121 East 60th Street, Suite 8AB, New York, NY 10022

Ph. (212) 285-1110

Long Island

901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530

Ph. (516) 512-7616

Fordyce Spots

Fordyce Spot Removal By New York Dermatologist Dr. Cameron Rokhsar MD

Fordyce spots, scientifically referred to as Fordyce granules or ectopic sebaceous glands, represent a variant of normal sebaceous glands. These non-pathogenic entities can be visually identified as minute, elevated, pale or pigmented papules appearing on the skin’s surface.

Fordyce Spots: A Dermatological Overview

    1. Anatomical Locations:

  • Labial Mucosa – Lips: Predominantly found along the vermilion zone of the lips.
  • Genital Dermis – Genitals: Manifest on the penile shaft, scrotal skin in males, and the labia majora in females.
  • Oral Mucosa: Notably present on the buccal mucosa and occasionally on the oral commissures.
    2. Morphological Variations:

  • These lesions exhibit homogeneity in their presentation, although variations in size and cluster density can be observed.
    3. Clinical Implications – Effects on Patients:

  • Pathophysiology: Fordyce spots result from the ectopic location of sebaceous (oil) glands without associated hair follicles.
  • Symptomatology: Typically asymptomatic, their presence doesn’t signify an underlying systemic or cutaneous disorder.
  • Psychological Impact: Aesthetically, their prominence, especially in the genito-labial region, may lead to psychosocial discomfort or anxiety in some patients.
    4. Therapeutic Interventions – Treatments:

  • Conservative Approach – No Treatment: Given their benign nature, active intervention is often unwarranted, unless solicited for aesthetic considerations.
  • Topical Retinoids: Tretinoin or adapalene, acting as comedolytics, may attenuate their prominence.
  • Laser Ablation: CO2 laser or pulsed dye lasers can offer precise and efficacious lesion removal.
  • Electrocautery and Micro-punch Excision: Employed for lesion removal with minimal scarring potential.

Fordyce FAQ

What happens if you pop a fordyce spot?

Popping or squeezing them is not recommended, as it does not cause them to go away but may irritate them, cause inflammation, and potentially lead to infection, which could worsen the condition.

How do you get rid of fordyce spots?

There are a few dermatological treatments available. The best option is using the 2mm beam of the CO2 laser to evaporate the tiny yellow glands. This is the most effective treatment with the least chance of scarring when performed by experienced hands. Cryotherapy, which involves freezing the spots with substances like liquid nitrogen, can also destroy them. Cryotherapy can potentially lead to pigment loss and white spots. Another option is the application of topical trichloracetic acid (TCA). TCA treatments have a high risk of scarring.

What is a fordyce spot?

Fordyce spots are small, slightly raised, yellowish or white bumps that are enlarged oil glands appearing on hairless areas of the skin, such as the inside of the cheeks, the edges of the lips, and the genital area. They are considered harmless, and painless, and are not associated with any diseases or cancers.

What causes fordyce spots?

The exact cause of Fordyce spots is not fully understood, but they are believed to result from a combination of biological and environmental factors that cause an overgrowth of sebaceous glands. Common risk factors for developing Fordyce spots include oily skin, post-pubertal age, being male, dyslipidemia, and certain types of colorectal cancer.

What part of the body frequently gets fordyce spots?

Common locations for Fordyce spots include the edges of the lips, inside the mouth or cheeks, on the genitals, such as the penis, vulva, or vagina. They can also occur on the nipples of the breasts. They are more visible in areas where the skin stretches and are present in around 80% of adults.

New York Office Locations

Upper East Side Manhattan Office
121 East 60th Street, Suite 8AB New York, NY 10022
(212) 285-1110

Long Island Office
901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 512-7616

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