Fordyce spots is a medical condition in which small, pale yellow colored granules like bumps appear on lips or on skin around the mouth area. These spots were first discovered by the great dermatologist John Addison Fordyce. This medical condition is not essentially a disease but simply a state of the skin. In some individuals, it becomes more prominent as compared to others and becomes noticeable. Sebaceous prominence is another name used for Fordyce spots.
These spots are small granule-like structures, mainly found growing in and around moist tissues such as mouth lining and lips or even genitals. These grains are completely harmless and do not cause pain to the subject either. At the same time they are not contagious and also do not spread infection, nor are they spread by any virus or bacteria. The only effect that Fordyce spots have is in cosmetic terms. When these spots become very prominently visible, they may lead an individual to be overly conscious about how they look or sometimes embarrassed.
Fordyce spots are actually present in all human beings right since their birth but they may become actively visible only when one attains adolescent age. To understand them, we must first understand their origin. Fordyce spots are originated in sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands secrete sebum, in most cases these glands have a hair follicle and by means of this hair the sebum gets a way out. Sometimes when these glands do not have hair follicle this sebum gets trapped in and appears on skin as granule or bumps. When one reaches puberty these sebaceous glands become prominently active, as a result Fordyce spots are generally noticed in adolescent age only.
These spots can appear at any stage of one’s life. They may also appear at the time of puberty and then stay there for forever. If one is lucky enough they may gradually decrease over time. Studies suggest that elderly people have lesser Fordyce spots than the younger ones. These spots will just appear on the skin and stay there causing no harm or infection; they are also painless and pus free. They may vary from 2mm to 3mm in diameter or sometimes as small as 1mm.
Several medicines are available in markets that claim to cure Fordyce spots. But it is always advisable to consult a good dermatologist before you start any medication. It is because this is a problem pertaining to the skin and so the best help you can get from is a dermatologist alone. Some people do not even take medicines to get rid of these, as they are too small to be noticed by others. For those who might be interested in searching for cure for Fordyce spots, below is a list of the popular treatments:
- Tretinoin gel: Tretinion gel or cream is a product that has been considered very effective for treating this condition. Several people all over the world have been greatly benefited by tretinion as it reduces the prominence of these spots.
- Skin peel off: In this treatment the skin of Fordyce spots is peeled off using trichloroacetic acid. This method may provide instant results but it has its own drawbacks. It leaves the skin around lips too sensitive. It is necessary that the lips be kept moisturised all times after this treatment. There are also possibilities that the spots may begin to reappear after the treatment has been stopped.
- Laser: In this method the spots are burnt using laser beams.
- Cryosurgery: This method is the least preferred method for treatment of Fordyce spots. Unless the situation is too serious and this is the only option left you doctor would never suggest cryosurgery. Here, the granules are destroyed using very cold temperatures. The drawback of this method is that it may also harm the good skin in and around that area.
Apart from the above stated treatments, a few home remedies can also help in decreasing the prominence of these spots. A healthy body is must for a good skin. So it is with Fordyce spots. Maintaining a good diet that is rich in minerals can be of great help. Intake of fruits rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K are also very helpful in lightening of the spots. Some people also report that including garlic in their diet has helped improve their condition. Above all, always take care of your personal hygiene and try to keep you skin as clean as possible. This will prevent blockage of sebaceous glands and hence forming of bumps or granules. The best part is that these are not contagious or infectious. And whenever they seem to appear to bother you too much, you can always consult a dermatologist and get rid of them using proper treatment techniques.
Here are pictures that show how fordyce spots affect the lips.