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.
Edited by Kiyanna, 19 February 2014 - 11:51 AM.