What are these facial nodules and how can I get rid of them?
June 12, 2014 12:44 PM   Subscribe

What is the rough pebbly texture that has shown up on my face in the last couple years, and can it be treated?

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Profile: Late-30s male who has always had problems with adult acne and some mild rosacea (I bumped the Levels on these photos and it makes the rosacea look worse).

In the last few years, I've noticed small bumps that roughen the appearance of the skin on either side of my face and it's unlike my typical acne which surfaces, develops a whitehead, pops, then disappears. These are tiny, pebbly little bumps and I'm curious if anyone has gotten them with age, identified them, or had success getting them treated with something like microdermabrasion. Or maybe other treatments?
posted by deern the headlice to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like keratosis pilaris. Very common. I used to get it on my arms. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid creams helped quite a lot.
posted by kmennie at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

You already know you have rosacea? Those bumps could be another symptom of your rosacea. See a dermatologist to find out your treatment options.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

I have those too and my dermatologist said it is from rosacea. She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic lotion (sulfacetamide?) that has helped reduce the appearance.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2014

Response by poster: (Sorry, I should add I will see a dermatologist in a few weeks, but not sure she deals with cosmetic treatments, mainly just standard acne stuff. In the meantime, I was just hoping to get possible identifiers (like "keratosis pilaris" above) to research possible treatments.)
posted by deern the headlice at 1:05 PM on June 12, 2014

Seriously, a dermatologist can and will prescribe different treatments for rosacea. This is what dermatologists do. Mine prescribed Finacea and clindamycin gel, both of which help, in addition to oral antibiotics that didn't happen to work for me. There are other treatments as well.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 1:07 PM on June 12, 2014

Yeah, this is standard for rosacea, I'm afraid. There's as many treatments as there are people with rosacea, its very hit and miss and best you can really hope for is a reduction in symptoms.

I find Olay age resisting cloth masks soften them but doesn't get rid of them completely. Also avoiding rosacea triggers obviously and using only unscented skin care products.
posted by missmagenta at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2014

Response by poster: I have used creams for mild rosacea but nothing has affected the actual bumps.

Has anyone received a treatment that actually breaks them down / flattens / removes them?
posted by deern the headlice at 3:46 PM on June 12, 2014

Could it be 'milium'? If so, an esthetician can easily remove the deposits. Mine uses a sharp tool and "pops" them out. Bonus: facials are amazing!
posted by Milau at 4:25 PM on June 12, 2014

Has anyone received a treatment that actually breaks them down / flattens / removes them?

Yes! Microdermabrasion with glycolic peel. I'm going in for my 2nd treatment this weekend. Yes it is expensive ($150 a pop) but I can attest that it does work.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 4:43 PM on June 12, 2014

I just this week started using Dermatologica's ultracalming line for these bumps (and the *maddening* redness). It's only been 3 days, but so far, great results. The redness is almost totally gone, and the bumps have really decreased as well. There is a little starter pack on Amazon for like $32.

(I was using First Aid Beauty which didn't work at all, so I'm sending it all back to Sephora)
posted by getawaysticks at 4:53 PM on June 12, 2014

i vote sebaceous hyperplasia. i have them all over my face and it's pretty disappointing as the treatment options are a) lasers might work, b) nothing, c) don't get them. if they have a small depression in the center it's most likely SH. some studies have shown that long term usage of tazorac "prevents" new SH from occuring and decreases the appearance of present SH, but i didn't have any luck. almost all dermatologists should be able to talk to you about this issue on your face whether it be SH, KP, or something else. it's not cosmetic, it's a pathology.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:12 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've had moderate success with chemical peels and really good luck with getting a couple of them zapped with a laser. Both at the doctor's office, avoid the spa types.
posted by stormygrey at 7:52 PM on June 12, 2014

I vote sebaceous hyperplasia too. I started getting a few nodules in my mid-thirties; apparently they're quite common if you have oily skin and incurred a fair amount of sun damage in your youth. They suck. I haven't seen a dermatologist, but two different GPs told me there were no real solutions to SP.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:50 PM on June 12, 2014

Thirding sebaceous hyperplasia. The disorder is most common in people over 50, but I started developing nodules in my teens. Do you have super oily skin? If so, you're probably a new member of the SH club. Treatment options do suck. I've had my hyperplasias electrocauterized a couple of times (ouch!) and am looking into a repeat appointment in the near future.
posted by terrierhead at 10:10 PM on June 12, 2014

I found sunscreen makes the hyperplasia worse. I've had them burned off before. They come back.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:21 AM on June 13, 2014

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