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What is the real difference between a cyst and a really big papule?

Hey guys,

I'm sure that this question has been asked (and it was in an older thread), but no one really answered concretely and I'm starting to get really curious.

I've been on DKR for about 4.5 months and at any given time I have 0 zits and maybe, maybe 1-2 tiny clogged pores on my face (at this point, that's on a bad day). Active acne hasn't been an issue for me pretty much at all since late June save for a freak breakout I had earlier this month due to a whole string of reasons, mainly over-exfoliation with Dan's AHA.

The reason I'm using AHA is mainly to help speed up the fading of my red marks, which is taking BY FAR longer than it ever has in my life. The stuff from the breakout to end all breakouts (by my standards) began in earnest in January/February and didn't start clearing up until March. By mid-April most of the really ugly stuff was flattened out but here I am now, basically in October, with lingering red marks (albiet almost faded).

I'm starting to wonder if I had true cysts and if that's the reason it's taking for-EVER for these damn marks to fade. So, this is what my acne was like back in those days (shudder):

-- very, very red. I'm talking blood red.

-- very inflamed-- maybe about 1/3rd the size of a pinky nail-- but not pus-filled (then again, I never popped them so I don't know what was in them)

-- took a few weeks to truly flatten out and go away (maybe about 4?)

I don't have any pictures of my skin from this stage so I know it'll be hard to judge, but does this spell out cyst? If so, about how long do red marks from cysts usually take to fade? I was originally shooting to be clear of these damn marks by mid-October but I think Christmas is a more realistic goal...

Any insight is appreciated!

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What you had were papules...which are inflamed red bumps that don't come to a head. You're very lucky as most of us have pus-filled ones (pustules or cysts) and they're really ugly. Also you're really lucky that the regime you're on has worked...very lucky!!!

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Thanks for the reply. Well... I dunno if they were papules though because they've never been that big, angry, or red in my life, nor have they ever left red marks for as damn long as mine have lasted since that breakout.

I read a description of a cyst that said that it:s a collection of inflamed pores that comes to the surface several times before finally going away. That definitely has happened to me a few times, but again, I don't know if they were necessarily filled with pus; there was no center, and I didn't mess with them at all.

But as for the pimples I described earlier-- maybe they were a bit bigger, like half the size of my pinky nail. I think they were small cysts-- I remember feeling a distinct itchy feeling before they came to the surface, then the whole area would swell and eventually reduce itself into a big, blood-red, painful-ass zit. The more I think about it the more I think they could have been true cysts...

And I'm not so lucky-- a few of these have left some shallow boxcar scars on my forehead, thank god by my hairline. It's hard to tell though because the areas still have some PIH in them and so I keep getting confused that it's shadow. I suppose if I can't actually tell if there are true indentations than I am lucky in terms of scarring, but still.

How long do the redmarks from cysts usually last? About a year?

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Its tough from your description on if you had a cyst or a big papule, even some dermatologists dont know the difference. Because it lasts so long to flatten out and subside, I am leaning towards a cyst. Typically cysts are painful, so did these ones hurt? The red marks from cysts are the worst because they are so deep in the skin and typically they take a while to fade. Of course this really depends on your skin type, some people heal red marks faster than others and for the life of me I have no idea why. Typically people who have a lighter skin color fade hyperpigmentation marks faster than those with darker skin. If you are really worried about the red marks, I hear that certain peels or lasers can help speed the healing of red marks, but I have never tried those. My favorite thing to do for red marks is pile a lot of moisteruizer on it until they are gone. Well that is my two cents, good luck!!!

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Guest Timehealsall

na, not a cyst.

Ive had plenty of these things your talking about on my forehead. THe itchy feeling your describing is quite normal. A lot of people get a itch or redness before a pimple spawns.

!/3 the size of a pinky nail? Thats very very small....

Did these papules, when you applied benzoyl peroxide to them, did they get hard/dry at all? DId they dry up?

When they did dry up, did anything come to the surface? I.e., was there anything dried up at the top?

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