Will Bueché

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They're called tweezers

Posted in Personal by Will on Sunday, July 13th, 2008 ~ 10pm

I felt a small bump near my underarm. Very small. I suspected an ingrown hair, since those can occasionally stay under the surface and continue to grow, making little confused loops looking for the surface, like a plant searching in vain for the sun. First I tried squeezing as if it were a pimple. But whatever it was, was too deep. So I started picking at it with my …gosh I’ve just forgotten what they’re called. Pliers? But for tiny things… hm… a person can pluck things with them… hmm…

I just held them in front of me, couldn’t think of their name, and went and got my housemate’s opinion. “Tweezers” he tells me. “I was WAY off!” I told him.

So as I was saying, I took the tweezers and plucked away, with the intent to sort of shed whatever top layers of skin was holding it back from bursting. A few layers in, and a tiny little bit of blood from the skin capillaries. A little deeper, just digging in the very center now. And then there it was ahead of me. A dark dot. I tried grabbing it with the tweezers for awhile, dabbing it with water now and then to keep the view clear. I kept trying to grab it, expecting if it was a hair the tweezers would eventually catch a grip on it — even if I couldn’t see a hair per se, just darkness, which I presumed to be a dark, coiled hair with blood around it – if I just kept trying at it from different angles. Then a thought, of a different tactic.

I put down the tweezers and I tried squeezing, zit-like. And out popped a sesame-seed sized…thing. Which actually looked a lot like a sesame seed, being beige not dark once it had popped out, and smaller than a sesame seed (perhaps a couple millimeters). If it had once been an ingrown hair, it had long since become enveloped and reshaped into a seed-like pod. After staring at it for awhile and dabbing some antibiotic on my minor wound, I decided to crush it to see if there was a hair inside. It crushed easily enough, a dry sort of pulp. Just pulp.

Whatever it was, it is gone now. I’ll dub it a subcutaneous skin tag, since I don’t know if it was started by a hair, a pimple, or just random skin manufacture. But, it is nice to have gotten it out of there. The end.

What, you were expecting an interesting story?

Update: Ah, found it: Epidermoid Cyst: “…often the result of swollen hair follicles, or skin trauma.” “…a closed sac occurring just under the skin which contains a ‘pasty’ substance…Keratin is a protein that creates the sac of cells…” “…they form in body regions that are easily irritated, such as the armpit.” “Epidermoid cysts are almost always noncancerous, but in rare cases, they can give rise to skin cancers. Because this occurs so seldom, epidermoid cysts usually aren’t biopsied unless they have unusual characteristics that suggest a more serious problem.” They’re usually noticed when they are inflamed or infected, but I evidently noticed it when it was fine, and that it popped out without rupturing its wall is excellent.

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