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Marie1

Tiny tiny rice grains in EVERY pore - anyone else have it?

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I know everyone here complains about small bumps on their skin. But when i see other people's photos of it, they look completely different to the bumps i have on my skin.

CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT I HAVE + WHAT I CAN DO TO GET RID OF MINE?

My bumps are like small tiny rice grains that sit in the skin. They are no bigger than 1 or 2 millimetres wide. They are like tiny blackheads but without the black tip on top.

They are not inflammed and they do not puss. They are ALL over the chin (from the edge of the lip to the bottom of the chin) and around my nose and inbetween my eyebrows. I get some on my forehead but NOT quite in the same coverage like my chin.

I feel my chin is disgusting to look at. When i touch my chin i feel it is like touching fine sandpaper - as these grains are all over and there is no smoothness to my chin.

Dermatologist

My dermatologist noticed it but said it was part of normal skin and just gave me an exfoliator prescription and differn cream. This has not got rid of them and neither do other products ive tried. And it is not normal, otherwise why would people constantly point them out to me?

Picking them out

Sometimes i can pick these tiny rice grains out if they are on top of the skin, but on my chin it is much harder to do this as there is no real fat there to make the squeezing easier like on the cheeks. Plus there are 1000s of them so i would be there for days at the mirror.

Photos

I have attached some photos to give you guys an idea. Unfortunately they are not clear and do not show what you would see if you observed me face to face. However, Im hoping you might be able to see something though. (I took loads of photos and these were the best ones with my old digi cam).

PS i know as you cant see much in the photos some of you will think this is nothing, but it really does upset me and I've already had inflamed acne in my teens so I know what that is like too.

this is EXACTLY what i have. i have never found a solution..

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I have suffered the same problem for many many years, about 40. I have learned some things about them; first the pores on and around your nose are sebaceous filaments and they will never go away as they are a natural part of your skin, granted some people's are larger and/or more active. these are IN the pores, there are also things that are little white bumps that are NOT in the pores but between them, from research I learned that those are a build up of cholesterol that your body is trying to get rid of, which could explain the person that had a clearing with a lot of out door activity as the vitmin d from the sun is what your body uses to get rid of excess cholesterol. She/he also said at the time they were not eating much I find that eating dairy really increases the sebum in my pores. I am particularly sensitive to hormones, my own and also those in dairy which is loaded with them especially NON organic dairy which has tons of synthetic hormones. that means milk, cream, cheeses, ice cream all of it. it increases the sebum in your pores and cholesterol. The only thing (and I have tried everything) that has ever worked to give me normal skin is the pantothenic acid protocol. I did wind up having side effects but through trial and error I have realized why I had them (I do not have to take the 10 grams any more I do fine with 2-3 per day, timed released). I do have to take along with the b5 (pantothenic acid) once a day: a multivitamin/mineral pill (not gummies) a B- Complex (it has all of the B's) a Magnesium pill 400mg. and a twin labs allergy A&D vitamin. I also do better if I watch my Dairy and chocolate intake as well. I do eat them but try not to over do. Sometimes I also take a Gummy probiotic if my stomach bothers me but I have not had to since I included all of the other vitamins in my regimen.

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I used an intensive chemical exfoliant mask daily with a few diet modifications and now only get a few of these per month. What ever the root of it is mites or infection 20% sulfur and 10% niacinamide combination work great.

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I think I get the same thing. Like tiny white shafts coming out of the pores. I get them around my nose. 

When I pluck one out it leaves an enlarged, gaping pore.

 

1. Can I get the pore to close back to a smaller size?

2. Is there a way to remove them that doesn't leave the pore so much larger?

Thanks

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It sounds to me, and you're right the pictures aren't great, but sounds to me like "milia"  Many people describe milia like tiny hard grains of rice under the skin that are not expressed (popped) easily.  In fact, milia are actually hardened keratin cysts that resemble whitehead comedones but since they're more dry than a whitehead and under a thicker layer of skin it makes them  harder to extract. Any dermotologyst can extract milia - no big deal.

Now, if it's not milia, the next guess I'd have are just hardened sebum plugs protruding from your pores and/or follicles. Virtually every pore or follicle in your skin has an ability to weep bodily oils that keep the skin supple and waterproof!  often these oils - sometimes its keratin, sometimes sebum, will harden right in the pore or follicle and, when grouped by the hundreds ot thousands, make the skin feel rough, even after exfoliation, which may or may not work.

The good news is that that this problem, these hardened oils whether they're milia, sebum, keratin or whatever, can be controlled.  In the case of milia, I went to school for this so I just removed my own by making TINY incisions - holes often smaller than the particulate that had to subsequently be expressed out of them, then using a comedone extractor (cheap on amazon, etc) or even an improvised tool, the milia or small cyst can be removed. They resemble rice grains if they are oblong or small pearl onions when round. Once they are expressed they aren't like a typical cyst that may reform. once you clean them out they don't re-offend!

If the problem is sebum plugs, these plugs respond well to the chemical in what is essentially dandruff shampoo, salicylic acid.  You can do it the expensive way and buy "Gold Bond" lotion for bumpy skin and after a few weeks see marked improvement if not an outright cure, or just check out the "concentration" of this chemical in Gold Bond and buy generic dandruff shampoo of the same or similar strength or concentration - the chemical is identical - and do two things . One, before you shower rub the shampoo onto the affected area before you start the water and let it sit 15-20 minutes, then rinse it off during your shower. Then after your shower and periodically (before bed is a good time) rub some in a thin coat on the area and just let it sit - it wont burn you or anything. Generic Head And Shoulders is fine and it's cheap - roughly half the cost of Gold Bond for 2-3 times the volume (make sure the chemical in it is salicylic acid, not a zinc compound or coal tar which can cause redness and/or irritation).

Keratin is a building block of the body in many areas - hair, fingernails, toenails, body oil, some cyst contents, etc. and can be a nuisance if your body just makes too much, a condition called keratosis pilaris or "KP" so this is another possibility but in my opinion keratin is nowhere nearly as likely as sebum to occur on the face - KP is typically on the arms legs or chest, so on the face sebum is my number one contender here.  The other thing to remember is that even of my guesses here are all wrong, it's bound to be an issue in one form or another that can be controlled by the salicylic acid method.  In other words whatever you are dealing with, unless it's milia it's an excess and build up of some sort of oil, be it sebum or keratin, and the treatment for many of these issues is the same. I think its the key to your problem!  Some people even try acne medicine in a separate area than the salicylic acid and see which one responds  faster or better - not an altogether bad idea. I've attached photos of both Milia  sebum, and keratin bumps (which admittedly are more common on arms, legs and chest then on the face. But keratin is everywhere so while I still say sebum is the more likely culprit anything is possible, and the treatment for sebum and keratin are virtually the same plus it can address dozens of peripheral issues, so its a sensible place to start.)

Here is a link to many types of comedone extractors, which everyone should have as they are so versatile and come in handy for myriad of issues: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=comedone+extractor&FORM=HDRSC2

Sorry if I overloaded you but the nuts and bolts are it's either milia that you poke out, or an oil that you treat with generic dandruff shampoo.  LUCK!!

milia on skin.jpg

keratin on arms.jpg

keratin plug.jpg

keratosis pilaris .jpg

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On ‎12‎/‎5‎/‎2015 at 9:11 AM, guppy45 said:

I think I get the same thing. Like tiny white shafts coming out of the pores. I get them around my nose. 

When I pluck one out it leaves an enlarged, gaping pore.

 

1. Can I get the pore to close back to a smaller size?

2. Is there a way to remove them that doesn't leave the pore so much larger?

Thanks

Obviously poking at your pores is a bad idea, scarring is a real threat just from the ensuing lesion, not to mention any finger or airboune bacteria which may infect the area.  The thing about the pores on and around your nose is that whether they are a classic blackhead or not hey have similar feature of a blackhead in that here is no layer of skin over the top.  What this means is that the normal oils in any skin por3 catch and encrust dad skin that has sloughed off, and once this happens the dead skin oxidizes from oxygen and sunlight and turns dark in color - this is a blackhead.  Blackheads, contrary to what most people think aren't comprised of dirt - they're dead skin that has turned dark from air and sun.  I know you may not have a classic blackhead but the following routine  will work on what you have since your condition is similar.  Having said that there are a few things you can do to try to minimize damage and ensure your pores don't gape: Before you try to clear the pore, soak a cotton facecloth in as hot of water as you can stand, and keep reheating it in hot water or even better after its wet microwave it and repeat the process several times - at least 20-25 minutes, the longer the better. This heat works like heat does universally and enlarges the pore. After the pores are enlarged, use hot steam to moisten a Biore pore/nose strip, and apply it, then over the top of that use some DRY HEAT like a heating pad or hand warmer to cover it until the strip is dry and ready to peel off.  The more heat you use, the larger the pore will open up, the more surface area the "glue" on the strip can grab, and subsequently the more debris that will release from the pore.  A pore that is widened homeopathically like this - through heat - has a multi-fold better chance of shrinking back to a normal size rather than scarring or appearing like "orange peel" skin.  After you marvel at the junk that come out of your pores on and around your nose, use a COOL, WET  washcloth on your face for 10 minutes or so to shrink your clean pores back to their original size before more junk can get into them.Alternatively, since these are similar (but not the same as) blackheads in that there isn't a layer of skin over the top of them like a zit or cyst, you can use the heat as described but if you don't feel like buying a strip (a mistake, in my opinion since the strips remove debris from deeper in the pore) you can just apply slowly increasing pressure (as opposed to a violent pinch) until the material expresses on its own. Either way the key is heat, heat, heat. another method is to start with the heat and use a comedone extractor purchased from amazon or Walmart - but if you are willing to spend money on something like that (and regardless they are cheap and nice to have) I'd rather see you use a pore strip. The generic ones are like $4 -5 for a box of 6-8 of them. I used to use the menthol ones on my patients (same price) because they provide a cooling effect that can ease discomfort.  The 1-2-3 combination of the wet heat, the steam moistened pore strip, and the dry heat on top of the pore strip until it's dry and ready to be removed will really help.  And lastly, don't do what my mom did and have a $5 box of 6 pore strips in her hand only to change her mind in favor of a cheap, ineffective $3 tube of a peel off face mask.  Comparatively speaking the face mask is JUNK. The pore strips are SO  much more effective, easier and more sanitary to use reducing bacteria and chances for infection, clean much, much deeper into the pore, and provide a longer lasting solution.  One last critical tip that'll increase the effectiveness of the whole procedure I outlined here:  dissolve a rounded tablespoon of regular baking soda in 6 ounces of hot distilled water - hot as you can take without burning. Soak up the solution onto cotton balls and apply to the affected area, letting them sit for 15 minutes before continuing. This is a "disencrusting solution" that will soften the debris in the pore, whether its a blackhead or keratin or sebum or whatever... then proceed with your microwaved wet face towel, your steamed pore strip, your dry heat, and cool cloth afterward to shrink the pore back.  GOOD LUCK!!
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Scrubbing will not get rid of your problem because it is  demodex.
What I do is powder my face at night with sublimed sulfur powder. It gives me smooth, clear skin because sulfur kills demodex.

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I have a lot to say about demodex, just to sort of get my ideas out there. On this thread both Vaseline and sulfur have been mentioned as possible cures for this - this is demodex. I know because I have these rice grains all over my face and I asked my doctor to test me for demodex (the test literally took 2 minutes) and I found out that I have a ton of demodex. I wrote about it here: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/358315-cause-of-my-cystic-acne-demodex-mites/#comment-3520328

However, as relieved as I was to finally get a diagnosis (I had to diagnose myself, using this thread and other threads, after years of cystic acne and these rice grains)...what's even more frustrating than not knowing the cause of your acne is knowing what's causing your acne but not being able to solve it! I bought this Sibu seabuckthorn oil soap that was recommended on either this thread or another thread about demodex. I finally received it and I just started using it. I'm also taking a low dose of Accutane. I didn't want to take Accutane because I wanted to only use demodex cures and see what worked - to be a sort of guinea pig for others who are sure they have it too. But unfortunately I was getting so many indented scars from the cystic acne, that I can't just wait and keep testing treatments. But I am still going to use the Sibu soap because I know what happens from experience. I stop taking the Accutane and within a year, my face will be back like it was before, with at least one or two cysts a month and these "rice grains" all over.

Some people with rosacea, which has also been linked to demodex, on this one forum have said that they have very low vitamin D. This is true about me too - your vitamin D level is supposed to be between 50 and 70; mine was 12 when I was tested in summer 2013. I never regularly took vitamin D since then, though I bought some and intended to.

Recently I was reading an article about Victoria Beckham. She said her skin had started to break out and her doctor told her to eat salmon every day, so she does. She attributed this improvement to the omega 3's in salmon but, when I looked it up, wild salmon has a lot of vitamin D. 

Also what one person posted above about eliminating foods you're allergic too could also be important for eliminating demodex. Demodex supposedly gets out of control when your immune system can't keep them in check. Apparently 70% of our immune cells are in our gut. I know that I am allergic to shrimp because every time I eat it my hand breaks out with eczema. But like a fool I keep eating it. I'm hoping to get tested for all food allergies to see what else I should eliminate.

The Vaseline works because it smothers the demodex, just as you would use Vaseline to treat mange on a dog, or you would use those special shampoos to kill head lice - they smother the mites/lice. But I tried this on just one small pimple on my face to see if it would improve it. And it turned into a cyst within 2 days. So...I do believe Vaseline kills demodex, as many people have said using Vaseline at night improved their cysts. But for me I'm not willing to take this risk because I think before it improves it's going to get worse. Since my skin scars after every cyst, I can't try this method unfortunately.

Sulfur does not kill demodex but they hate it so it may somehow improve the situation. That's how I realized I had demodex. I bought some sulfur soap as I'd heard it was good for acne, and after using it I could feel them crawling! Not a lot but enough that I knew these posts about demodex were true.

I wish I was able to say I had solved this. It's SO frustrating to see these ugly rice grains caught in my skin. Getting them out leaves a scar and it's pointless because there are so many. Steaming and mud masks might work but, I'm not sure. The only time I've gotten rid of them before was when I was washing my face with glycolic acid cleasner (obviously not when I was on Accutane) and then exfoliated with baking soda. But this only lasts a few days, they come back. The mites die and I guess its their dead bodies that make up these plugs. The information posted above is correct.

Sorry this was so long; I'm still struggling to find the answer to this. I was given creams and pills by my previous doctor but they didn't work. I have a pretty severe case. 

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On 3/16/2010 at 5:44 PM, prima_ballerina said:

Worms in the face! Yep. Everyone has them. They live off of sebum in the follicle and are the cause of all of it!

 

 

For me, the white rubbery plugs were not worms, but a symptom of malassezia (pitysporum) folliculitis. Basically, a fancy word for fungal acne. They caused me endless anxiety and I was using needles to extract them for years before I learned that the condition is caused by a fungus (a yeast, actually, which is a subcategory of fungus). I did a lot of research and realized I can manage the symptoms by avoiding hot, humid conditions and oily skin products. The yeast feeds on the oils in human skin and loves hot, humid environments. I stopped using any skincare products with oils and started cracking a window at night for ventilation. My skin is now basically normal, but the symptoms come back if I stay in a hot, humid environment for more than a couple of hours. For me, the main culprit was the hot, humid air in my unventelated room at night while I was sleeping. I Hope this helps someone! This was incredibly frustrating for me for a long time. I probably saw four doctors before one of them suggested I had sebhorric dermatitis, which led me to discover that malassezia was my antagonist. Edited by Glitterbabe
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Random and way late, but I recently realized after doing research that what causes my few spots is indeed Demodex. 
I don't get anything around my eyebrows or eyes, but more near my chin/mouth or the side of my nose, sometimes my cheeks too.

They're not related to hygiene at ALL, but they do prefer certain types of skin. Mine is a bit on the oily side.
My body also produces a lot of androgens (spironalactone works wonders as an anti-androgen,) and my skin reacts very much to my hormones and stress levels. 

I recently stopped bothering the spots, and kept them covered in Neosporin and Tea Tree oil. Literally gone in less than 2 days. Trust me, it was difficult to not bug them for 2 days because they're super unsightly.
The more you bother them, the worse it'll get and the longer it will take to heal. They are also painful if they get really bad.

Also, if you wear makeup, you need to make sure you remove every bit of it before bed. Demodex love eyebrows and eyelashes. 

If you believe the cause of any skin issue you have is overpopulation of Demodex, you need to replace ALL makeup products and sponges/brushes, replace your pillow you sleep on and change your bedding. The don't like light, and only really do their work at night.

PS. Everyone has these mites on their face. The little things we all assume are just oil on our noses? That is demodex. You can't ever get rid of all of it - because it is actually supposed to be there. When it gets overly produced, then it can cause problems. Some people are simply more prone to them than others. 

Edited by MellieDubbles
Forgot to add a detail
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OK guys thanks for all these posts - I had a horrible weekend with what i thought were 3 cystic acne breakouts, which i get  every few months - but they always had these little white plugs underneath them, which, if disturbed, would MULTIPLY almost immediately. one couldn't 'pop' them like a whitehead, they were rather worms or plugs - tiny - and not hard like milia. for sure this is demodex!!! i can't believe it. but i guess it's natural and just I'm in a weak state from stress or something.   I am encouraged about the sulfur/smother method and realize i have been more or less doing this - after making a mess pulling them out with tweezers - i am hiding from everyone because i look like a monster. It's so excruciating - so shout out to all of you.  I'm throwing in a third element to treatment which is trentinoin (Retin A) .1% GEL.  it's strong, and if you layer it on the area where the cyst and the mites are, and keep letting it dry, it can form a scab, which when peeled off is a pretty resolved area of skin, without raised scarring. also weirdly quick for healing smaller incidence of this is 'liquid bandage' presumably because it both dries (alcohol) and smothers (sealing the pore)

ok just my contribution. its a living nightmare. and I'm pissed at 20 years of dermatologists never even picking up on it. but what can you do...

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I have had what is diagnosed as keratosis Pilaris (Mostly on my forearms & upper arms, not necessarily the backs.  Lower extremities diagnosed as stucco keratosis.
KP is rough and when I remove them (scrape off or dig w/fingernail)  they usually bleed.  Derm was trying a light therapy on my arms.  Expensive and not effective, neither were expensive creams.  I will try some of the remedies here.  
My husband has had millea on his upper cheeks, easy to remove & they didn't come back.  Not do much for my KP.  I don't know about dermodex.  No one has suggested testing for it.  I don't have acne or cysts.  Nothing around the cheek redness and nothing around my nose or chin.  Although, a stray one on my forehead and several above my eyebrows.
Very concerning, as I don't want these to occur on every hair follicle on my body!!  The lower legs are a different but quite annoying issue.
I will try smothering and supplements.
I don't know anyone else with this problem, so i am happy to have found this information.

Edited by Donna1959
Mispell/bad autocorrect
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I used to have super nice skin.  Then about 5 years ago I started using microdermbrasion whenever I found a groupon to try to look younger.  I stopped doing micro a couple of years ago and now I have this the white pore plugs.  Connection?

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On 11/21/2017 at 4:02 PM, goodname said:

I used to have super nice skin.  Then about 5 years ago I started using microdermbrasion whenever I found a groupon to try to look younger.  I stopped doing micro a couple of years ago and now I have this the white pore plugs.  Connection?


ya girl, you cant be putting serums in your skin without a proper routine. Do you use face wash? Toner? Moisturizer? 

if you are talking about the white pores around the corners of your nostrils or between your lip and chin, that is natural. Everyone has them. Dont try to squeeze them or you will make your pores bigger and they will only return days later. 

you can never get rid of them, but you can make the appearance look smaller by following a skin routine that makes your pores smaller. 

Here is my routine- 
1. Facewash thoroughly

2. Toner (Sunday Riley Martian is my favorite. This is what really makes your pores smaller in combination with their serum)

- between 1 and 3 - once or twice a week use an exfoliater to help your skin get rid of the dead cells trapped in your pores (the white dots)

3.eyecream (if you have any milia under eye or just bad hydration and need to get rid of dark circles. For milia, the tiny bumps under eye you just need a gentle eye exfoliate)

4. Serum (This and the toner is what is really important to make your pores cleaner and smaller. Use Sunday Riley U.F.O )

5. Face Moisturizer (Serum itself delivers hydrations and vitamins deep into your skin, but moisturizer creates a layer of hydrating barrier. Its important to know the difference. Moisturizer protects your pores while serum gets deep into your pores) 

6. Spf cream IMPORTANT (the sun creates dark spots, wrinkles and makes your skin tougher, turns it to leather. If your skin doesnt get proper protection then these white spots can occur because the leathery of your skin is making it tougher for your skin to naturally exfoliate the dead skin. 

Skin care products can be expensive which is why before buying anything you should go to sephora and ask for samples to test what works on your skin before you buy it.

Sunday Riley Martian and U.F.O are especielly expensive. But if you ask sephora for a sample and put it on at night, the the next morning you should see the difference almost emmiedietly.
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Ok I have been struggling with this exact issue & I think I just found a solution which I am trying for myself but thought I would share since this post has gone in SEVERAL different directions that are expensive & super time consuming!  I will update if it works out for me but in case you are still looking for an answer & want to try this with me!  The hard seed like things that are inside the pores is fungal & the treatment is antifungal creams like Tinactin (a jock itch cream) but you put it on the "seedling bump" (that's what I call them; don't know the medical term) at night after you wash your face with an anti-bacterial wash or some used T/Sal shampoo (a small amount) then put the antifungal cream on and leave it on overnight. Wash it off in the morning. The cream will dissolve the seed beneath the skin in a few days!  Give it a try! I will report back if this works for me because I have been struggling with this same issue for so long!  I have a bruise in between my eyebrows from a extraction that went wrong!  It's NOT milia, it's not mites, its not acne. a fungal skin issue. Try this! Good Luck & hope it helps those still struggling with this!

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I am almost 40 and have always had acne... though last year it became a bit different - precisely as described in this topic: tiny rice grains, which I felt under my skin and picked with needles - getting some bad scarring in the process.

I believe it was being caused by demodex mites infestation (triggered by stress + low immune system) and it was driving me nuts.

I followed the routine below and it not only cleared my adult acne in 1-2 months, but also my skin is now smooth and nicer than it had ever been... still trying to treat the scars, but I am very happy with it already...:

 

1. Wash skin with salicylic acid soap

2. Use P50 toner from the biologique recherche brand (it works like vinegar, similar scent and composition). This toner cleanses deeply and helps exfoliate/remove dead cells and debris (which clogs pores). I had some internal pimples/cists on my neck, chest and jaw... this product helped a lot!!

3. Vitamin C (Best brand I have tried is skinceuticals, it leaves the skin moisturized but fresh). It is important to moisturize the skin after cleaning it, it balances its PH back (if left too dry, it will overproduce oils) 

4. I use a light/day moisturizer with some 100% PURE teatree oil drops for the day, plus sunscreen. For the evening, I use instead an MSM cream - richer but also antimicrobial

6. I also use PURE 100% teatree oil or the “blemish” (salycilic acid) from skinceuticals on eventual pimples (very rare nowadays)

7. To improve texture / scars, I started monthly sessions of Vivace (microneeding with radio frequency). I have done already around 7 sessions... It kills bacteria (blue/red led lights), probably kills demodex as well. Needles are precise and change from 5mm to 2.5-3mm on each different area of the face, lightens blemishes, renews skin, creates new collagen

 

Hope this helps... it may seem a lot, and the products listed (skinceuticals / biologique recherche) are expensive - though I really think it was all worth it - especially this p50 toner. I have now bought it for the body (chest/back still have with acne) and it is working too.

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Ok guys... I have this exact same problem.  Mine are almost gone. They look exactly like rice grains are very hard and very deep in the pore.  Here's how I made mine disappear..
1. I washed my face using fairly hot water, a foaming cleanser with hyaluronic acid (neutragena makes a great   one)
2. I washed for a fairly long time with very gentle motion and kept adding a bit of hot water to my face until most of the suds were gone. I finished rinsing my face with hot water.
3. Immediately after washing I put a fair amount of baby oil on my face, concentrating on the worst affected areas.
4. I let that sit on my skin for about 20 minutes.
5. I re-washed my face with the same method used above.
6. I applied biore pore strips to the worst affected areas.
7. After the pore strips dried I peeled them off.
8. Ummmmm it was disgusting.  It looked like rice and fish scales or something.
9.  I had little holes all over the place where the "grains" came out.
10. Any remaining grains I took an orange stick that is used for cuticles and used the slanted end to softly scrape out the ones that were partially out already.
11. I rinsed my face again with hot water and was able to further work some more out with my fingers.
12. After I had gotten as many as I could out, I rinsed my face with ice water. (literally ice in the water)
13. I applied a thick layer of my usual face cream and let it soak in. 
14. I rinsed the cream off with hot water.
15. Followed with cold water and light cream

This seems lengthy and involved but I've done it about 3 times and my skin is better than it has ever been and with using the ice water, the pores close up fairly quickly.
My new routine at night is rinse with plain hot water for a few minutes, then add a gentle cleanser before rinsing with the ice water. 

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Mechanical scrubs, Biore strips (worst things EVER for your skin), super hot water, JUST SAY NO! You can’t scrub this problem away. You need chemical exfoliation in the form of an appropriately formatted beta hydroxy acid (BHA). Being gentle is key. Try the articles at www.paulaschoice.com, then look at reviews on Beautypedia.com to find a product suitable for your skin type and your budget. I’m not affiliated with Paula’s Choice, but discovered Paula Begoun’s books YEARS ago. Yes, she’s developed her own products-and her BHAs are fantastic- but she also gives honest reviews of drugstore and luxury products. Sometimes, a drugstore product works better than hers, and she will highly recommend it. She also rates the Acne.org regime highly.

That said, I’ve fought with this problem...and some really stubborn blackheads...and used Paula’s BHA 9. It really worked for me.

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