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Picking Scabs

Plug Puller , 03 Sep 2014

White Stretchy Plugs

I've always squeezed bumps and blemishes on my skin, but recently I've gone through a period of work-related stress. I was off work for 2 months, during which time my picking and squeezing got worse. I had lots of blemishes on my chest which I squeezed and picked until I had a few nasty little wounds. One of them became quite deep, and I discovered that when I picked the scab off there were a few little white pinhead shapes under it, in the wound. They were screaming out to me to be picked out, but I couldn't do it by hand - I had to use tweezers. Sometimes I found I would need a wool needle to ease the white thing out a bit before the tweezers could get hold of them. When I pulled, a white elasticy thing would stretch and then come out. It was about 2mm long. It was VERY satisfying to pull it out, so I looked for some more in my skin. This made my picking worse, and I now find I am thinking of it quite a lot of the day. I am longing to pull more stretchy white things out of my skin. I put up with quite a bit of discomfort and pain just to get the satisfaction of pulling out these stretchy white plugs. To heal my wounds I use Savlon antiseptic liquid, and they begin to dry up quite quickly. But this is the most tempting time to pick - the scab becomes very crusty and itchy, and I see little white bumps underneath which could be those white plugs I long to pull out. They are itchy and I am dying to pull them out!
430 Answers
September 03, 2014
Hi, this makes me want to look for some lol! I think I saw this being discussed in another topic, have a look for one called "whats underneath your scab" and I think the other was something like "does anyone know what im talking about because I have no idea" x
September 19, 2014

In reply to by Katpippy

You are correct that is the other post about these plugs. I think I know what they are and I'll tell you how I've "cured" them using De La Cruz sulfur ointment. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I believe these plugs are glands that supply the skin with oil. They're firmly rooted to the flesh deep beneath the upper layers of skin so that's why the spot bleeds when they are pulled out. I found that if I remove all the plugs that I see (or feel) and then treat it with sulfur ointment, the wound will quickly dry up. It's just a matter of not picking the scab for about 24-48 hours during the healing. I know how hard it is to resist but believe me it works./// For me, these glands move toward the surface when there is a break in the skin that is usually caused by a pimple. Since we are pickers, we can't resist popping pimples and removing everything inside them. The irony is that these plugs are beneath the pimple and belong where we see them. Picking them out only makes it worse by allowing us to see more of them. By making the wound larger, we have access to even more and it can take months to heal./// I've tried just about everything and only the sulfur ointment has worked for me. If I get a pimple, I treat it several times with the ointment for a day or so and it simply goes away. I used to pop it and clean it out but that's exactly how the glands get to the surface. Not only does the ointment dry up the pimple but I've found that after a couple of days I can very carefully remove the dried layers of skin and sometimes even remove the dried up gland. It comes out with little resistance and looks like a dried up and deflated core!
August 19, 2016

It's DEMODEX!!! I spent the last 3 damn years figuring this skin infection issue out!!

I saw the dermatologist that diagnosed me with papulopustular rosacea. I then researched this and found out about demodex which is a likely cause! These are lil white plugs that if picked at turn into scabs.

Underneath the scab is demodex. sometimes one larger one and sometimes MANY small ones. There are 2 kinds that live on your face. They look like lil white black heads but aren't and they itch and you feel the need to scratch and pick.

This is an over infestation of these creepy crawlies that live in our skin ...every month or so u end up with a breakout but otherwise skin is healthy. If you try to pop them they get worse. I found plucking them with tweezers helps but takes a long time and your face will look like shit! However, they don't go away til every last plug (or demodex) is gone.

The CURE!! Dun dun dun..... TEA TReE OIL!!! Buy shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and 100% tea tree oil.. please look up the correct ways of using tea tree oil because that is very important.

I am doing my treatment as we speak and the last few weeks my face has been sore red and peeling. This is a good thing because it's like Lazer treatment getting rid of that old yukky skin and regenerating new fresh skin! This helps bring them to the surface so you can kill them with 100% tea tree oil when they are doused in it. So it helps bring to surface and then kill them. I would recommend using 100% directly on the breakout (after removing the scab) so that it gets them good. Also, after using 100% on breakouts i use rose water and witch hazel to further help dilute the tea tree and sooth my face.

I wish you all luck!!! My face is getting better every day and the best part ....even though it still hurts is that the tea tree and the peeling skin helps get rid of the scarring from previous breakouts!

August 19, 2016

Also I heard that sulfure treatments help too! However, if it is demodex sulfure will prob only help with any puss from squeezing and irritation--It won't kill them gone! The only thing that is effective is 100% alcohol or tea tree oil! ;)

August 25, 2016

May also be morgellons. You wouldn't be able to pull the oil gland out.

September 10, 2016

I had one that ( your correct) even with hemisyats you count remove

September 15, 2016

I also have these white stretchy plugs. I've been paying closer attention to them now. I've had this problem for aprox 15 years. I'm so tired of it. It's humiliating I finally broke down and took photos with my iPhone after I found a large one on my upper arm. It looks like these plugs are something with suction cups on them. I have also noticed they come out white and seem to "die" harden after being in my skin. They dry up about 45 minutes after being pulled out of my skin. has anyone else noticed this?

September 15, 2016

I've been to a couple of dermatologist with no help. One told me I was basically crazy and have morgellans the other just said your doing this to yourself stop picking. These things are extremely painful. I need help I have tried the fungus approach and no results tea tree oil was no help either. I can't wear short sleeve shirts without people staring.

October 04, 2016

Ok I've tried this and I'm posting a copy of what I posted to another site since I couldn't copy and paste what I typed.

October 23, 2016

Has anyone come across aquired perferating dermatosis?? I started developing these white plugs around the time I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Hormone replacement therapy caused me to start breaking out and the white plugs and sores that last for months appeared. However, any kind of skin trauma that I receive (bug bites, ingrown hairs, scrapes, etc.) prompt the plugs to appear. I've been under dermatological care for over five years and I've been told the same things everybody else has: stop picking, just leave them alone and they will heal, it might seem a little unusual but it's not unheard of, etc. i've had two biopsies and the only results were lichen simplex cronicitus(the result of excess sctatching). Honestly, I believe the dermatologists gave up on me a long time ago and don't take me seriously at all. They even referred me to a psychiatrist and I obliged, but they never made the effort to follow up. I've treated these just like everybody else with everything but the kitchen sink. I've tried: Teatree oil, antifungal cream's, dandruff shampoo, clove oil, calamine lotion, aloe, Vicks vapor rub, sulfur, psoriasis cream's, Coconut oil, salt, bleach baths, hydrogen peroxide, herbal supplements, A multitude of vitamins, vitamins, high doses of vitamin C, MSM, Neosporin, benzol peroxide, salicylic acid, hydrocolloid bandages, iodine, Betadine, baking soda compresses in scrubs, doxycycline, rubbing alcohol, minocycline, thuja(oral and topical), retin-a, Apple cider vinegar, Manuka honey patches, steroid injections, hydrocortisone cream, and even urine(out of sheer desperation)! There of been things that seem to work for a little while and stop things that don't work at all and things that exacerbate the problem. The few things that help are: bleach baths about three times a week, calamine lotion mixed with iodine left on overnight, hydrocolloid bandages, vicks vapor rub and alcohol and urine. The trick for me is to stay well hydrated and to dry them out without trying out the scab. That's a pretty tricky thing to do. By staying hydrated helps the body push the plugs out and using a drying agent helps to shrink them down and keeping the scab low and somewhat moist allows it bit by bit to push the plugs out. If the scab gets too thick it gets completely trapped. Though in order to do it by this method it requires daily maintenance to each scab peeling off that only dead portions that are not attached to any healthy skin that could possibly be removed with the scab. If the sore is opened up it re-inflames everything all over again. And I agree with your previous poster that they dry up very quickly once they are removed if you just go in and dig for the plug(which I do if they hurt really bad). What ihave noticed my observations is that it only affects traumatized skin. So if you have one and while digging around for it you hurt the skin around it then more plugs form. And again if it all during any point messing with them the skin is reopened it causes all of the plugs to re-inflame. It also seems that no matter what is done they still need to run their full course which is usually anywhere from 2 to 3 months for me per lesion. Now back to the pee; from what I understand human urine has about 5% uriac acid, more or less. Scientists a while back have created a synthetic uriac acid which I've been able to find in some employment type foot creams. This coupled with bleach baths have been so far the cleanest and most effective treatment for me. The uriac acid helps to break down the material and keep down the inflammation of the plugs whilst sloughing off the excess of the scab and keeping it moist enough to allow the plug to be eliminated(eventually). Back to acquired perforating dermatosis a.k.a. acquired perforating collagenous. This is something that I encourage everyone to look up and possibly talk with your doctor about. I recently lost health insurance and cannot afford to go back to the dermatologist and honestly I've been so jaded with healthcare professionals that I cringe at the idea of having to talk with them about this again! With acquired perforating dermatosis lesions form abnormal amounts of kerototic material with a Central adherent plug. they're usually very itchy but not painful. Lesions self improve after three months generally. There is no cure and no set treatment, but they have found some things that work: allopurnol, oral and topical retinoids, UVB treatments, doxycycline, high doses of vitamin A-to name a few.

What I can tell you guys for sure is that I do not have morgellons, I do not have ringworm, I do not have parasites, I do not have molluscum contagiosum, I do not have a neurotic picking disorder, but what I do you have is destroying me from the outside in and the inside out.

I sincerely hope that somebody is able to figure this out. I, like you, have run across post after post after post on many different websites pertaining to this. Yet, not one single person has an answer. Some people of had this problem for a year or two, some people of had it for 25 years. I know myself, I can't imagine living with this for one more year much less 20 more....

October 25, 2016

Frustratedandfe..., thank you for sharing!

I desperately suffer from the same condition.

Do you think that might be fungal?
Recently I found information on Pityrosporum (Malassezia) folliculitis, describing something similar:
Splendore-Hoeppli phenomenon in Pityrosporum folliculitis (pseudoactinomycosis of the skin)

And more:
“Involved follicles are dilated and often plugged with keratinous material and debris. There is a mild chronic inflammatory cell infiltrate around the infundibular portion of the follicle. Intrafollicular deposits of mucin are sometimes present. If serial sections are examined, disruption of the follicular epithelium is sometimes found, with basophilic granular debris, keratinous material, neutrophils, and other inflammatory cells in the perifollicular dermis . A few foreign-body giant cells may also be present when rupture of the follicle has occurred. A PAS or silver methenamine stain will reveal spherical to oval yeast-like organisms, 2–4 µm in diameter. These organisms are sometimes budding. They are found most often in the follicle, but following rupture they can also be found in the perifollicular inflammatory exudate. Sometimes a few hyphae can also be seen. Pseudoactinomycotic granules have been reported in two cases.”

Its and abstract from Pityrosporum (Malassezia) folliculitis description from here:

January 26, 2017

In reply to by Aenika

They are a type of wart it took me 2 years and a variety of doctors to figure it out but finally got a dermatologist that knew what they were and he froze one off me. I did not believe him until it fell off and it looked like a jellyfish. And the white spots are spikes under the skin that feed the wart. I had a total of around 15 removed from my arms and legs. Every time you pick at them and then pick at another regular cut or scratch you spread them all over. They are as my doctor says very contagious little ugly buggers

November 11, 2016

I have never posted anything online, but felt I need to here because I have suffered with the same issues. I believe what I have is caused by a wart virus that most doctors have not yet seen. These scabs and sores act like warts in that they will heal if they are smothered. I think that the white plugs are some sort of root and that when picked, they are opened and revived again. I believe this because I have read a ridiculous number of posts and everyone has tried everything for staph, fungi, and bacteria. Viruses will not respond to any of those treatments. I have been using Manuka Oil on my face for about one week and almost every one of my scabs/sores are gone. I wish I had before and after pictures to share with you. The Manuka Oil dries these things up AS LONG AS YOU DON'T PICK and you will want to. The Manuka Oil makes them perfect for picking!! I had 3 deep sores that are still healing after a full week of using the oil. These white plugs actually came out after using the oil. I've seen them on my fingertips when putting the oil on my face. My face has not looked this good in years. Every day I would warm my face with a washcloth and put the Manuka Oil on the affected areas. I did this several times a day when I could. I hope it does wonders for you too!

December 07, 2016

I don't know what you have pal. I had some big problems with skin but not like yours. I have read a lot of posts about skin stuff and maybe you will find about your disease here but I don't promise they have some cure or 100% answer for you. At least it's something I can offer for you

Plug Puller
December 12, 2016

I discovered that these white stretchy plugs are hair follicles. I have loads of photos of them, and they are bursting with sebum, but soon dry up when they have been pulled out.

January 24, 2017

I am looking for posts of people with these symptoms and posting my answer in hopes it can help some of you. Discoid lupus! I finally got diagnosed and have started Plaquenil and high SPF sunblock every day. It has been a life saver! Blood work was done and showed a positive ANA. Cascade test done and showed the lupus. It isn't bugs, fungus, yeast, aliens, mental illness,'s an autoimmune disease with a treatment!

February 12, 2017

So I've been dealing with this for over 20 years. A few days ago I googled staph infections and saw pics with the exact same plugs. I was astonished. and Hibiclens was the cure. Even for MRSA. Could I have had a low grade stash infection for this long? Or was I reinfecting myself routinely? At this point, I didn't care, I just wanted it to end. I got Hibiclens from CVS, dampened my face with warm water and then massaged Hibiclens into my face for a few mins. And then I left it on there for another 10 mins. Then I used a towel doused in warm water to wipe it off. Once my face was completely dry, all my previous open sores where I had picked were getting tight and drying up. Even if they still had plugs in them. My face looked better than it had in years! I researched more & began washing my sheets and pillow cases daily with bleach, and I only used towels one time before washing them. I'm on day 4 and only change my pillow cases daily, and my skin is so soft and 99% CLEAR. My dumbass dermatologists put me on all kinds of crap, and I was just about to start accutane -- and I fixed my life-long acne problem myself for $12.
Just to be in the safe side, I also smeared a little neosporin in my nostrils, which is where staph colonizes. I didn't want to risk reinfection & I wanted to kill it all. Just give Hibiclens a try. I honestly changed my life.

February 12, 2017

I agree that hibiclens helps. I thought i had a cyst on my chin but once it started draining it turned way worse. I've been using hibiclens and antibiotic ointment on it. I know realize I've probably bern creating these infections myself by squeezing and digging into them. Warm moist heat will help draw eveything to the surface. Just be sure to not reuse anything! My chin is already looking way better. Woke up with it a little crusty again but the area doesn't feel warm anymore

February 19, 2017

It's been 6 months since I posted here. I initially recommended using tea tree oil but I found it is very harsh for your skin.

I have the same skin issues (I think) as others mention. Skin issues that I have been dealing with for almost 4 years. It starts with a little bump, then it gets painful, hot, and even caused headaches. When I try to pop them they grow bigger and scab. Underneath the scab is little while cluster of plugs. My dermatologist has told me this is demodex infestation.

I am currently taking acutane to "cure" these. I have tried so many soaps, ointments, tetracycline...someone mentioned staph and yes they easily turn to staph for me as well (as a secondary infection).

Anyway, my point is that nothing has 100% worked except acutane. I am on month 4 and I am so glad my dermatologist recommended it to me. It has been hard because I had an initial bad breakout ( as most people on acutane do), but so worth it. My skin has improved 85% overall and climbing (as I still get a few here and there but not as painful and go away a lot quicker). The acutane works over time by shrinking pores and bringing all that yukky stuff to the surface. It's a slow but effective way to treat this.

For anyone who is determined to cure this condition just do acutane. Just make sure you follow the directions and check in with your dr every month. It cures over 300 different skin conditions.

Good luck to you all! :)

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