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Fordyce spots: what are they and how to treat

Fordyce spots are also called Fordyce granules or Fordyce glands and they are small yellowish or whitish spots that may appear on the lips, on the inside of your cheeks or on your genitals, they arise naturally and do not cause problems to your health.

These spots can appear due to increased sebaceous glands and therefore may appear at any age, being more frequent during puberty because of the hormonal changes and they are not related to HIV, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, genital warts or cancer.

Although Fordyce spots do not need any specific treatment, there are ways you can eliminate them for aesthetic reasons and it consists in using creams or even laser surgery.

Fordyce spots: what are they and how to treat
Fordyce spots: what are they and how to treat

What can cause the spots to appear

Fordyce spots are usually present from birth, however, they may not be easily seen. After adolescence, and with hormonal changes, these granules can become larger and more visible.

The spots can appear in anyone but are twice as frequent in men and in people with very oily skin.

Are Fordyce spots contagious?

Fordyce granules are not contagious or caused by an infectious agent such as bacteria or viruses. They arise naturally in the region of the mouth or genitals.

Treatment options

The treatment of Fordyce spots is done only for aesthetic reasons, but it is not always possible to completely eliminate the lesions. Some of the more common options include:

  • Use of ointments and creams, with Tretinoin or Dichloroacetic acid: which eliminate skin changes, but should only be used if prescribed by a dermatologist;
  • Micro-puncture technique: Slight anesthesia is applied and then the doctor uses a device to remove the granules from the skin;
  • CO2 Laser: The doctor uses a strong ray of light that removes the granules from the skin, however this technique can leave scars and therefore should only be done by a dermatologist.

These treatment techniques can be used to remove or disguise Fordyce spots from all parts of the body, even in the genital region.

Natural remedies like jojoba oil, vitamin E or argan extract have been successfully used in the treatment of Fordyce spots in combination with drug treatments.

In addition, it is always important to avoid squeezing Fordyce granules at home as this technique does not cause them to be eliminated and may even increase the risk of a skin infection.

Main symptoms

The symptoms of Fordyce spots are the appearance of small yellow or whitish spots, isolated or clustered, in the region of the mouth or genitals. Fordyce granules in the mouth usually appear on the upper lip, inner cheek or gums. In the genital region, especially in men, the appearance of Fordyce granules in the body of the penis, glans, foreskin or testicles is common.

Fordyce granules do not cause pain or irritation, altering only the aesthetics of the region where they arise.

In the presence of any of these signs or symptoms, the dermatologist should be consulted to make the diagnosis of the disease and discuss treatment options.

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