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White bulb in hair follicle
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White bulb in hair follicle

I used to have regular acne, but that has generally gone away now.  However, I now have this similar condition (but only on one half of my neck), where I get these hard white little bumps at the base of a hair.  I usually puck the hair out, which usually pulls a portion of this white thing out of my skin.  I usually then tweeze that out, which is very painful, but provides an instant relief once removed.  I would describe what I pull out as something that looks like a small piece of white rice.  It is long, thin, and incredibly tough - once removed it leaves a little hole in my skin which takes a few days to heal.

I have been to several doctors who all just say "ingrown hairs."  However, sometimes I get these in a follicle where there is no hair growing, but just this white thing.  I also tend to get them in groups.  Usually if I find one, there are a couple others nearby.  

I have been on antibiotics and pretty much every topical there is, but they just never seem to stop.  Please help!
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There is no need for you to pull your hairs out by the follicles.  The "white rice" is the follicle.  When you pull the hair out by the follicle, you get an inflamed pimple or swelling, which looks like acne a bit but is actually mechanical (because you're pulling the hair.)  Feeling an intense need to pull out hairs followed by "instant relief" is a symptom not of skin disease but of obsessive-compulsive disorder.  The prospect of seeing a psychiatrist about this---there are drugs that can help quite a bit--may not seem attractive, but dermatologists alone can't help, as you've already seen.

If you can force yourself not to pull the hairs out (as in never, not once), then you will see that over a 3-month period that your skin should heal completely.

Good luck.

Dr. Rockoff
7 Comments
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I shoud have speified and said instant "physical" relief.  I am able to find where they are by touching the skin around my neck - then sometimes there is a sharp painful area, which is of course where I find one of these follicles.  Once I pull it out, that sharp pain is gone.

I have considered obsessive-compulsive disorder, but If I just leave them alone, they sit in there and cause pain.  Also, if these are the follicles themselves that I am pulling out, are they infected or something?  They must be, because only the follicles in this area of neck are large white bulbs like that.  
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James, I just pulled something out of my arm that sounds exactly like what you describe. Hard, white, looks like a small piece of rice, had the same consistency as fingernail or toenail, between 1/16 and an 1/8 inch long. Looks like I pulled it out of a hair follicle but there was no hair, just that hard white thing. Also left a small hole.

Also this sounds very similar: http://*****************/question/index?qid=20081110000056AA3TC7n

But I was never bitten by any thing. Maybe it is an infected hair follicle or something.

Dr. Rockoff,

No disrespect, but my experience sounds almost exactly like James' did, and I am very certain it was not just a normal hair follicle, nor do I think I have OCD. Can you think of any other possibilities?
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