Fordyce spots are harmless. But it can be bad and mar your looks, especially if they appear on parts of your body where they can be easily seen. The spots can bleed during intercourse if they are on your genitals, but this is rarely the case.
There is nothing to worry about in terms of health risks if you notice Fordyce spots on any part of your body. But for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, you may want to get rid of the spots. Also, it is easy to confuse these natural spots with another condition, especially if they appear around your genitals.
For this reason, this quick guide will show you how to get rid of Fordyce spots using different methods. You will also learn when it is best to see your doctor.
What are Fordyce Spots?
Fordyce granules, also known as Fordyce spots, are enlarged sebaceous glands (oil glands in the body). The painless spots are completely normal and occur in most adults. They are present in the body right from childhood but enlarge with age.
Fordyce spots appear as small, slightly elevated, yellowish bumps on different parts of the skin. It appears inside the cheeks and on the edges of the lips. They can also occur around the nipples, on the genitals or around the pubic area, and on the underarm.
Usually, these bumps show up on parts of the skin without hair follicles. They can be clustered or scattered in the area where they occur.
What Causes Fordyce Spots?
Fordyce granules or glands are a natural part of your anatomy. Everyone is born with them.
Indeed, a few health conditions are associated with the spots, but they are not caused by anything.
Who Has a Higher Risk of Fordyce Spots?
Everyone is born with these naturally occurring enlarged sebaceous glands. But people with elevated fats levels in their blood, known as hyperlipidemia, may be at higher risk of having a large number of the Fordyce spots in their mouths.
Also, a study indicates that Fordyce granules are more prevalent in men than women in an approximately 2:1 ratio. People with oily skin may also have increased incidences.
How to Identify Fordyce Spots?
Before we look at the various methods to remove Fordyce spots, it is important to first learn how to identify them. That’s because these bumps can be mistaken for other skin conditions.
The tiny spots are often skin-colored or whitish-yellow. It can also be reddish if they develop in the pubic area.
In many cases, the spots are hardly noticeable. You will only see them if you stretch out the surrounding skin to make them more visible.
Fordyce spots may look like symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). One might even be mistaken for several other skin conditions. A few of these include:
Genital warts (if they appear around or on your private part)
Basal cell carcinoma (a red patch, bump, or other growth on the skin that is a type of skin cancer)
Epidermoid cysts (small, noncancerous lumps under the skin that are usually hard)
When to See a Doctor
Bumps around your lips or inside your cheeks may not call for too much concern. But it is best to seek medical advice if you notice spots on your genitals or around the area.
Some spots on or around the genitals are symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. And can be easily mistaken for Fordyce granules. Your doctor can rule out other possible problems. He will also recommend necessary diagnosis or treatment.
You can also visit a doctor if you are unhappy or less confident about the appearance of Fordyce spots on your lips, nipples, or other parts of your body. Bad and huge bumps can affect how you perceive your self-image and may even lead to low self-esteem.
A dermatologist can carry out micro punch surgery on you. He can administer some other topical treatments. This can lessen or completely remove the spots.
Medical Treatment Options for Fordyce Spots
Some medical treatments for Fordyce spots include the following:
Laser treatments are the most common ways to remove Fordyce spots. One of the methods involves projecting a highly focused beam of carbon dioxide laser. This happen at specific wavelengths to extract and clean Fordyce spots from the skin.
Carbon dioxide laser as a vaporizing laser procedure has a high rate of success. However, it may not be the best treatment for Fordyce spots on the face. This is due to the scars afterward.
Another type of laser treatment is pulsed dye lasers. This is a non-invasive treatment that works well for removing more extensive Fordyce granules. It is usually a more expensive laser treatment option but it is less likely to leave scars.
This type of surgery involves the use of a device that resembles a pen. They use it to punch holes in the affected area and remove the tissues. The micro-punch technique is very effective in hair transplant surgery. It can also work well in eliminating bumps, especially on the genitals.
Unlike laser treatment options, the micro-punch procedure does not destroy extracted tissues. This is a huge plus because dermatologists can further observe the affected tissues with a microscope. This helps to determine whether there are other underlying skin conditions, such as cancer or genital warts.
Micro-punch treatments for Fordyce spots are usually quick and pose little risk of scarring. Also, there is less chance of the spots returning after treatment. This might occur with laser treatments.
This is a light-activated treatment. It involves applying a medication to the affected area, and allowing it to penetrate the skin. After a while, it will be activated with a blue light. This is an effective treatment. But, it is quite expensive and can cause the skin to be more sensitive to the sun.
This treatment option uses a small probe or microneedle to treat the affected area. It also employs mild electrical current in the treatment.
Taking retinoid medications, such as isotretinoin pills, can produce positive, long-lasting effects. The pill can be a helpful treatment option, when combined with laser treatments.
However, it is important to mention that isotretinoin can have some severe side effects. For example, the drug has been known to cause heart, brain, and other birth defects. It is best to explore other treatment options and consider the pill only for severe cases of Fordyce spots.
Topical treatments may not result in instant results as other medical treatment options. But they usually don’t have side effects, such as scarring.
The trichloroacetic acid and other useful chemical content in some topical creams are effective for reducing the size of the spots. Other topical creams contain natural oils, including jojoba oil, organic coconut oil, and tea tree oil that unclogs skin pores and nourish hair follicles.
Excision involves removing the spots using surgery. While surgical removal is helpful, you should talk with your doctor and consider the possibility of using other less radical treatment options.
Home Remedies to Remove Fordyce Spots
You can also remove Fordyce spots without undergoing surgery or opting for expensive treatment options. There are many natural and holistic remedies you can use. Also, the ingredients are not difficult to find.
Some of the common yet effective home remedies for treating Fordyce spots include the following:
Your sebaceous glands may produce excessive sebum or oil in response to dryness in your skin. Excessive natural oil secretion can lead to an increased appearance of Fordyce spots. Also you can control your body’s oil production with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizing agent and is great for treating dry and broken skin.
How to use:
- Warm pure coconut oil in a small dish or bowl.
- Apply it to the affected area.
If you want to tweak things a little bit, you can add a few drops of lavender oil into the coconut oil. After apply the mixture to the affected area.
Argan and Jojoba Oil
Argan and jojoba oil are rich in several vitamins and minerals that nourish the skin, especially Vitamin E. Adding them to your skincare routine can be very beneficial.
How to use:
To remove Fordyce spots using argan and jojoba oil:
- Mix argan and jojoba oil in equal parts.
- Apply the mixture straight to the affected area.
- Do this at least three times per week for the best results.
Garlic is known to remove bacteria from the bloodstream. This is due its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Eating garlic cloves regularly can help prevent bacterial growth.
How to use:
- Use a pestle to roughly crush a few cloves of garlic in a mortar.
- Add the crushed garlic and a small amount of normal water in a blender, and give it a good blend.
- Add a small amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice and drink the mixture.
You can drink the mixture at any time of the day, but gulping down the concoction in the morning is likely to result in better absorption.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of nature’s most versatile remedies with numerous uses ranging from domestic to health concerns. Its antimicrobial and astringent properties can help with many skin problems.
How to use:
- Mix an equal proportion of normal water and apple cider vinegar. For example, one cup of water and one cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Apply the solution to the affected area.
- Repeat this at least two times per week for the best results.
Note: Never use undiluted apple cider vinegar directly on your skin in a bid to get quick results. Undiluted vinegar is highly acidic, and can severely irritate or even corrode your skin. There are no “quick results” when it comes to natural remedies. Consider medical treatment options if you want immediate results.
Herbs for Treating Fordyce Spots on the Lips
The combination of the following herbs can help to treat Fordyce spots on the lips.
- Lemon and Mint Leave: Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice to smoothly ground mint leaves. Apply the paste to your lips and let it sit for about five to ten minutes before rinsing off with normal water.
- Turmeric and Milk: Add some milk to turmeric powder. Apply the paste on your lips and allow it for up to five minutes to dry. Rinse off and apply a hydrating herbal balm.
- Pomegranate Seeds and Milk: Grind pomegranate seeds into a fine powder and add some milk to make it into a paste. Apply this to your lips.
Caring for the Skin When You Have Fordyce Spots
Practicing good hygiene by keeping your skin free of bacteria and excess oils can cut down the occurrence of these spots in some people. This is especially true when hormone levels are at their peaks, such as during pregnancy and the onset of puberty.
However, good hygiene alone does not remove existing spots for most people. Consider the following suggestions to care for your skin if you have Fordyce spots:
- Clean the affected areas with clarifying agents that don’t contain harsh chemicals. This can help unclog the sebaceous glands and pores.
- Make sure to thoroughly wash your face, genitals, and affected areas regularly. Do this especially after sweating and exercising.
- Shaving your pubic area if you have Fordyce granules might not be a great idea if you are battling with your self-image and self-confidence. That’s because the spots might become more noticeable if you shave your genital area. Consider laser hair removal instead.
- Avoid excessive humidity and heat as much as possible.
- Do not scratch the affected area, as doing so can worsen the situation.
- Avoid the use of greasy creams because they can block the sebaceous glands.
- Use a loofah pad or other mild exfoliating agents to clean your skin.
You don’t need to remove Fordyce spots since they are generally harmless. However, if the bumps are taking a toll on your self-confidence and self-esteem, it is okay to use any of the above home remedies.
Treatment for the bumps usually doesn’t have severe side effects, but it is best to seek medical advice first.