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Bumps on face with sand-like crystals inside
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Bumps on face with sand-like crystals inside

I have several bumps on my face that I recently one opened up and found a very hard, sand-like grain inside that is yellowish-white in color.  They are pretty well attached and do not squeeze out, had to practically cut them out with a hypodermic needle tip.  They start out small and enlarge until there is a bump which is noticable.  What causes these and how do I avoid getting more of them?  Thanks for your help.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi

This may be a form of acne probably nodular in type. They may also be white heads. You may need to have this assessed by a dermatologist. I do not advise that you pick on these by yourself as this may only cause skin infections and further irritation.

If this is acne, refrain from touching the face. You may only irritate the skin and facilitate spread of bacteria.

Have you  been experiencing these for quite some time now?

Any known triggers?
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Avatar_n_tn
Vanessa,

I forgot to mention that I am 50 years old, have not had acne for some 30 years.  These grains of "sand" are completely under the skin, with no redness or pustules on the surface.  They do not itch.  The only thing I see is the bump.  

I have had them for several years, but seem to bet getting a few more smaller ones.  I have an older sister that has many all over her face.  She had some removed but said it was too painful to have any more done.  They do not go away on her, either.  She has dry skin, I had oily skin as an adolescent but is not as oily now.

After I removed 3 of them I have had no problems, just a scab that has pretty much healed after a week.  I did cleanse the area well prior to and after.  There was quite a bit of bleeding following removal.  

No triggers that I can think of.  They do not just appear, like acne does. They have been there many years, I just decided to try to get one out because it had gotten so large and very noticable on my cheek.  My son thinks they could be some kind of calcium deposits that grow over time, since they have the consistency of sand - who knows ???  

Thanks
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi

Thank you for the update.

Do you have similar skin condition in other parts of the body like the elbows, ears or the toes?

I would suggest that you have blood tests done to determine uric acid levels. Serum calcium levels and other electrolytes may also be necessary. A urinalysis to determine urinary uric acid levels may also be of help.

At this point , microscopic evaluation of these "sandlike" discharge from the bumps may give a diagnosis.

Is there any history of kidney disease or gout in the family?
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Vanessa,

No other places, but may be on on my chest.

My father is known to have had kidney stones.  I may have passed a bladder stone several years ago, and had recent symptoms of a possible stone but no diagnostic tests to indicate anything except for trace red blood cells on urine dip and some kidney pain last year.  

I may have had some gouty arthritis a few years ago in my large toe, but cleared up with discontinuing daily intake of high-fat dairy (ice cream) and eating red cherries every day.  Nothing since or prior to that.  I do, however, was diagnosed with psoriasis on my scalp last year, with the problem being present for the past 2-3 years.  I may have psoriatic arthritis starting to appear in my lower extremities (mother had psoriasis, brother has it, and my son has it),  don't know if that would have anything to do with it ???  

Thank you your replies and suggestions.  I will take your advice and seed medical attention for the blood and urine tests, and a biopsy.  

Have a great night.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi

This history you just posted appear to be contributory to what you have. As for the psoriatic lesions and arthritis, I can not say if the facial bumps are associated with this. Yes, do have this further assessed. I do not think this is an isolated skin condition. There seems to be a connection among all these disease conditions you have. The presence of a significant family history appears to be a factor also.

Drink plenty of water and exercise everyday to improve circulation.

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Avatar_f_tn
Sounds like a Milia. Its a fairly hard ball of oil the collects under the skin where there is no pore to squeeze it out through.  They are white but not usually as hard as sand. Usually occur under the thin skin under the eyes.  They come out easily if they are new. Just poke a hole and scoop it out with the needle. Older ones become attached and u have to dig them out by cutting behind them with the side of the needle tip. Hope this helps. ***@****
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Avatar_m_tn
I have this same problem, This is the first person I have found that is also dealing with this. they are like hard crystalized stones down under the skin, not like whiteheads. I kept a couple to show my family. It is just on my face mostly around the inner cheek area.  I am 62 and remember that I started getting them when I was pregnant with my second son who is now 33, they never went away.  I have (or had) Prolactinemia where my pituitary gland produced too much prolactin.  At the time of the pregnancy I didn't know I had this, and had trouble getting pregnant with my 3rd child.  Once we found this out I took Parlodel to cut down my prolactin level which helped me to get pregnant.  I did not take the drug while pregnant though.  My guess is the high level of prolactin caused the bumps?  I do have oily skin (not as oily as it used to be).  I have been having some removed because my daughter is getting married in August, but it has been a long process, I wish there was another way to remove them.  The doctor said they look like calcifications of some kind but didn't know what caused it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have this too. I have been to many dermatologist and estheticians all of whom tried to treat them like milia, there not. They can not be cut and squeezed out. I finally found an esthetician who will dig them out. Once she picks the skin away and they are exposed, they are still attached. She was amazed at the crystalline nature. Although there is quite a bit of digging, I've not gotten significant scars.

I started getting these when I was older and have never been pregnant.

If anyone find out what this is, especial what causes it, please let me know.

***@****
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1104288_tn?1257950705
I have had the same thing, and I'm in my early 60's. They begin as red bumps, and they're very sore.  When I remove the crystals that are like salt  with some adherences, they feel as sore as glass splinters.  After I remove however many are in an area, they heal and as they are quite superficial, the scarring isn't too significant.  I had them primarily on my nose and around my mouth area, and along my marionette line to the jaw.  I've seen 2 dermatologists, and they both don't know what it is.  As I've had a few sessions of Restylane and Juvederm fillers, I thought it might be related but the doctor's said no.  They also told me, that I shouldn't remove them, that they will dissolve on their own.  I doubt this.  I'm in the medical skin care business and I teach aestheticians to do chemical peels, so I'm quite educated in dermatology.  This is definitely a unique condition,and I'm usually very against extractions with pimples and blackheads, but these are too painful to leave in.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm looking this up because I cannot afford professional care for something superficial... thanks for your input. You are in the professional skin care business and are saying this is rather unique. I find myself scratching these bumps off. My 20 yo daughter, who is getting them also, and I believe they could be related to our water. We drink filtered tap water. So.. no one has a suggested product that might discourage the formation of these.salt crystals or grains of sand in the skin?
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Avatar_m_tn
I have crystals popping out my forehead.Have you looked into Morgellons disease?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 59 and have suffered with a very similar problem. It has spread since the initial very sore red lump on the upper chin under my lip. This cleared after months and now is in three spots of the chin that are painful and hard to hide.
I describe it as `tiny shards of glass`. Using a mirror outside in the sun once to look at them I literally saw a prism-like spectrum of colors on a tiny piece of this whatever it is. The skin oozes clear fluid which hardens shiny forming deep vertical and horizontal lines, mostly at a slight angle, making the patches appear very wrinkled, but it happened within a couple of days,not years. The dermatologist wouldn't let me tell him anything, said `this should take care of the crusts` and gave me Bactroban.
This has made me miserable.
Anything sound familiar to anyone?
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Avatar_f_tn
I was very glad to see these posts. I am 62 and have had this condition for at least 20 years. I have never talked to anyone else who has the same condition. I have had these crystal filled bumps on all parts on my face but my chin has mostly been affected. I had a skin peel a few years ago because my doctor thought it might help the condition. It did not help. I have never had them professionally removed; I did not know that was even possible. I have noticed that eventually the crystals work themselves toward the outer layer of the skin and come out, but new ones quickly take their place. I really hope someone knows what causes this problem and what type of treatment would help.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have similar crystal forming on my hands, feet, and scalp. I am a microbiologist and have access to a microscope. My crystals are very shiny and look metallic. I first thought it as glitter. The shape of the crystals are always hexagonal with lines in them. I found a much larger crystal a few months ago that had 2 smaller nested crystals inside it. I researched glitter on the internet and found that it is usually made of aluminum. I tried to dissolve them in 6M HCl and6 M NaOH. Neither chemicals did anything to the crystal. Must not be made of aluminum. As mentioned earlier, it could be morgellons ( a non-disease affecting many people around the world ).
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had this happen too. They are not attached as some of the other people describe, but rather are like tiny shards of golden glass. I have never fiured out what they are.
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