Causes and Treatment for Fordyce or White Spots on Lips

The appearance of white spots on the lips can be fairly unsightly and it can be distressing to people affected with the condition for fear of what other people may think. These spots are not contagious in any way and are quite harmless and are in no way related to sexually-transmitted diseases.

Fordyce Spots on Lips

  • These appear as small, painless, white or yellowing, and painless papules on the lips.

  • The spots can appear as a solitary lesion or as a group.

  • These spots are basically a type or variant of sebaceous glands, particularly sebaceous glands without a hair follicle.

  • The spots are harmless and are not contagious.

  • It can affect both men and women, but men often suffer from the condition.

  • The degree of the spots or its incidence varies widely from one person to the other.

  • The spots are congenital in nature meaning it is present from birth but appears for the first time during puberty when sebaceous glands are highly active.

  • Once present, the spots often persist throughout the person’s lifetime.

  • However, with age, the spots decrease and fade.

  • These spots are asymptomatic with affected individuals not feeling any discomfort at all.

  • Pain and irritation may ensue with inappropriate treatment.

Fordyce Spots on Lips Causes

  • The sebaceous gland is responsible for the formation of these spots on the lips.

  • When the ectopic sebaceous gland becomes full with pus or oil, it results in the appearance of whitish or yellowish spots on the lips.

  • This condition is called sebaceous hyperplasia.

Fordyce Spots on Lips Treatment

Treatment of these spots on the lips is cosmetic in nature and not done for medical purposes.

  • Goal of treatment: reduce the amount of sebum or oil in and around the skin of the oral area.

  • Anti-sebum creams or ointments – regular application can help reduce the appearance of the spots on the lips.

  • Chemical peels – the treatment makes the lip’s skin flake off, peeling off the spots as well. Side effect can make the skin more sensitive and require constant moisturizing.

  • Tretinoin gel – minimize the bumps on the spots. Recommended to use together with alpha hydroxyl acid agents.

  • Cryosurgery – helps destroy the prominences associated with the spots. Side effects include blister formation, nerve and tissue damage near the lips.

  • Electro-dessication – an effective treatment for removing Fordyce spots but is only a resort when the spots become a serious cosmetic problem. This is a more costly procedure compared to other treatment methods.

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