Fordyce spots are small raised bumps that are yellow-white or skin-colored. These are also known as Fordyce Granules, Fordyce lesions, Brooke-Fordyce trichoepithelioma, and Sebaceous Prominence. Fordyce bump is a dermatological condition that affects the sebaceous glands. They are named after the 19th-century American dermatologist John Addison Fordyce, the first person to describe them clinically in a medical journal.
But before diving deeper into the topic, take solace in the fact that it is an absolute normal body condition and is harmless. It is neither an infectious disease or illness causing serious issues nor requires any surgical emergency for its treatment. Know what exactly Fordyce spots are, its causes, symptoms, and available cures. In one sentence, you need not scare of Fordyce Spots.
What Are Fordyce Spots
As discussed in the beginning, Fordyce spots are the small, white-yellowish papules or spots formed beneath the skin. The spots are painless and don’t itch. Fordyce spots occur as a single lesion or in clusters of up to 100.
The spots are 1mm to 3mm in diameter and may occur anywhere on the body including lips, armpit, genital, eyes and oral areas.
On genitalia, Fordyce spots appear on the penis shaft, foreskin or scrotum in males and labia and vulva in females. In the oral area, the spots appear around inner surface (retromolar mucosa) and the vermillion border of the lips and face, and inside the cheeks, nipples (where they are known as Montgomery Tubercles).
Fordyce spots are usually hard to notice unless they appear in clusters. In instances where the spots occur as single lesions, they become easier to spot when the skin surrounding the affected area is stretched. In some cases, squeezing a spot can produce a white chalky substance.
Who Is Affected
It’s estimated that up to 80% of the adult population have Fordyce spots. However, the severity varies. Very few people notice them unless they’re formed in clusters and at prominent locations.
Fordyce spots affect both males and females. However, males are the most affected group. The spots start to develop during childhood but aren’t prominent during this age. They start becoming visible during puberty and continue to grow into adulthood.
Although the condition affects a huge percentage of the population, Fordyce disease is most common in people who have oily skin types.
Also Read: Fordyce Spots Among Men.
Also Read: Fordyce Spots Among Women.
What Causes Fordyce Spots
Unlike what most people might think, Fordyce spots aren’t caused by bacteria or virus. They are associated with ectopic sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are present all over the body which are responsible for producing and secreting sebum (natural oil) into the hair follicle to nourish the hair and the skin. When the oil gets blocked in ectopic sebaceous glands, the formation of these Fordyce spots is natural.
Fordyce spots occur at the places where there is no hair follicle or hair to grow. Such glands under the skin are called abnormal positioned ectopic sebaceous glands. Means whenever the oil gets trapped in these glands, white-yellowish raised bumps get birth.
Symptoms Of Fordyce Spots
It is crucial to make sure that the bumps on the skin are nothing else than the Fordyce spots. The surface protrusions indicate some of the diseases that appear quite similar to each other. To be sure, you must consult a doctor. Here is a quick reference what that tiny pimple could be:
1. Fordyce Spots
Fordyce spots occur as small lumps mostly appear in a pale-red or yellow-white color measuring 1mm to 3mm. They are not contagious with skin-to-skin contact. These spots can appear as a solitary lesion or in a gang of 50 to 100. Prime areas of Fordyce occurrence are the vermillion border of lips, in the mouth, on male’s penis shaft, scrotum, or on labia in females, etc. They are easy to spot where the skin is stretched and can resemble as some small grains of rice.
Note: When on males shaft or scrotum and labia in females, Fordyce spots may appear as bright red or purple bumps. These are just the abnormal diluted blood vessels covered by thickened skin. So, they may bleed during or after sexual intercourse.
2. Genital Herpes
The appearance of these bumps is alarming for some grave concern. Genital herpes is a form of a sexually transmitted disease. This STD is a contagious virus that spreads through skin-to-skin contact during sexual intercourse.
The symptoms of genital herpes are different in 3 ways than it’s other two counterparts. Let’s go through them one by one
First, they are painful and make you itch.
Second, it leads to further serious conditions if left untreated.
Third, they appear anywhere around the genital area.
Herpes is a dreaded STD because there is no 100% cure and small lumps keep on looking. These pieces can be managed, but the virus remains present in the body.
3. Pearly Penile Papules
If you are a male, it is your concern. Although the condition hits females as well, males are more prone.
Pearly Penile Papules are the small dome-shaped cluster of protrusions that, typically, are located on the sulcus or corona of the glans penis. Commonly, they are arranged in one or multiple circular rows and appear as a sexually transmitted disease.
These bumps are limited to the ridge of the glans and appear, in one or multiple rows, next to each other. They can be pink or white in color and sometimes translucent. They range in size from less than 1 mm to 3 mm forming a single or double row on or around the head of the penal shaft.
Also Read: Pearly Penile Papules Men.
Also Read: Pearly Penile Papules Women.
Fordyce Spots Cures
There are many treatments for getting rid of Fordyce Spots. Some are cheap, and some may cost you a lot, so choose wisely. LET ME HELP YOU.
As mentioned, the Fordyce Spot is not a disease, so treatment is performed by dermatologists and not by any doctor. The treatment process is called cosmetic surgery because as it is linked to the aesthetic look.
Most dermatologists advise patients to let the Fordyce spots dissipate by themselves. However, in cases where patients vigorously seek a treatment for cosmetic reasons, there are some options to choose from.
Surgical Options To Cure Fordyce Spots
To help educate our readers, we enlisted some surgical treatment methods available to get rid of pearly penile papules. These methods should be used only as a last resort:
- A surgical procedure called Punch Excision is followed where the dermatologist uses a machine to make a micro hole targeting the Fordyce spots and then manually remove the granules. The hole is stitched afterward with least chances of reoccurrence of such spots. However, this surgical option may leave some scars on the treated area.
- Another surgical treatment is the Pulsed dye lasers that work by destroying the small blood vessels under the sebaceous glands using a highly concentrated beam of light. It will cut off the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the glands making them vanish soon. It’s quite expensive but is highly effective in removing the spots as well as leaving the skin intact.
- One of the safest surgical options is the CO2 Laser Treatment also known as Electro Desiccation. The treatment uses a laser beam to destroy the tissue within the Fordyce spots at an extremely high temperature. This method is usually prescribed when the patient has large clusters of Fordyce spots. It’s quite useful in making the spots less visible.
- Cauterization is the another active surgical treatment available where the dermatologist or a trained medical professional treats the Fordyce spots by burning them out. For this, they apply an electrically-heated fine probe or Hyfrecator instrument. The treatment is less expensive, and the healing may take more than a week. The chances of scarring exist after the treatment.
Detailed Guide: Fordyce Spots Surgical Treatments.
Non-Surgical Options To Cure Fordyce Spots
Fordyce spots can also be treated using natural home remedies. Some of the advocates claim that the natural treatments are effective in shrinking the granules. However, there’s no scientific evidence to back up these claims. Some of the common home remedies for Fordyce spots includes:
- Anti-Sebum Cream should be your first move. In an ideal situation, it should solve the problem. It’s an excellent option as a fordyce removal cream as it reduces the production of the Sebum underneath the skin. Besides, it also combats well with the bacteria that causes acne problems and defends the skin from seasonal changes.
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is considered one of the best home remedies for treating Fordyce spots as it includes anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. It restores the Skin pH level and helps to maintain optimum sebum secretion. With its application, it removes the top skin cells on which the Fordyce spots develop. But, before using ACV on your skin, it’s advisable to dilute it by mixing it up with some water due to its acidic properties.
- Another natural treatment for Fordyce spots is Tea Tree Oil which can be very helpful in dissipating them. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that kill the bacteria growth and heals the affected skin faster.
Detailed Guide: Fordyce Spots Removal At Home.
A Little Warning
No matter, what route you choose to treat your Fordyce Spots. Please never pluck them out with a plucker and never pop them out by squeezing. You will only make it worse this way. Instead, Seek for professional help.
Common Myths Regarding Fordyce Spots
- People with Fordyce spots usually mistake them for STDs or other forms of infection, especially, if they appear at the genital area. However, Fordyce spots are not a sexually transmitted infection or a condition that could pose any serious health concerns. Also, they aren’t transmittable.
- Another myth that affects most people, with the condition, is how long the spots tend to stick around. Medical practitioners agree that the spots can eventually disappear after some time; most people tend to have them for their whole lives.
- Fordyce spots aren’t considered as a health risk. Only, they may pose a cosmetic problem for most people. Large clusters of Fordyce spots occurring around the lips or genital area is enough to make someone uncomfortable.
- Also, due to their appearance, Fordyce spots are usually confused with some sexually transmitted infections. Bear in mind; they are not.
Fordyce spot is a common condition affecting most adults. It doesn’t pose a health concern and isn’t transmittable. However, the condition can lead to psychological stress in a patient especially if the spots are prominent and significant. It’s always advisable to consult with a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment if you suspect that you have the condition.
In most cases, the Fordyce spots will dissipate by themselves. However, if they’re a cosmetic concern, you can always choose among the different treatment options. PearlyBumps suggest you don’t underestimate consulting with a doctor. Self-medication may prove harmful.