1. Fordyce spots Definition
2. What are Fordyce spots
3. Fordyce spots Sites
3.1 Fordyce spots on Lips
3.1.1 Fordyce spots on upper lips
3.1.2 Fordyce spots on lower lips
3.2 Fordyce spots on Penis
3.3 Fordyce Spots on Penile Shaft
3.4 Fordyce Spots on Scrotum
3.5 Fordyce spots on Vagina
3.6 Fordyce Spots on Labia
4. Fordyce spots in Males
5. Fordyce Spots in Females
6. Fordyce Spots Symptoms
7. Fordyce Spots Causes
8. Fordyce Spots Treatment
8.1 CO2 Laser therapy
8.2 Electro desiccation
8.2 Micro punch technique
8.4 Drug related therapy
9. Fordyce spots Removal with home remedies
9.1 Oatmeal Bath
9.2 Aloe vera gel
9.3 Neem leaves extract
9.4 Coconut oil
9.5 Tea Tree oil
10. Fordyce spots pictures or Images
11. Fordyce spots FAQs
11.1 Are fordyce spots normal
11.2 Are fordyce spots contagious
11.3 What causes fordyce spots on lips
11.4 How to get rid of fordyce spots on lips
11.5 Do fordyce spots go away on their own
11.6 Are fordyce spots bad
11.7 Are fordyce spots itchy
11.8 How long do fordyce spots last on lips
11.9 Fordyce spots vs Genital wart
Fordyce spots can be defined as pale yellow to white or skin colored spots raised on superficial layer of skin
(epidermis). They are small size harmless spots originate from sebaceous glands present in the layer and
mostly appear around mouth, lips, scrotum penile area and labia.They are 1-2mm in diameter and can be seen through
Fordyce spots are named after John Addison Fordyce. He was a dermatologist who discovered these spots first time and explained them in a medical journal. Later on, these spots are also recognized as fordyce granules, fordyce lesions, fordyce disease and ectopic sebaceous glands.
Many people think that it is sexually transmitted disease (STD) and spreads through sexual contact but clinically it false perception. Exact reason of fordyce spots is unknown but many dermatologist proposed that they occur due to multiple hormonal and metabolic changes in the body. In most people they appear during puberty because hormonal changes and metabolic changes are at full swing during this time.
Another false perception is that it is caused by some kind of virus or bacteria. They occur naturally and there is no patho-physiological reason behind them. People having greasy or oily skin are more susceptible to fordyce spots. It might be due to excessive production of sebum (oily substance) from sebaceous glands.
Fordyce spots may appear on different body surfaces but most commonly affected areas are lips and genital parts.
Lips are the most prominent place among all sites where fordyce spots appear and cause embarrassment because they are difficult to hide.
Both upper and lower lips can be affected by fordyce spots but tendency to develop fordyce spots is slightly lower in case of upper lips. It is proposed that upper lips have less number of sebaceous glands as compared to lower lips so it might be the reason to its low affinity to get fordyce spots.
Borders of Lower lips have more affinity to get fordyce spots because they have more number of sebaceous glands. First, hyperplasia of sebaceous glands present around the border of lower lips occurs and then ultimately they turn into fordyce spots. They become more prominent when mucousal lining of lips is in stretched position.
If we talk about genital parts, penile area is second most common site after lips in males where fordyce spots occur. Penile area is divided into 2 parts as far as fordyce spots are concerned. One is penis head and second is penis shaft. Penis head is less likely to get fordyce spots due to low number of sebaceous glands.
Lower end of Penile shaft has high affinity to get fordyce spots as compared to all other genital parts in males. In most instances, it seen that sebaceous glands present around the lower end of shaft are very sensitive and mild to moderate form of hyperplasia may turn them into fordyce spots.
In rare instances, it is seen that superficial layer of scrotum may get involved in fordyce spots. Moreover, upper layer of scrotum is not plain surface so that's why many people do not notice these small size spots and they remain unidentified.
In females vaginal area is second most common site where fordyce spots appear. However, this area is divided into two portions according to fordyce spots affinity. These portions are out out side of the vagina (labia minora and labia majora) and mucousal membrane lies inside the vagina. Outer portion of vagina is more susceptible to get fordyce spots due to higher risk of hyperplasia and
As far as fordyce spots are concerned outer portion of vagina is divided into two major sites where they occur. One is labia majora and other is labia minora. if we compare both sites labia minora is more likely to get fordyce spots as compared to labia majora. The exact reason is unknown but many dermatologist proposed that this hyperplasia is triggered by excessive release of hormones like estrogens and androgens.
Gender difference is not that much in case of fordyce spots. Proportionality constant is same in males and females because it is not gender specific problem. However, in case of males lips are very common site to get fordyce spots as compared to other body parts.
In females, vaginal area is most sensitive area where fordyce spots occur commonly and frequently as compared to other body surfaces. In females, sebaceous glands present around the nipples may undergo hyperplasia and turned into fordyce spots. This is 3rd most common site where fordyce spots occur after lips and vaginal area.
Fordyce spots remain asymptomatic throughout life that's why many people do not notice them and they remain unidentified. However, it may be embarrassing or somewhat irritating when it is cosmetically concerned. We can only point out fordyce spots according to their location e.g
- On lips fordyce spots become more visible when they are in stretched position.
- On genital parts like penile shaft fordyce spots become more prominent when it is in erected position.
- They should not be confused with other kind of spots so always consult with your health care provider for proper physical examination.
As we discussed earlier, the exact mechanism is still unknown but many skin specialist suggest that occurrence of fordyce spots are strongly associated with hyperplasia of sebaceous glands ( ectopic sebaceous glands). Preliminary clinical data shows that this hyperplasia is triggered by certain kind of hormonal imbalances and metabolic changes in the body during puberty. These small size spots are benign in nature and do not cause any life threatening effect.
There are number of methods available for for fordyce spots removal. These methods are as follows
Carbon dioxide (CO2)laser therapy is also know as laser vaporization or laser peel. Now a days CO2 laser is successfully used to remove fordyce spots. In this method a highly concentrated short beam is directed over affected area very precisely that removes skin layer by layer. Though this method is little expensive but it removes fordyce spots permanently. Another kind of laser technique called Erbium laser resurfacing is can also be used for fordyce spots removal.
Many skin surgeons and dermatologist use this technique to remove cancerous skin surface e.g in case of squamous cell carcinoma. However, this method can also be utilized to remove fordyce spots. In this method an instrument termed as curette is used to remove skin layers by scraping. In this technique success rate mostly depends upon the the surgeon experience to perform it efficiently and precisely.
This technique is very famous for follicular unit extraction (FUE) in hair transplant. In this technique a pen like device is used to make small holes in the skin. Recently, this technique is utilized to remove soft skin tissue where fordyce spots occur and results were quite satisfactory. However, this technique has some advantages and disadvantages. Major advantage of this technique over other available techniques is that risk of tissue scarring is minimum especially in case of genital tissue surface. Disadvantage of this technique is that it causes mild to moderate pain during extraction of tissue surface so a topical anesthetic may be required to decrease pain sensation.
Though we have very limited data regarding the efficacy of drugs for the treatment of fordyce spots but some topical drugs can be used to slow down their progression and minimize the risk of infection or some other complication. Clindamycin in topical form is drug of choice of many dermatologist because it is broad spectrum antibiotic with efficient penetration rate into deeper cells of skin. personal hygiene and medicated soaps that contains sulfonated resins are also very effective to control such kind of skin problem.
Some home remedies are very efficacious for the removal of fordyce spots. These remedies are easy to use and require minimum cost.
9.1 Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal bath is very famous for scrub like action. Regular usage of oatmeal bath causes peeling of epidermis ( removal of upper layer of skin). A new layer of skin rapidly grows out in a short period of time to replace previous one in case of peeling off effect. This phenomenon works like a magic for the removal of fordyce spots.
9.2 Aloe vera gel
Peeling off effect may cause sometimes irritation on skin so aloe vera gel provides soothing effect to skin and works like emollient. Apply aloe vera gel regularly after oatmeal bath to provide comfort and minimize skin irritation.
Neem leaves (Azadirachta indica) contains high amount of volatile oils are antiseptic and have bactericidal activity. Add neem leaves extract in oatmeal bath and mix it thoroughly to make water antiseptic and anti-infective. If it is not possible then apply neem leaves extract topically but it may cause irritation and burning sensation.
9.4 Coconut oil
Coconut oil is widely used in cosmetic products for its anti-dandruff and anti-psoriatic activity. Many dermatologist recommend coconut oil for number skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and fordyce spots. coconut oil does not cause excessive production of sebum and penetrates rapidly from upper skin layer into deep tissues.
9.5 Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil is well known for its skin glowing effect. It provides both indispensable and dispensable nutrients to the skin that play very important role in normal complexion process of skin. Tea tree oil is very beneficial in fordyce spots because it protects upper layer of skin from various hormonal changes in the body that main
triggering factor in development of fordyce spots.
|Fordyce Spots on Genitals|
|Fordyce Spots on Face|
|Fordyce Spots on skin surface|
|Fordyce Spots on Shaft|
Some frequently asked questions regarding fordyce spots are as follows
Yes, fordyce spots are quite normal because they occur naturally and do not cause any harm or life threatening effect.
No, they are not contagious neither they spread through sexual contact.
There is no exact underlying cause of fordyce spots on lips they may appear on any part of skin. However, many dermatologist suggest that they appear due to hyperplasia of sebaceous glands present in the skin.
There are number of invasive and non-invasive methods available for permanent removal of fordyce spots like Co2 lase technique, electro-dessication and micro-punch technique.
In most instances, fordyce spots does not go away on their own because they occur as a result of irreversible process.
It depends upon the location of fordyce spots for example if they appear on lips they may become prominent and difficult to hide. In that case they may look bad and cause embarrassment.
Normally, they are painless and non-itchy small size spots.
They may remain life time in many cases due to irreversible hyperplasia of sebaceous glands.
There is much difference between fordyce spots and genital warts. Fordyce spots occur as a result of natural phenomenon while genital warts may occur due to some kind of infection or abnormal growth of outer layer of skin.