Skin Legend: A Key to Each Little Bump and Blemish on Your Face

comedonebump and blemish on face

A comedone is a plug of sebum (oil) and dead skin cells or material literally ‘stuck’ in the opening of your hair follicle. The follicle naturally produces oil to keep your skin regulated and balanced, but if there is an overproduction of oil for any reason, combined with debris from mature skin cells, makeup or the environment – it can lead to a comedone. Comedones are either open (blackhead) or almost closed (whitehead).


Milia are formed when skin does not slough off normally but instead remains trapped in a pocket on the surface of the skin. An individual milium is formed from a hair follicle or sweat gland.


A papule is a raised skin lesion – usually a sign that your skin is under inflammatory response of some kind. many times, we get papules – or pimples – when we are stressed, detoxing or out of balance hormonally. Papules are often associated with acne. However, just because you are breaking out does not mean you have acne. your skin can get an acneic breakout and not need medication. If you are breaking out in papules, look internally to see if there is a food sensitivity, digestion issues or hormonal imbalance. For more information on this, read our post on Breakouts and Acne.


Simply put, a pustule is a papule, or raised skin lesion, filled with pus. enough said?

vascular lesion

Sometimes called broken capillaries, vascular lesions are tiny red marks on the skin. When capillaries become stressed and swollen, they become more visible through the skin. They can also sometimes burst, leading to a small bruise-like mark on the skin. This vascular inflammation is usually caused by excessive physical stress (sun overexposure, stress, harsh peeling or surgery, labor, fat deficiency, etc). Sometimes these vascular lesions can be an indication of a more systemic skin condition called rosacea. rosacea can be genetic, but the exact causes are unknown. For more information on rosacea, read the post on Sensitivity and Rosacea.

These lesions can sometimes be treated and removed with laser services such as IPL (Intense Pulse Light.) However, if you are experiencing them, listen to what your skin is trying to say to you and look at ways to reduce inflammation and stress.


Melanin is a protein produced by the skin in order to protect us from any harsh elements or excessive stress. This production of melanin shows up in small to large brownish spots or patches visible on the surface of the skin known as hyper-pigmentation. As skin cells mature and migrate to the surface, they dump their contents out into the layers of the epidermis. These contents include both nutrients and waste. One common form of waste stored in the cell is melanin. For more information on this, read my article on hyperpigmentation.

keritosis pilaris

Keritosis Pilaris is the skin condition where you get little bumps (usually on the back of your arms or on the legs.) It feels almost like a rough patch of skin or a rash, but not due to any type of allergy or lack of exfoliation. Oftentimes this can happen during pregnancy. The main cause is amounts of protein called keratin (found in the skin, hair and nails) that clog the opening of the hair follicle, resulting in a bump. Body washes or cleansers containing glycolic acid from a natural source can be used to unclog the hair follicles and smooth the skin.


A mole is a brownish or blackish mark, sometimes raised, on the surface caused when skin cells grow in a cluster instead of spreading out. Usually moles are not a cause for concern, unless they start to show suspicious behavior – in which case you want to do and see your dermatologist to have everything check out.

Here is a list from of suspicious characteristics:

  • Getting bigger
  • Changing shape, particularly getting an irregular edge
  • Changing color – getting darker, becoming patchy or multi-shaded
  • Itching or painful
  • Bleeding or becoming crusty
  • Looking inflamed
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