bring it to a head. Apply a cotton ball or washcloth that is soaked in very warm water to the pimple until the cloth cools off, then dip it back in the water and repeat. This method works for some people to bring spots to a head quicker. Just be warned that it might make the spot redder at first, so don't do it right before you are going out.

#7 girlhunter

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:40 PM

On the second pic, I can see some pus xD. Just pop it out and apply some BP. If its hormonal acne, and you know when you get it (maybe in your period i suppose?) then apply BP or AHA to stop the breakout in its track, when that time approches. When you feel your skin greasy/oily, wash it, and you won't get these anymore. It's better to try to prevent as much as possible so you don't have to run the risk of the marks acne can leave, although AHA is good for those, so thats what I recommend.

#8 richmond

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 09:01 PM

how is your cysts now? or anyone that has experienced this?

i wonder if these dormant things go down by themselves? i have already tried squeezing them out.