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Tiny white plugs

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I have suffered with the exact same symptoms you all have. I have finally learned that it is A parasite called Demodex skin mites. There are two kinds that humans get. Read about them online. USA doctors refuse to even check to see if it is mites. They are microscopic and one needs magnification to actually get a good view of them. Doctors can’t see anything with their naked eye so they tell you nothing is wrong, stop picking. Then they want to refer you to a psychiatrist because you are causing this problem yourself by picking. There is a company in Australia that has much information on this subject. They sell a product but you don’t have to buy to read all of their information. YouTube Ungex For videos or google it for reading. The mites live on the sebum in your hair follicles. They mate usually at night and lay as many as 20-30 eggs in one pore. Theirs average life span is 30 days. Then they die and rot in your pores, thus acne. When they are alive you feel them move ever so slightly. It kind of feels like a piece of fuzz on your skin and tickles. As they mature their hard bodies feel like broken glass in your skin. I hope this helps all of you. The big item that is supposed to kill demodex is tea tree oil. But it is very strong and many stop using it. It should be diluted and you MUST treat yourself nonstop for a minimum of 3 months to eradicate them or get them to a normal level. If you skip a day, then new eggs will be laud and you have to start all over again. You must also treat your home and your clothes. They can live up to three days out of your body before they die. I hope this helps all of you in finally finding information about what you have. It is a hard journey to get them under control, but with hard work and determination you can do it. I had them all over my body and still working on my ears, eyes, nose, and scalp. I actually found an infestation of them up high in my nose and I am still working if getting them out once and for all. Also in my ears they built walls around my eardrum and I am having to get them out a little at a time. It is a horrible thing to have to deal with but if c you live in America you will get no sufficient medical help to eradicate them. So it is basically up to you to research and do what you can do on your own to treat them. 

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6 hours ago, Ihatedemodex said:

I have suffered with the exact same symptoms you all have. I have finally learned that it is A parasite called Demodex skin mites. There are two kinds that humans get. Read about them online. USA doctors refuse to even check to see if it is mites. They are microscopic and one needs magnification to actually get a good view of them. Doctors can’t see anything with their naked eye so they tell you nothing is wrong, stop picking. Then they want to refer you to a psychiatrist because you are causing this problem yourself by picking. ...

I had demodex for decades misdiagnosed as bacterial acne by 4 board certified dermatologists.  None of them ever ran one test to find out why all the prescription drugs failed to cure it.    A 5th dermatologist actually knew what it was and how to test for it.  The 2 week oral treatment worked for me.  Note:  The following treatments work for demodex skin mites only.  They will not work for fungal folliculitis/acne or bacterial acne.

Best Treatment:   2 week, highly effective, cheap generics, treats the entire body
  Prescriptions:   2 once a week doses of Oral Ivermectin + 3 times daily dose of Oral Metronidazole for the 2 week period.
Costs:   About $13.03 Insurance Copay or $52 retail with no insurance or coupon.


  Oral Ivermectin: Dose based on body weight at 200 micrograms Ivermectin per kilogram of body     weight.  Take with a large glass of water on an empty stomach.  Take Day 1 and Day 8 of   treatment.

  Oral Metronidazole:  250 mg tablet 3 times per day with food.  Do not drink alcohol while taking        or for 72 hours after the taking the last tablet.
Treatment documented in a proper medical study documented in the May 2013 edition of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.  
Title: "Evaluation of the efficacy of oral ivermectin in comparison with ivermectin–metronidazole combined therapy in the treatment of ocular and skin lesions of Demodex folliculorum"    
URL to paper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S120197121201315X

Other things that help:
1.  Use a clean towel every day.  Mites can live upto 54 hours on a damp towel.
2.  Tea Tree Oil face wash, night cream and shampoo and conditioner can help.
3.   Cliradex wipes contain a strong extract of tea tree oil.  Wiping the face and eye area with these 2 times a day can help.
4.   Expensive prescription Soolantra cream with 1% Ivermectin can help but slowly - takes 16 weeks for treatment.
5.   Ivermectin Horse Paste with 1.87% Ivermectin is available from Amazon for $5 per tube.  People have found this as effective or more effective than Soolantra at a fraction of the price.
6.   Hypochlorous Sprays for the eyes and face contain a weak acid identical to that made by the human body in response to a scrape.  The spray will kill juvenile demodex before they can reproduce.
7.   Borateam (Borax powder) and Boric Acid products can also help kill the mites.  For external use only.

Borax Bath soak can be helpful to treat body and scalp issues caused by Demodex.
Described here: https://irosacea.org/forums/topic/3817-elainea-borax-bath-for-demodectic-rosacea/

Borax DIY Shampoo + Apple Cider Vinegar rinse can help with scalp itchiness and pustules:
Described here: https://rosaceagroup.org/The_Rosacea_Forum/showthread.php?39885-Demodex-Treatment-Borax-DIY-Shampoo-Followed-by-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Rinse-(Balances

Boric Acid DIY Mask to treat face can also help  The Makeup Maven explains how here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfVGV9aIS0Y

Edited by ElaineA
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So unfortunately I think my theory was correct.


I think the initial breakout of white plugs is due to an underlying inflammatory condition, such as DLE, seborrheic dermatitis, or even just something like folliculitis. It doesn’t necessarily have to be chronic/systemic.


It’s important to get this diagnosed properly (if it’s even still active). I cannot recommend a punch biopsy enough. The scarring is inconsequential compared to the marks these chronic plugs leave behind.


However, I think there’s a second factor for most. I think people pick at/irritate/burn these lesions (trying so many different active ingredients for fungus, bacteria, demodex, etc.) more than they realize and admit (to themselves and online). 

My biopsy showed a lot of scar tissue. I believe people are creating much more trauma than they realize fidgeting with these plugs, and the scarring is what creates a new round of plugs. 

Basically, the scarred pores/follicles and hyperkeratinization cause these new white buildups of oil/bacteria/keratin that cannot break through the damaged/scarred skin and become trapped and potentially inflamed/infected beneath the surface.

While you are in the process of letting time and potentially other treatments (lasers, etc.) heal the scarred skin, I cannot recommend enough De La Cruz 10% Sulfur Ointment. This ointment annihilates the white plugs and surrounding inflammation. It shrinks their size, prevents new ones from forming, and also prevents them from becoming infected/inflamed red bumps. This is the only topical that has ever truly helped this situation for me.


But, the plugs will keep reappearing until the scarred skin is regenerated enough (only time and a derm can do this). The plugs don’t mean you have fungus and bacteria and parasites and need to bombard your poor skin with the harshest chemicals available. They are just there because naturally with scarring things get stuck beneath the surface and don’t exfoliate properly. Use the sulfur ointment to prevent the plugs from becoming huge/inflamed + focus on treating the scarring. Give it time and it will get better. 

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If you have these lesions:


please stop picking at them.


removing all of the plugs is NOT what allows healing, as others have said in various posts around the internet.


please stop picking at the plugs.


repeatedly injuring the skin creates scar tissue that makes the plugs worse in the long run and increases the risk of skin cancer.


the cell types that characterize scars can also be hotbeds for skin-cancer growths.


please stop picking. You have so much to lose.


the scar specialist I saw today said he is relieved that they did not find malignancies in my punch biopsy given how long the skin injury/picking-healing-scarring cycle occurred for me (4 years).


See a derm to get a punch biopsy to rule out various conditions, then start getting the scarring treated.


When I am able to, I do the sulfur masks. The plugs are basically pimples/clogged pores under the scar. Obviously, picking at these pimples is the least productive thing to do. Find a gentle treatment to manage the pimples. The sulfur ointment helps me a lot. Gentle salicylic acid is an option. A mild, derm-approved keratolytic agent that won’t interfere with the scarring treatment is your best bet.


it is a horrible, depressing and expensive process. But posts around the internet saying the white plugs are X, Y, Z and necessitate removal/picking and this and that product are dangerous.


You do not have parasites.

You do not have demodex.

You do not have fungus.

You do not have staph.

stop diagnosing yourself.


stop listening to whackos telling you to put anti-parasitics and essential oils on your open wounds.


leave the wounds and plugs alone.


see a doctor.


get diagnosed—if there even is a diagnosis anymore.


Start treating the scarring. letting fibrotic/hyperkeratotic tissue hang around is asking for trouble.

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I can certainly empathise with this story.

So many have it worse than me, but I have the same rash of 'pimples' across my lower back with hard plugs that prevent them healing and when removed (if I rub my finger over in the shower they roll out) leaving a divot. Only then will they heal, and generally leave a mark. It first appeared when I was very stressed in 2017 as a rash bumps that  absolutely covered my lower back like severe folliculitis. It got better over time, but I have still had 6-10 at any given time ever since.

I have a similar issue on all the pores on my chest/across my breasts, but they are more like filaments that sometimes get inflamed/infected, but won't heal until the enlarged plug i removed.

My mild face acne which is more oil congestion-based is much much better since switching to Rationale skincare, which is doing a good job of balancing my skin ph and encouraging turnover. Side note, but these products transformed skin re more 'regular' facial acne.

About 3 months ago i read this message board and was very interested about the proposal of the plugs being related to Malasezzia or Candida, as I suffer from Seborrheic Dermatitis which is an immune response to the former.

Inspired, i started using my dandruff shampoo that i use to succesfully control the Seb Derm as a wash in the shower on my  lower back. I just rub in on, leave it for a bit and then rinse off every time I shower. I know dandruff shampoo might sound very simple compared to the extensive things people have tried, but in the months since it has improved immensely. As they are deep and due to the location i still have red marks where they are healing, but I have had almost no new bumps for the last month or so.

I tried every dandruff shampoo on the market to fix my Seb Derm, and the only one I have found that really controls the Malasezzia is Vichy Dercos, with Salicylic Acid + Selenium Sulfide in it. There are many shampoos with these ingredients, but this one is the only one that worked for me and it immediately makes a huge difference.

The other thing I have been doing is trying to cut back on sugars in my diet which I believe is also helping control the yeast. I no longer regularly eat refined carbs, bread, refined sugar, grains, rice, high sugar fruits (berries etc are ok), starchy carbs (potatoes etc green vege are ok). Just lean meat, fish, eggs, salad, low sugar fruit, green leafy vegetables, good fats. Not only has my skin improved, but i've lost weight, clearer and less foggy headed, sleep better, more energy and lower appetitite (even though eating a lot less), more stable mood and my skin is significantly improving.

These two simple things (the shampoo and cutting food that yeast like out of my diet) has made a big difference for me, and are simple and inexpensive to at least give a try, especially if you're feeling desperate you've got nothing to lose.

Hope that helps someone else too. Sounds simple I know, but sometimes thats whats works and our bodies are amazing at working how they should. I would say - definitely avoid taking antibiotics as this will only make the situation worse.

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On 9/22/2020 at 9:48 PM, shellllly3553 said:

Oh man, I've had the same issue for about 5years, tried so many things, antibiotics, tretinoin, accutane, steroid creams...

Dermatologist were completely and utterly useless, barely looked at me and labeled me a picker. Even a year of accutane only slightly improved my situation. Was gonna do a second course, because all in all accutane was the only thing that did slightly work... 

Came across this thread a while back, kinda got the general idea that it could be fungal, tried lamisil, tinactin, tea tree oil, vinegar. They slightly helped, but not to the point that my skin would be problem-free. Until about a month ago, I started putting vichy anti dandruff shampoo on my problem areas (face, sholders, chest mostly). I take a generous amount, lightly foam it and put it on my skin. Leave to dry for a good while,  an hour, it needs time. Once I left it on my face overnight it really dried it, to the point of peeling, but after 3 days it was done peeling and the skin underneath was near-perfect. Now I just leave it for half an hour to an hour, heavily moisturizing the next day also did not cause an issue for me.

I'm not exactly sure what they put in this stuff, but it is anti-fungal since dandruff is fungus, and for me it works much better than any other anti-fungal creams I tried. It is quite possible any anti-dandruff shampoo would have worked for me, but gonna continue using this one, since the results so far have been amazing. spacer.png

Just saw this post as well. Glad someone else has had the same experience.

Cannot recommend the Vichy Dercos enough. I don't think other shampoos are as good - this one is actually the best with Malasezzia. Full disclosure - I used to work for Loreal who make it (not any more) and I know that the way they formulate their selenium sulfide is different to other companies so maybe that is it.

I am certain it works as it holds my Seborrheic Dermatitis completely at bay, so hopefully will continue helping my lower back acne/plugs as well.

Edited by Shannon_E
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Seborrheic dermatitis can be due to yeast/fungus in the pores and results in the tiny white plugs.  One way to tell if its a yeast/fungus is if it itches, gets better in sunlight, worse with antibiotics and better with antifungals.  Try using antifungal products for a month and just see if it helps out.  **Do not use products with oil** they feed the yeast/fungus.  Do not pick, you can introduce bacteria and then your body has to fight off bacteria and fungus.

Use a dandruff shampoo with coal tar, zinc pyrithione, Ketaconozole or sulfur.  Put it on a dry face for at least 10 minutes and then rinse off.

I use this sulfur gel with aloe Vera and you can use it as often as needed.


You can also use products with urea to help remove the white plugs from your skin.

Also use an antifungal cream.

If you need to moisturize use cerave moisturizing cream.



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20200903_174544.jpg.a1925d62ae45b576002191a2a7183ce0.jpgIMG_20200410_135116.jpg.5449898541221424d10c790581b6cd95.jpgIMG_20200410_135133.jpg.696e316598a1582c88126319d6f0c2f5.jpg this is how extreme this condition can get ,  and I have been to immunologists,  dermatologists, infectious disease doctors  and all of them either missed the diagnosis on purpose or were just too busy to pay attention ,  nowadays  coding seems to be doctors only skill not diagnosis . And triggers that made it worse were corn starch,  honey, antibiotics,  opiates,  marijuana, alcohol, and amphetamines. The fungal infection got so bad,  my capillaries started swelling up with some type of clear yellowish liquid that was also somewhat acidic,  don't ask me what it was, doctors said that that was impossible. Only discovered this site and diagnosis two days ago,  so healing well now.IMG_20200410_134834.jpg.76ee5d05c3b660181e30a0c1613a602d.jpgIMG_20200410_134854.jpg.36341b4f4c410decc243b20e86f6e107.jpg

Edited by El Bolillo
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oh I'm so sorry, sending all the love ❤ hope this thread helps you find the cure

but yeah, excelent pictures, thats exactly how my wounds look! 

update: vichy dercos is still working for me, face is almost 100% clear, have been washing it daily with the antifungal shampoo, chest is still having a problem, I havent been as diligent, it got better for a while and I stopped using it and now its back, lesson learned will use it for a good while after the skin clears

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Also there is different antifungal ingredients that kill different types of yeast so if one is not working try another.  But if you’re not seeing any improvement after  trying some of the products listed on this board than maybe its something else?


El Bolillo, I think everyone is wondering if you’ve gotten any better?  I hope so and quickly that looks so painful!  Share any news or information, we all understand what you’re going through!

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Hi I too have this same issue. I've researched and researched. The best thing I've came up with is the dermatitis mites. I've actually looked at the white plugs under a microscope and if you look closely they have tiny spikes on one end. These are the facial mites which our skin naturally have to keep bacteria down. They feed off our sebaceous oil glands. Also, I have cats and I believe it has something to do with them. And not to burst anyones bubble but I also do meth. So it's a combination of all of the above mentioned comments. Peroxide and alcohol work wonders. You still have to pull them out. Anyways I just wanted to put my 2 cents in.

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Hello All! 

An update since my first post in August.

I think I can safely say I have finally found lasting relief/cure/preventative measures. 

Though there may be a lot of similarities we are not all suffering from the same thing.
We're here either desperately searching for relief and a cure or we have found something [that works for us] and don't want others to suffer as we have. Here is a list (and photo for you visualizers) of what prescriptions and products that has cleared up this issue for me after 5-6 years.



•Spironolactone 100MG twice a day
•Valacyclovir 1 gram a day
•Tretinoin 3x a week
•Clindamycin daily
•Ketoconazole as a face wash as needed for dryness

Over the counter:
•La Roche-Posay Moisturizer
•La Roche-Posay Hydrating Cleanser
•Tarte Knockout Exfoliating Cleanser
•The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
•The Ordinary Buffet
•Cerave PM Lotion (NO SPF)
•Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser
•Essano Clear Complexion Toner

 I do not promote picking at anything, ever. For myself this sore with plugs would not heal until the plugs were out by whatever means.

For context I was on these products alone for two years with minimal help: •Spironolactone 100MG twice a day, •Tretinoin 3x a week, and •Clindamycin daily. It wasn't until the valacyclovir was introduced approx. 6 mos again that I have experienced complete relief. 

Best of luck to all! 

Photos attached are from my worst episode of this issue (more can be found on page 6) and of myself today in my office 100% healed.


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I still have not been able to find any mainstream physicians that will even consider trying to make a proper diagnosis. I found an alternative clinic in Grand rapids Michigan called The Born clinic that was willing to think outside the box and is treating me with Diflucan orally 100 mg and ketoconazole shampoo topically, and I am almost all healed, I have only been on it for 2 and 1/2 Weeks and the difference is incredible. However depending on what medications I take or foods I eat I still have breakouts and figure that I will need to continue treatment for at least three more weeks before I feel safe considering stopping treatment. Thank you all for your comments.

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I want to thank you all for putting your information on this very strange and debilitating subject out there. I’ve been suffering with embedded fiberglass since January of 2019, and it seemed to have “morphed” into this whole candida/keratin deal. (I’ve read every post and look forward to doing something a bit different for treatment) I agree that it doesn’t seem to go away until you get the plug out and much of it works out to the surface but only after much stabbing pain, sensitivity, and itching, sleepless nights, embarrassing days, etc-you all know the story-makeup only burns, washing was becoming difficult because I couldn’t “rub”, especially when the fiberglass was present.  This is a serious problem and has affected my business, or at least me working it since I sell anti-aging and acne fighting skin care. How do you when your face looks like you’ve been doing mass amounts of drugs while going through puberty??!!  I got a staph infection (cellulitis) and couldn’t walk for two days, had something removed from my shoulder, dr thought it was cancer but couldn’t tell me what it was because he never saw anything like it. It seems after almost a year, under much better control, and it heals quickly when I use my products, but it’s painful on the open wounds. Some of those (I refer to the “big one” -plug-the one that you get out that feels like a sliver of glass coming out of a deep cut, the “Queen”-once shes out, the area heals. It’s definitely different than when I had the fiberglass. It’s been hell, I’ve fought with people over it, and the suffering is a lonely one.  It’s such a damn relief, to see you all here! I hope you all are having good healing progress!


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This entire post has literally restored my hope. I’ve been suffering for almost 4 years now. Unable to find any information that I felt closely resembled what I was going through before seeing this post. Thank you all a thousand times!!! 


Edited by Justjayray
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Has anyone experienced this issue accompanied with excess fluid under the skin? I get these along with swelling in other areas of my body. When touching the swollen area’s it feels like a thick fluid that I can move around with my hand. 

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I have had severe swelling and liquid under my lessions the whole time and it gets worse once you start treatment and the Malassesia fungus start dying. I believe that the swelling and liquid are an immunal or histamine response to either the fungus in general or the dying of the fungus. Staph infections are common with this condition and can slow down your limphatic system, causing additional liquid in the skin.

Also food for thought, secondary staph infections can slow the healing and lymphatic system, however the only treatment I know of that is used for staph infections is antibiotics which will make the fungus grow faster, so you're basically in a catch-22.

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Oh congrats Shoober!!

Thank you for the update and all the details on your products.  It is so nice to see that beautiful healed skin.

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Hey guys,

I've been following this thread for a few years as they started for me about 4 years ago when I took on a very stress job traveling cross country constantly @ 30.

I’m now 34. During this time I’ve seen multiple dermatologists & GP specialists and been diagnosed with SD, Hormonal Acne (PCOS), P&P Rosacea (prescribed Soolantra) and Hypothyroidism, for which I take Armour thyroid meds daily.

Ive tried Dapsone for the hormonal acne, which did nothing, and also was on YAZ BC for a while.

YAZ seemed to help acne around my jaw and chin, but seemed to make my SD and rosacea so much worse and also gave me recurring Yeast infections, so I had to stop.

I’ve gone down the path of FA safe products due to the SD diagnosis and they DID help, but never truly addressed the lesions I would get similar to so many photos show here, namely Shoober’s.


I was getting them in the exact same spots over and over: mountain peaks of lips, tip of nose, crease of chin (chin Identical to Shoober pics) and sometimes on my cheekbones or jawline( even sometimes in little clusters on the nape of my Neck). They would pop up seemingly overnight and I’d get a tingle or twitching in the area 24 hours before.


I suspected HS-1, which my derm disagreed from clinical presentation but gave me an RX for Acyclovir. Didn’t ever seem to do much but topical and oral Lysine DID help.


They also thought it was Discoid Lupus as another poster was diagnosed but refused to do biopsy to confirm due to scarring risks.


Sun and stress make it worse, as does my Diet (anything high in Arginine like chocolate grains or Beer), so I’m back to Lysine supplements and trying Valacyclovir daily to get the sores under control as other other areas of my skin are healthy and heeling.


What I’m getting at is I know for sure my skin situation is a combo of diagnosis not mutually exclusive of each other and there will never be one silver bullet. 4 years ago I rapidly ran down my immune system and adrenals with no regard for the consequences and the repair will not be overnight. Getting my hormones and inflammation under control (stress, food triggers like dairy) + treatment for the rosacea is working, so hopefully the antiviral will be the final key to healing.


And NO PICKING - seriously!


Shout out to @Shoober for the detailed pics and story. 

Hopefully sharing my experience can help someone else work through this.





Edited by Raych10.0
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Lymphomatoid papulosis might be good research for some here.

Doesn't seem to mention plugs but that could be a secondary issue?

Looks a lot different from my personal issues but I believe a few people here could benefit from the read. 


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17 hours ago, Shoober said:

Lymphomatoid papulosis might be good research for some here.

Doesn't seem to mention plugs but that could be a secondary issue?

Looks a lot different from my personal issues but I believe a few people here could benefit from the read. 


You're absolutely right.

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On 7/18/2019 at 4:36 AM, DiorDymondz said:

Posting to come back later. I’ve finally found a corner of the internet with shared symptoms. Incredible.


Posting to come back later. I’ve finally found a corner of the internet with shared symptoms. Incredible.

4 minutes ago, Redwine said:


Posting to come back later. I’ve finally found a corner of the internet with shared symptoms. Incredible.

How do you delete posts? Sorry for the sloppy post above with the erroneous quote.

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