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ask: White subdermal bumps on face

By LDChaney
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I am a 52 yrs. old post menopausal woman. I have numerous subdermal flesh colored bumps on my face. They started appearing several years ago. I am not able to extract anything. They seem more pronounced at different times including in the evening. I have been to numerous dermatologists and estheticians. I have been told they might be milia or sebacious hyperplasia. Some dermatologists will only say they are benign but can't really identify what they are. I have had dermabrasion and CO2 lazer to no avail. What are they? How can they be treated? Can they be frozen off?

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EmpowHER Guest

I have these bumps also and I am 56. I have them on my legs, which I am told is from inside tanning and has given me extrememly dry skin and these bumps. I also have them on my arms, just like old lady bumpy skin, they are not the same that you get on the back of your arms, they are larger and flatter. It's almost like skin brushing would help, and exfoliating. I am going to try that and see if it works.

July 30, 2013 - 1:27pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks Anon - please let us know if it works.

Also, in terms of dry skin (I have terribly dry skin) I have been using Eucerin for 6 months now and my skin is baby soft. I use it from the chest down, even my underarms and it has made a huge difference!


July 30, 2013 - 1:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

I believe i I know exactly what your bumps are based on your age, sex & description. I too suffer from these bumps. They are osteoma cutis or also called miliary osteoma cutis. They are actually tiny pieces of bone under the skin, yes bone! I had a biospsy on one & the derm told me he was certain they would not be osteomas. Lo & behold he extracted a tiny piece of bone. The actual pieces are almost round inshape & very small but they cause the surronding tissue to swell which gives the skin a very uneven appearence. So distressing. This is almost always only on the face of women in premenopouse or during. Hope that helps. I have had extractions with not the greatest results as they are hard to remove. Going to have an erbium laser treatment combined with manual extraction when the skin layers are removed & they are exposed next month.

September 4, 2011 - 5:40pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi Linda,
I was wondering if you ever found anything to help with the bumps?? I have the same thing. Been to two dermatologists. One said it was aging skin (did nothing). Another tried acid on them. That did nothing. It is so frustrating. Let me know if you had any results with your treatments. thanks

April 27, 2011 - 7:10pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Hi LDCheney

Thanks for your post!

We are not able to diagnose what may be happening - only suggest.

Could these bumps be warts, perhaps? In that case, freezing them off may be possible.

It could also be something called Seborrheic Keratosis or Barnacles. You read more about these here:

It could also be some unknown skin issue due to aging. I've looked up a ton of possibilities and am not coming up with any other options, unfortunately.

What have your doctors told you regarding this mystery diagnosis? Are they planning to test you some more?


March 28, 2011 - 1:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

Susan, Any of the dermatologists I have seen were only interested in determine if they were malignant. When they proved to be benign the doctors bowed out and suggested I see an esthetician. The estheticians were stumped and referred me back to the dermatologists! And that has how it has been for several years with no one having an answer. Thanks, Linda

March 28, 2011 - 5:14pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Linda,

Thanks for the update - how frustrating for you!

Many dermatologists have estheticians in their offices, as well as other trained professionals who provide cosmetic services. Going to one of these offices may be better for you so you can get an opinion from both sides.

I understand that the main concern of doctors is that you don't have anything harmful and this is as it should be. However, from an aesthetic point of you, you can't be blamed for wanting this to be successfully treated.

It's difficult for someone can help you without ever examining you but I have submitted your question to one of our leading Dermatology experts so please check back with us in a few days and hopefully we will have some more help for you!


March 30, 2011 - 11:45am
LDChaney (reply to Susan Cody)

Susan, THANK YOU so much for your time and efforts, you're greatly appreciated. I researched barnicles and they don't resemble my "bumps." Mine are smooth and flesh colored in appearance and they don't seem to have anything to extract. I ran across "solar comedeones" on the internet. They could be a possibility. I will look forward to and appreciate the opinion of your expert.

March 30, 2011 - 5:18pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to LDChaney)

Hi again LD!

I just want to let you know that I haven't forgotten you! We are having a bit of difficulty with your question (it's quite tricky, indeed!) so I'm referring it to another expert. Thanks for your patience!


April 6, 2011 - 12:37pm
LDChaney (reply to Susan Cody)

Hi, Susan,
THANK YOU. I appreciate your efforts very much.

April 6, 2011 - 1:27pm
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