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Kiyanna

What's Up With My Pores/cheeks? (Pictures Included)

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Hi,

I've been struggling with acne for five years or so. I usually had inflamed pimples, but the texture of my skin between the inflamed pimples was actually really good. I switched birth control about a year and a half ago in order to combat the inflamed pimples, and it worked really well. No pimples at all. However, about three months after I developed a small, blister-shaped bump on my cheek. It was very soft, and skin coloured. Since then, these have spread across my cheeks, from my nose all the way to the lower parts. These bumps have remained, without budging, for a year and a half. I have tried 2% salicylic and salicylic peels (20%), mandelic peels, mint julep masques, retin-a, epiduo, antibiotics (my doctors aren't very good), duac, BP, needle resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and just about every cleanser I could get my hands on.

The thing is, these bumps don't come and go. I can see the exact bump I got first and trace out the pattern that they spread, although it's starting to become less easy to do so as they get swarmed by bumps in the surrounding skin.

Whenever I read about clogged pores, it talks about being able to 'squeeze out' something inside the pore. These bumps don't really look like they contain anything, and in head-on light they don't show up too much. However, in directional and natural daylight they look AWFUL. Is it possible to just have soft, congested looking pores without them being squeezable?

I came off of birth control having suspected it might be the pill about three months ago. Since then I've gotten some inflamed pimples again, but the bumps stay very much in place. I'm actually due for some hormonal tests on the 2nd (I have to wait for the 21st day of my cycle, apparently), as I've noticed some of the hairs underneath my bottom lip darkening and also some darkened hairs on my jawline and stuff. I'm wondering if I somehow developed PCOS, or if this is just a reaction to coming off of the pill. There is no history of PCOS or adult acne in my family. My brother has great skin now he's post his teenage spots, and my Mum and Dad do nothing to their skin and have great skin too. I'm hypothyroid (so is my brother) and using ERFA natural dessicated thyroid. I switched from levothyroxine after wondering if I still had acne as part of my hypo symptoms. No dice.

One Doctor suggested I might have rosacea and thickened skin/P&P, but that seems strange. I don't really have a baseline redness unless I've irritated the hell out of my skin with BP/overexfoliating, and I don't flush. I didn't think you could get rosacea bumps before you got the pink skin. I also wondered if it might be sebaceous hyperplasia due to the unresponsiveness of the bumps, but I'm only 22 so it seems a little early. Plus, the bumps are soft and individual ones haven't grown in the year or so I've had them.

I've uploaded some pictures. I really didn't want to take them as I've been camerashy ever since this started happening. I'm currently using Quinoderm face wash + Simple Oil Balancing Moisturizer, as well as Epiduo at night. If anyone has any suggestions I'd really appreciate them, as NHS Doctors aren't helping. They sit in a flatteringly lit room and keep a massive distance between me and them, as they claim they can't see anything outside of the inflamed pimples.

I've also included an old picture of my skin without makeup or anything from about a month before all these problems started, just to show that my pores weren't always this messed up. I miss having that confidence. At that point I was on Dan's Regimen, which stopped working for me when the bumps showed.

EDIT: Forehead was fine throughout this entire ordeal. It broke out in tiny grain like bumps post pill, but resolved within a month or so. Now it's fine again. My chin and jawline were fine the whole time I was on the pill, but I now get painful pimples on it. Those are probably 100% hormonal. I don't get any of the weird, soft, flesh coloured bumps on my chin or jawline, though. Those are on my cheeks alone.

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I'm starting to think it's sebaceous hyperplasia from the two years of benzoyl peroxide use and that the only way I'll see them dealt with is with spiro/yasmin or surgery. I feel pretty awful right now -- at 22, I really didn't want to see every pore on my cheeks puff up and take on a waxy look.

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Posted · This comment is awaiting approval by a moderator · Report post

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Hi, I'm sorry I can't really help much but mine look very similar and have improved after 4 days of using Benozyl Peroxide (acnecide 5%) and Doxycycline prescribed my my doc.. maybe the same would help?

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Thank you for replying! I was actually on 2.5% BP when this problem cropped up. I'd gotten clear on Dan's regimen previously so it was really weird for me. What I CAN pinpoint thinking back, actually, is that the first 'bump' (I still have it now) cropped up about a week after I switched from PanOxyl aquagel (discontinued) to Dan's BP. I'm not sure if it would have happened anyway (I swapped BCP three months previously), but it makes me wonder. In any case, I'm currently using Dan's BP to spot treat in the mornings and epiduo every two nights.

I stopped using a moisturizer recently. While it makes my skin a little dry/tight to go without, I'm at a loss for what to do otherwise. It feels like everything I put on my skin clogs it. The bumps look less pronounced when I don't apply a moisturizer, though that's probably because my pores are all dried out. I'm not flaking yet so that's good, I guess..

I currently have Cerave's moisturizing lotion on order, but it's going to take a while to get here (UK). I was thinking about buying PhysioGel Cream as well, but it's pretty damn expensive and I've not heard much about it. Otherwise, my skin's the same as it was in those pictures. More inflamed breakouts. Oh, I also ordered Cerave's hydrating cleanser.

I also recently started on Spiro. I did one week at 25mg, then increased to 50. After two days of 50, my period came five days early. Oops. I hear that's normal, so I'm just gonna ride it out. My Doctor is interested in starting me on Yasmin, too, as soon as she confirms that I'd be allowed to stay on it long term with the NHS.

So there's my update! If anyone has any Spiro or Yasmin experiences I'd be glad to hear them. I've checked just about every acne.org log that shows up for them under a google search.

Products I've tried, that I can recall. These either didn't help or contributed to the problem. I can't really tell which it is because I've had the same bumps in the same places for a year and a half(and they're spreading!) and they really don't seem to give a crap about what I do to my skin:

100% hyaluronic acid. Two different brands. Seemed to make the soft, blister-shaped bumps more pronounced.

Simple oil balancing moisturizer. I was using this while I was clear for a couple of months so I didn't eliminate it for a while, but it could have just taken a while to mess up my skin, I guess. That or my skin has changed so much that it's no longer a good thing for it. I also tried Simple hydrating, Eucerin's moisturizers, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and a home made glycerin/water formulation. These either made no noticible difference or possibly (I saw one definite bump appear while I was on the jojoba) made it worse. I think it may not be the products as much as the fact that my skin is so clogged that it doesn't make a difference what I use.

Ishtar's mandelic set. Toner, cleanser, treatment. The treatment dried the hell out of my skin no matter how sporadically I tried to use it. The cleanser contains wheat germ oil (for some reason) and the toner is okay, but stings when my skin is feeling sensitive.

BP from Dan, Quinoderm, and a couple of other companies. None of them really seemed to help.

Salicylic/Mandelic acid peels from MUA. Sometimes they seem to lessen the appearance of the bumps, but they always look exactly like they did pre-peel within a couple of days so I think the peels might just be temporarily drying my skin out or something. Strengths were 20%/15%. The first time I used the salicylic acid I went red for like, a week, and had new bumps afterwards. Oops! I actually used the salicylic again tonight and I'm not red, but I don't think it did anything for my skin.

Microdermabrasion at a clinic. Didn't do a thing.

2% salicylic. Might have actually maintained the bumps as they didn't get too noticibly worse on it, but my skin was irritated and after half a year 'I guess it's not worse?' wasn't a good result.

10% AHA/glycolic acid in various incarnations, including Dan's. No better, no worse. My 10% AHA pads used to leave my skin flawless before these bumps started. I remember getting the comment 'it's like you don't have pores'.

Some weird laser resurfacing thing that I shouldn't have let myself get talked into. Huge waste of a lot of money, turned me red for two weeks, and my skin was just as bad (if not worse, I swear my pores are even bigger) afterwards. This was four months ago.

Oxytetracycline/Doxycycline. Oxy got me clear back when I had inflamed acne and no weird soft blister bumps. It didn't do a thing for these bumps, ditto doxy.

Bioderma hydrating/sebium cleansers. Didn't make it better, not sure if it made it worse.

QH's Mint Julep masque.

Pretty much every drugstore cleanser in the land, after filtering out any that had shady ingredients as determined on the zerozits list.

Leaving my skin the hell alone. No bueno. More oil and the inflamed breakouts started.

An observation I made is that I get really happy when I see a pimple forming where one of these bumps is. I feel like it's the "clog" working its way to the surface. However, once I've dealt with the extremely painful, aching lump that never comes to a head and borders on mild cystic (I think), the redness either clears to reveal the bump is still there or it stays as a small not inflamed, not painful, static red lump forever. It's like my skin is incapable of purging out or getting rid of anything. If I get a blemish or a raised looking pore it just stays there, forever. One discoloured, slightly elevated bump is from a pimple that I got in December of 2012. The pimple only lasted a week, but the bump is here to stay. Very frustrating.

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Thank you for replying! I was actually on 2.5% BP when this problem cropped up. I'd gotten clear on Dan's regimen previously so it was really weird for me. What I CAN pinpoint thinking back, actually, is that the first 'bump' (I still have it now) cropped up about a week after I switched from PanOxyl aquagel (discontinued) to Dan's BP. I'm not sure if it would have happened anyway (I swapped BCP three months previously), but it makes me wonder. In any case, I'm currently using Dan's BP to spot treat in the mornings and epiduo every two nights.

I stopped using a moisturizer recently. While it makes my skin a little dry/tight to go without, I'm at a loss for what to do otherwise. It feels like everything I put on my skin clogs it. The bumps look less pronounced when I don't apply a moisturizer, though that's probably because my pores are all dried out. I'm not flaking yet so that's good, I guess..

I currently have Cerave's moisturizing lotion on order, but it's going to take a while to get here (UK). I was thinking about buying PhysioGel Cream as well, but it's pretty damn expensive and I've not heard much about it. Otherwise, my skin's the same as it was in those pictures. More inflamed breakouts. Oh, I also ordered Cerave's hydrating cleanser.

I also recently started on Spiro. I did one week at 25mg, then increased to 50. After two days of 50, my period came five days early. Oops. I hear that's normal, so I'm just gonna ride it out. My Doctor is interested in starting me on Yasmin, too, as soon as she confirms that I'd be allowed to stay on it long term with the NHS.

So there's my update! If anyone has any Spiro or Yasmin experiences I'd be glad to hear them. I've checked just about every acne.org log that shows up for them under a google search.

Products I've tried, that I can recall. These either didn't help or contributed to the problem. I can't really tell which it is because I've had the same bumps in the same places for a year and a half(and they're spreading!) and they really don't seem to give a crap about what I do to my skin:

100% hyaluronic acid. Two different brands. Seemed to make the soft, blister-shaped bumps more pronounced.

Simple oil balancing moisturizer. I was using this while I was clear for a couple of months so I didn't eliminate it for a while, but it could have just taken a while to mess up my skin, I guess. That or my skin has changed so much that it's no longer a good thing for it. I also tried Simple hydrating, Eucerin's moisturizers, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and a home made glycerin/water formulation. These either made no noticible difference or possibly (I saw one definite bump appear while I was on the jojoba) made it worse. I think it may not be the products as much as the fact that my skin is so clogged that it doesn't make a difference what I use.

Ishtar's mandelic set. Toner, cleanser, treatment. The treatment dried the hell out of my skin no matter how sporadically I tried to use it. The cleanser contains wheat germ oil (for some reason) and the toner is okay, but stings when my skin is feeling sensitive.

BP from Dan, Quinoderm, and a couple of other companies. None of them really seemed to help.

Salicylic/Mandelic acid peels from MUA. Sometimes they seem to lessen the appearance of the bumps, but they always look exactly like they did pre-peel within a couple of days so I think the peels might just be temporarily drying my skin out or something. Strengths were 20%/15%. The first time I used the salicylic acid I went red for like, a week, and had new bumps afterwards. Oops! I actually used the salicylic again tonight and I'm not red, but I don't think it did anything for my skin.

Microdermabrasion at a clinic. Didn't do a thing.

2% salicylic. Might have actually maintained the bumps as they didn't get too noticibly worse on it, but my skin was irritated and after half a year 'I guess it's not worse?' wasn't a good result.

10% AHA/glycolic acid in various incarnations, including Dan's. No better, no worse. My 10% AHA pads used to leave my skin flawless before these bumps started. I remember getting the comment 'it's like you don't have pores'.

Some weird laser resurfacing thing that I shouldn't have let myself get talked into. Huge waste of a lot of money, turned me red for two weeks, and my skin was just as bad (if not worse, I swear my pores are even bigger) afterwards. This was four months ago.

Oxytetracycline/Doxycycline. Oxy got me clear back when I had inflamed acne and no weird soft blister bumps. It didn't do a thing for these bumps, ditto doxy.

Bioderma hydrating/sebium cleansers. Didn't make it better, not sure if it made it worse.

QH's Mint Julep masque.

Pretty much every drugstore cleanser in the land, after filtering out any that had shady ingredients as determined on the zerozits list.

Leaving my skin the hell alone. No bueno. More oil and the inflamed breakouts started.

An observation I made is that I get really happy when I see a pimple forming where one of these bumps is. I feel like it's the "clog" working its way to the surface. However, once I've dealt with the extremely painful, aching lump that never comes to a head and borders on mild cystic (I think), the redness either clears to reveal the bump is still there or it stays as a small not inflamed, not painful, static red lump forever. It's like my skin is incapable of purging out or getting rid of anything. If I get a blemish or a raised looking pore it just stays there, forever. One discoloured, slightly elevated bump is from a pimple that I got in December of 2012. The pimple only lasted a week, but the bump is here to stay. Very frustrating.

I'm from the UK too so I can sympathise on the waiting for the post thing!! I was on Yasmin for about 8 months maybe and I LOVED it! Cleared my skin right up, it was coming off that and having the mirena coil fitted (to hopefully help with endometriosis) that made my skin break out so I'm sure it's purely hormonal! I'm not on day 5 of Doxycycline and BP acnecide 5% and it's looking better already. The day before I started them I did have microderm and had been using a glycolic acid cream (10%) so opening the pores may have helped let the BP start to do its job quicker. I also use a cleanser that my boss gave me that contains salycilic acid and that's hopefully going to be helping.

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I'm from the UK too so I can sympathise on the waiting for the post thing!! I was on Yasmin for about 8 months maybe and I LOVED it! Cleared my skin right up, it was coming off that and having the mirena coil fitted (to hopefully help with endometriosis) that made my skin break out so I'm sure it's purely hormonal! I'm not on day 5 of Doxycycline and BP acnecide 5% and it's looking better already. The day before I started them I did have microderm and had been using a glycolic acid cream (10%) so opening the pores may have helped let the BP start to do its job quicker. I also use a cleanser that my boss gave me that contains salycilic acid and that's hopefully going to be helping.

Awesome! I'm glad to hear that you're clearing. My skin looks a little less murky/blotchy today, actually, so maybe the salicylic acid peel has been able to do a little more combined with the epiduo. I've noticed as well that since laying off my moisturizer my skin tone is much, MUCH closer to the tone of my hand, which it hasn't been in years. It wasn't necessarily red or anything, but my face has always been darker than my hand. I heard that was normal so I didn't worry about it, but it looks much paler right now.

And yeah I heard about how coming off of Yasmin can give you the mother of all breakouts, which is why I'm checking that the NHS is cool to let you remain on it long-term. When I first asked about it it was during the scare about blood clots and my Doctor didn't want me on it for more than six months. I declined at that point because only being on it for six months and then jumping off seemed like something that would unsettle my hormones more and make things worse. Now that studies are showing that Yasmin isn't much worse than most other BCPs, my current Doctor seems more willing to allow long term use.

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Update: Either an initial breakout or just a bad breakout in general, but I have about eight new red, angry bumps. That's a record for me. ):

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