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Facial Cysts with Ingrown Hair
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Facial Cysts with Ingrown Hair

Dr. Rockoff,

Have you ever heard of the type of situation I am facing?  I've been to 8 dermatologists, an endocrinologist, and an internist, but no one seems to be able to figure this one out!

I'm a 33 year old woman who always had "perfect" skin until I hit my thirties.  Over the past three or four years, I've experienced a steady stream of boils/cysts on my face - all on my jawline, as well as an occasional one on my forehead.  The breakouts intensify about one week before my period.

I've been put on various antibiotics...I've received cortisone shots...and have also taken prednisone, but to no avail.  My face will clear up, only to break out again - in the exact same places where the cysts previously appeared.

In the last year or so, the situation has become worse.  These welts are huge - and unbelievably painful.  Even though I know I am not supposed to pick at them, the pain is so bad, I have done so anyway.  And to my horror, I realized that not only is there pus inside these cysts, but hairs as well.  Some of these hairs are vellus.  Once I pulled out a vellus hair that was SIX inches long.  

In other cysts, the hairs are incredibly coarse, much thicker than hair anywhere else on a human body.  Most recently, I pulled out a 2-and-a-half inch coarse hair from a cyst on my forehead.  I didn't even know that hair could grow out of one's forehead!  The pain caused by these hairs is unreal - I truly believe they are getting wrapped up around nerves.  For instance, with this forehead welt, before I took out the hair, I touched the cyst - and the pain extended down to my eyebrow and all the way up to my scalp.

Once I extract the hair, much of the pain subsides... and the cyst is able to heal up and go away.  However, in a few months, the welts come back - in the exact same places.

When I went to the endocrinologist, he did not feel this was PCOS, because I do not have a broad pattern of male hair growth, just in selected places.  Also of note: I have been prescribed spironlactone but have not been on it for very long (3 months approx), and so do not know if this will be of much help.

So, my questions are:
* Should I have these cysts surgically removed?
* Should I go on accutane?
* Have you ever heard of long hairs within facial cysts?  If so, do you believe that the acne is stimulating the hair growth, or vice versa?

I am so discouraged - I feel I have tried everything possible to rid myself of this horrible acne - and, so, any advice you might have would be helpful.  Thanks!!
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You should not have these cysts removed--all you'll get for your trouble is scarring.

You should indeed consider taking Accutane.  You should also consider removing the hair: Vaniqa cream (Rx), depilatories, waxing, electrolysis, or laser.

Whatever you do, however, you must on no account pick or squeeze these lesions.  Further, you must stop extracting the hair.  I know this is a hard prescription to follow, but unless you stop, I can say with rueful confidecne that you just won't get better.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
21 Comments
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Dr. Rockoff,

Thank you so very much for your response.  

If I may ask you for just a bit more information... Do you have any insight as to WHY there is such extreme hair growth inside these cysts?  Have you ever heard of
this type of situation?

In other words, why don't I just have "regular" acne, with only pus inside the welts?  Would the accutane alone help with both the cysts AND the hair growth?

Thanks again for your advice.
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242489_tn?1210500813
I don't know why there is hair inside the cysts.  It's not somehting I've seen.  But it does point to the advisability of removing the hair permanently (electrolysis, laser.)

Dr. Rockoff
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My daughter is 36 and I really thought your letter was her when I started reading it. I'm sorry you've had not help from the dr's . She's coming across the same problem with finding anyone who believes or has seen this condition. you're totally right . It is not just your usual acne that accutane would necessarily solve. She's hopefully going to NY to see someone who is more familiar with this ingrown facial hair condition. if we hear from you we'll let you know results. signed Heart Break for any of you this is happening to
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Our e mail is rita.***@****
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I had facial laser surgery a year and a half ago and since then have had cysts all over my face.  I have also realized that they have long, long hairs in them and are verrrry painful.  The doctor has not said anything about these being caused from the laser surgery but he is going to fix the scars next month.  My face had not broken out since 1989 (accutane) before this happened.
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DOES ANYONE OUT THERE KNOW WHAT THIS HAIR THING IS? THERE'S GOT TO BE SOME ANSWER. MY DAUGHTER GOES THROUGH HELL EACH DAY OVER THIS.
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I'm with you.  It's very embarrasing and painful. So frustrating when doctors don't really look at it and just say it's acne.  I don't have a social life anymore - it's too gross.
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I am so happy to discover that I am not alone in this facial hair dilemma; Girlfriends, I am thirty two and started having this problem when i turned thirty. I had never seen anything like it and have tried several treatments, but have gotten no relief.it has been most frustrating! I get those same unsightly, painful bumps that have hair in them. I can't help but squeeze then-very bad habit, and so now my face has scars. Has any of you guys found a safe and natural treatment yet? do let me know. In the meanwhile, just know you're all not alone, and I am praying for us all that soon we'll be rid of this emotionally and physically distressing situation
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I am so happy to discover that I am not alone in this facial hair dilemma; Girlfriends, I am thirty two and started having this problem when i turned thirty. I had never seen anything like it and have tried several treatments, but have gotten no relief.it has been most frustrating! I get those same unsightly, painful bumps that have hair in them. I can't help but squeeze then-very bad habit, and so now my face has scars. Has any of you guys found a safe and natural treatment yet? do let me know. In the meanwhile, just know you're all not alone, and I am praying for us all that soon we'll be rid of this emotionally and physically distressing situation
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I am a 38 year old African American male who has encountered a similar problem beginning two years ago. In my situation, I don't have long hairs inside of the pustules, but hairs nontheless are present. I have been to 3 or 4 dermatologists who just want to prescribe oral antibiotics. I have tried multiple topical products for acne (if that's what it is) as well as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and facials. Problem is, the situation may improve for a while, but it returns in the same area and then all anyone can do is shake their head and say that they don't understand why this is happening.

At first I had this problem in my "goatee" area years ago, then it cleared up. Now, in the last few years, it has moved to my cheek area, where the dermatologists seem to think I have no hair. (I thought humans had hair all over their body!?) Anyway, it started on my right cheek, and I had no problem on my left side. After dealing with the painful bumps for months,(trying everything to pop them because that is the only way to get relief) it cleared up, only to move to the left side. I thought that it might be happening now because I sleep on my left side more often and that the pillow might be causing some clogging of the pores, but I just don't know.

My most recent dermatologist has me once again on antibiotics and just a very mild sensitive skin soap and is threatening accutance if it doesn't work.

Will accutane work for this situation? Does anyone know what this affliction is called? Are there any other treatments out there that don't cost an arm and a leg THAT WORK?

I am at the end of my rope.
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my daughter has not had any help from several drs she has gone to in the past few months. Does anyone else have diabetes or female problems ? My daughter has both. maybe we can find a common link here. Best wishes to all. Rita
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Hi, I got this problem too but I'm male and you all seem to be female.  Well I allways seem to have these ingrown hairs after I shave.  If i look closely in the mirror i can see the hair growing under the skin.  Typically what I do is get a pin or something to bring the hair to the skin then pluck it out with a tweezer.  However sometimes these hairs get so far deep inside they make a huge cyst that just hurts like crazy.  It is incredibly ugly to look at and feels like my face is throbbing from the blood flow or something (maybe i'm crazy). I once pulled one out that had to be over 10 inches long and I shave everyday so that thing must have been in there growing for like a month or so.  Anyone know of anything I can do for this?  I have Crohn's disease so I cannot take Accutane because it would be too harsh on my stomach.  I've tried every over the counter thing including Proactiv.   Thank you,

Joey
856-308-4813
if any of you girls want to call me and talk about these things or possibly hook up or something online give me a call.
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Hi,
    Im 30 years old and Ive had problems with ingrowns and cysts since 14. One thing Ive found is that smoking and drinking and drug use greatly effected the risk of problem skin.a big part, I believe,of the problem is what we put in our bodies. Keeping the skin  well-hydrated is crucial to good skin. LOts of water makes a big difference. Drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses everyday. dehydrated skin becomes wrinkly and hard,prohibiting pores to properly release toxins and thus become backed up or the hair get turned away from the surface, then the body responds to this sending white blood cells because bacteria has congregated. Your skin is kindof a barometer to the toxicity level of the body. My prob is now I have pitting in the cheek area that i need to get removed. Proactive does work!
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Try a product called tend skin. The problem you have is very common with Blacks and I have been dealing with it ever since I started shaving. WWW.tedskin.com. Its the only thing that Ive tried that works, and it does work great to stop the ingrown hairs.
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In an attempt to find my own answers for my facial bumps, though not the same as yours, I have found out a couple of things that do seem to be helpful for most people with basic bump problems. The use of a BHA lotion is very good since it exfoliates the skin but it also works inside the pore to keep it clean. I would think that 5 - 10% benzoyl peroxide would also help to kill any bacteria within the pore once exfolliated. Also I have become a believer about the importance of moisturizing the skin. Clearly I have fewer problems if I use a basic lotion such as Curel all over the body. Also Cetaphil or like cleansers, no toners, or other fancy stuff. Paula Begoun, author of "Don't Go To the Cosmetics Counter Without Me" has very good advice for skin care. She made it clear on a TV show that both men and women should shave with women's shave GELS because they are more moisturizing which was very important for people who do get facial hair growing back into the skin. Also double blade razors are horrendously hard on the skin of both male and female. The triple blades are better. Her site is cosmeticcop.com. For moisture and healing on my face, I have been using zinc oxide. It has been around for years, is cheap and really helps any boo-boo. For those of you w/the ingrown hair cysts, consider writing to Paula, she is a wealth of information and is working with top name doctors all the time, maybe she can supply an answer. I had cystic acne in my thirties and I can attest to how painful this stuff is. I was ready to do surgery on myself. Good luck to all. I've had acne and now these ? bumps since 5th grade and I'm 52 now. Guess I'll just do crumby skin with my grandsons when they hit their teens. Proactiv works because it does all the things suggested above.
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woah, i am totally in shock right now, i thought i was TOTALLY ALONE in this thing. i have had PERFECT skin all my life. then about a year ago, i would get one of these "visitors" on my face (right cheeK) and obviously try and pop the thing, because 1) it is crazy painful. 2) looks terrible. 3) its our first instinct as humans to rid ourselves of the things that shouldnt be there.  I am a 23 y.o male living in nyc, i have been sketching over these "unwanted guests" for a long time, they will clear up for ab0out a week or two then around my cheek, and now my chin. i am using mach3 raz0rs? should i switch? and what do i do after i shave thats when they get the worst, and i do exfoliate. i buy every product possible at the drug store. This moring i spent 87 dollars the drug store. on facial junk only. so what do i do? who do i talk to. i dont have insurance, and i already went to the emergancy room twice for this, and 900 dollars in bills later. i need to do something; anything.

if anyone is in NYC or with ANY insight on what i could do to avoid selling myself on the street for creams  and ointments

also please contact me throuh email at
***@****

thanks hope to hear somoething soon...
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Avatar_n_tn
woah, i am totally in shock right now, i thought i was TOTALLY ALONE in this thing. i have had PERFECT skin all my life. then about a year ago, i would get one of these "visitors" on my face (right cheeK) and obviously try and pop the thing, because 1) it is crazy painful. 2) looks terrible. 3) its our first instinct as humans to rid ourselves of the things that shouldnt be there.  I am a 23 y.o male living in nyc, i have been sketching over these "unwanted guests" for a long time, they will clear up for ab0out a week or two then around my cheek, and now my chin. i am using mach3 raz0rs? should i switch? and what do i do after i shave thats when they get the worst, and i do exfoliate. i buy every product possible at the drug store. This moring i spent 87 dollars the drug store. on facial junk only. so what do i do? who do i talk to. i dont have insurance, and i already went to the emergancy room twice for this, and 900 dollars in bills later. i need to do something; anything.

if anyone is in NYC or with ANY insight on what i could do to avoid selling myself on the street for creams  and ointments

also please contact me throuh email at
***@****

thanks hope to hear somoething soon...
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I have a similar problem I have been dealing with, though not on my face, they are on my upper thighs.  I had bad acne as a teenager and young adult.  I started using St. Ives apricot scrub, cleared me right up.  I have no break outs anymore.  I started using the scrub on my thighs, I have had no new breakouts since using the scrub.  It's worth a try.  And even if there are no cysts, I still use the scrub to make sure that no new ones appear.   I think the hair folicle gets clogged, the scrub gets rid of dead skin and keeps the folicle open.  Good luck, I feel for all of you.
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I currently have a cyst on my forehead. I first got it about three weeks ago, where after 2 weeks it went away, and now it is back in the same exact place. There is a vain on everyone's forehead that is on the right side, right over the brow extending to the top of the scalp. The cyst is exactly over this vain and I can completely feel it throbbing on the vain. I tried to extract it today, and I got a good amount of puss out of it. The puss came out quite easily as well without too much pressure. Was it a good idea to pop this cyst? or should I go see if I can get a cortisone shot?

What I'm afraid of is that by me extracting it, I may have irritated the cyst more, thereby making more bacteria inflame the cyst.

Please give me some feedback as how to remove this god awful thing. Also, the only medications I use are some salycylic acid topical solution which I use only when I see acne and a daily facial wash.
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Wow! I am completely in shock! We are all starting to sound like a broken record but I am another person that suffers from this nightmare :( I am a female with red hair. Hence, I have really sensitive skin. I have always had acne since as far back as I can remember. But since I have turned 24,25. and in about a month 26....my acne has gotten out of control! I have the painful, horrid looking cysts with like everyone says some kinda of hair inside of it and sometimes something that looks and feels like a seed? I have them on my forehead, on my chin, around my jawline, in the middle of my back, and I have really bad in-grown hairs on my legs that get infected easily. I have to admit I am a "picker" and I am not proud of it. But as everyone says... "Even if you leave it alone then it just gets biggger and more painful" :( I have spent A LOT of my money on cleansers, lotions, scrubs, vitamins, and I am currently back on birth control. It got a little better when I was on birth control before but definitely not cured...it always comes back and in the same spots. When I was younger I had a cyst on my face that just showed up out of nowhere...oddly enough this one did not hurt but my mother thought it was hideous so I had it removed. And then one time, actually on New Years I had a cyst or something right in the bridge of my nose a little to the right. I was so determined not to go to the party with a creature on my nose. So I spent hours picking at it and nothing really came out but I looked like someone did an experiment on me and it went terriably wrong. It got so infected that I had to be taken to the hospital because I got a staff infection :(  Has anybody else ever had a staff infection? I am starting to think there might a link because once you have it..it stays with you forever kinda like mono.Now here I am years later and still dealing with the same problem. I just got some proactive and I have not used it long enough to see a difference yet. And I am back on my birth control because it seemed to help at least a little. I have found that cetaphil for sensitve skin works great for me as a cleanser, keep moisturized is another key factor, and I know this sounds odd but it works: using vicks vapor rub on the painful cysts (whereever they may be) really helps dry up whatever is causing the problem and it numbs the pain as well. I am so glad that I am not crazy and there are others out there that suffer with this "condition"as well. I talked to my doctor but I have not seen a dermatologist yet. I think that will be my next plan if proactive does not work. I am afraid to take some of the treatments though because they have so many side-effects. "No more acne but I have exploding diarhea (diarrhea)." Sorry I have to laugh about this because I am on the verge of becoming a hermit. Oh and yes I have seen that smoking makes it worse. Also, when you wash your face, wash it with a really warm (not hot because that will cause dryouts and those lead to extra oily skin and then the nightmare begins all over again) However, the warm water will open up the pores so you can do some deep cleaning. Then when you are done washing, wipe your face with a cold or cool washcloth and that will close your pores. I think that is all that I have come across so far other than using peroxide for boo boos. I am sorry to hear that there are others that have to suffer through this as well. But it was also comforting to know I am not the only one, there are people out there that understand and are doing the best they can to help us all find a way to fight this creature condition.

I wish everyone luck and please if anyone finds anything else out...no matter what it might be...I think I speak for us all when I say we will gladly try it because we have tried everything else...and we just want some relief no matter what we have to do...
Distressed and awake in Alabama :( *sigh*
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A related discussion, Female facial hair and Acne as a result of PCOS was started.
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A related discussion, Me too!!!! was started.
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I see a pattern..... 30+ and hormones and stress ingrown hairs, coming back in the same place.... I've even gone to the extreme of putting hand sanitizer on my face! Alchol, hydrogen peroxide you name it!!! Also I find this tones down the oil on my face!! Even hemroid cream! LOL no joke I'll try everything to try to get rid of these unsightly pus filled cysts!! Help I'm going insane!!!!!!
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A facial steamer also helps relieve the pain of these cysts!!!!
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A related discussion, This is awful! was started.
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A related discussion, PLEASE HELP was started.
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A related discussion, Cysts with hairs was started.
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A related discussion, facial cysts with fine hairs was started.
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