Are Fordyce Spots harmful?
First thing that needs to be said about Fordyce spots is that they are completely harmless and not related to any systemic conditions (including sexually transmitted diseases).
How do Fordyce Spots look like and where do they appear?
Fordyce spots are small, asymptomatic, slightly elevated white and yellowish bumps caused by an overgrowth of the sebaceous glands. They are sebaceous glands but without hair follicles. They may appear on the head or the shaft of the penis, in the labia of females and inner lips of both sexes. They are visible on these places because they are under very thin skin and very close to the surface. Fordyce spots can develop as a solitary lesion or more frequently in groups of about 50-100 bumps. Their size ranges from 2 to 5 mm in diameter and the surrounding tissue is not affected by the growth of the lesions.
Fordyce spots are present in 80-95% of adults but are more prevalent in men. The papules are believed to be present at birth too but they only become prevalent when the child reaches puberty.
Is there a cure or a treatment?
Many may feel embarrassed if the spots appear on genitals but there is no reason for concern of transmission or pain. There is no “cure” for the spots and there is no specific diet or vitamin supplements that would help the condition. They should not be picked or squeezed. Different treatments may be used if the spots become unsightly but the question is how effective these treatments will be.
• Applying Tretinoin gel or cream in combination with alpha hydroxyacid agents daily to the affected areas reverse the effects over time and prevent it from getting worse.
• If that doesn’t work, you can ask doctor for Accutane. However, Accutane works only until it is applied and causes many side effects like chapped lips, joint and muscle pains, temporary hair thinning, dry skin, itching, intestinal problems, nosebleed, irritation of the eyes, rash, urinary problems, poor night vision, depression, and headaches.
• TCA chemical peels may be prescribed, but like Accutane, are effective only while being applied regularly.
• Electrodessication or vaporising laser treatment has been used successfully to remove the spots on the lips.
If you suddenly develop bumps on the places mentioned you should certainly visit a dermatologist to rule out other possible conditions. A visit to the doctor will certainly set you at ease.
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