Fordyce spots Definition and meaning:- These are small, elevated, pale yellow, red or white color bumps or acnes that appears typically on the lips, shaft of the penis, the labia, scrotum and foreskin of the penis. They are also termed as Fordyce granules or Sebaceous Prominence.
What are Fordyce Spots?
Pale yellow, red or white color raised bumps that appear typically on the border of the lips, shaft of the penis, the labia, scrotum or foreskin of the penis are called Fordyce spots. They are easily noticeable and are more common in females than men. They are named after John Addison Fordyce, an American dermatologist who first discovered this condition.
These small growths are painless and are usually 3-4 millimeters in diameter. They are basically superficial sebaceous or oil-producing glands found on the wet tissue linings of particular organs, body cavities or mucosal exteriors. This ailment is known by several other names like:
- Angiokeratoma of the scrotum
- Sebaceous Prominence
- Fordyce’s condition
- Fordyce Granules
Difference between Fordyce spots and Genital Warts
These little bumps are mostly mistaken as genital warts due to their appearance and location of eruption. There are several factors that distinguish Fordyce sports from genital warts:
|Table||Fordyce spots||Genital Warts|
|Time Period||They can last for a few days, a few weeks or a few months.||They can stay for years together.|
|Color||Generally dark in color.||Pale white, yellow or red appearance.|
|Appearance||Resemble goose bumps and become whitish when you stretch the affected skin.||Generally gray or flesh-colored swellings in your genital area.|
|Size||Generally 3-4 mm in diameter.||They are much larger in size.|
Causes of Fordyce Spots
These are inflamed sebaceous glands. The function of sebaceous glands is to harvest and discharge natural oil called Sebum into the hair follicles in order to grease the skin. In case of Fordyce spots, the glands get blocked with Sebum due to the absence of hair follicles, resulting in the appearance of white bumps. This is also called Fordyce disease. These spots can occur naturally at birth but usually appear for the first time around puberty. It is found that 96% of the adolescents have Fordyce spots.
These white spots are not infectious and cannot be transmitted from people to people. People with high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are seldom at an increased risk of having these white spots on the boundary of the lips and other organs. Very high level of fat in the body leads to an increase in production of sebum in the body, directly increasing the eruptions of Fordyce spots on the body.
Symptoms of Fordyce Spots
There are only a few peculiar symptoms of Fordyce spots. These are tiny, pale yellow, white or red spots that are found on the:
- Vermilion border of the lips
- Shaft of the penis
- Labia in female
Some of the characteristics of Fordyce spots are:
Size:– These elevated spots are usually 3-4 millimeters in diameter.
Color:- Color of the bumps can vary depending upon the location of growth. The color is usually white on the vermilion border of the lips and reddish purplish in case of genital organs.
Non-itchy:- These raised spots are not rashes and are not accompanied by itching.
Painless:- There is no pain or burning sensation.
Fordyce Spots Diagnosis
Diagnosis of these spots can be done through proper physical examination. In severe cases, the dermatologist may recommend biopsy.
Since these white spots resemble various other conditions like herpes and genital warts, it is important that other similar conditions like the ones given below must be ruled out:
- Sebaceous adenoma
- Sebaceous carcinoma
- Follicular infundibula tumour
- Fibrous papule in the face
- Hirsuties papillary genitalis
- Angiokeratoma of the vulva and scrotum
- Molluscum contagiosum
- Calcinosis cutis
- Cowden disease
- Muir-torre syndrome
Are Fordyce Spots Contagious?
These spots are not associated with any sort of infection as there is no infection causing organism like bacteria, virus and parasites associated with them. According to medical sign, if the disease is not related to any of the infectious agents, it is not contagious, hence Fordyce spots on the lips or genital organs are not contagious in nature.
Fordyce Spots Treatment
It is a normal physiological phenomenon and many doctors do not recommend treating the Fordyce spots as they themselves, go away with time. However, there are several treatments possible for them as they are a great matter of cosmetic concern, especially in females:
Electro-desiccation or Laser Therapy :- Different laser therapies like vaporising and electro-desiccation can be used to treat Fordyce spots. Electro-desiccation is also known as CO2 laser. So far, it has been successful in eliminating these white untimely eruptions in patients. The use of CO2 laser therapy with topical bichloroacetic acid trichloroacetic acid makes it more effective.
Pulsed Dye Laser :- This is another effect laser therapy which can be used to treat Fordyce spots.
In this therapy, a concentrated beam of light that converts into head is used to destroy harmful blood vessels while leaving the surrounding skin absolutely safe.
Micro Punch Technique :- This technique is used to treat various skin lesions including Fordyce bumps. It is a surgical procedure which involves removal of these spots from areas like the male genitilia. However, there are chances that the spots may occur again after a few months or years.
Topical creams and gels :- Fordyce spots can also be removed by topical creams and gels like Tretinoin. The cream, when applied to the spots several times in a day can help in reducing their size. Use of clindamycin can also help in reducing any sort of inflammation. Tretinion cream has also proved highly effective in reducing these spots.
Cryosurgery :- This method involves the destruction of Fordyce bumps using low temperatures. It is not a full proof method and there are chances that the surrounding skin may get damaged.
Phototherapy :- Use of 5-aminolevulinic acid phototherapy is very effective in reducing Fordyce spots. However, there are few side effects like burning sensation, hyperpigmentation and vesiculation that make it not very patient friendly.
Home Remedies For Fordyce Spots
Yes! There are several home remedies that can help you get rid of Fordyce Spots.
|Apple Cider Vinegar||Since Apple Cider Vinegar is widely used to treat various skin conditions, it comes very handy in the home treatment of Fordyce spots. It has excellent antiseptic, antimicrobial and pH amendable properties. On application on the white spots, its help in eliminating the trapped sebum and removes the top layer of the skin, eliminating all of them. Its pH regulating property helps in keeping a check on overproduction of sebum.|
|Garlic||It is a marvelous antioxidant and helps in dealing with inflammation of the skin. It is also a very good antibacterial and anti-fungal natural medicine. In order to get rid of those white spots, include garlic in your regular diet or start taking garlic supplements. You can also make garlic paste and apply it on the affected area. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes and rinse it with water.|
|Coconut Oil||It acts as a very good hydrating agent and helps in reducing inflammation of the skin. Apply some amount of coconut oil 4-5 times a day to get rid of Fordyce spots.|
|Olive Oil||As olive oil contains antioxidants and is a perfect hydrating agent, it helps in fading away Fordyce spots. Apply olive oil 4-6 times a day and wash it with soap and normal water after application for 1-2 hours.|
|Citric Acid||Citric acid comes with excellent exfoliating properties and thus helps in removing the affected layer of skin and replacing it with new one. All citrus fruits and vegetables like orange and lemon have citric acid. It can also soak through the skin and disband the sebum trapped within the Fordyce spots.|
|Honey and Oatmeal scrub||This is a powerful combo to remove Fordyce spots. Oatmeal acts as an exfoliating agent and honey helps in disbanding the trapped sebum.|
|Tea Tree Oil||It is a very effective home remedy which helps in relieving the inflamed skin.|
|Asparagus||It is one of the richest sources of folic acid. It ensures that there is metabolic consistency in your skin and Fordyce spots do not occur.|
|Avoid cosmetics||If you notice the occurrence of Fordyce spots on the border of your lips, stop using cosmetics for some time and let the skin be. Usage of cosmetic containing several chemicals can lead to increase in growth of the white spots.|
|Avoid hot beverages||If you are troubled with Fordyce spots on the lips, try to avoid hot beverages like tea and coffee which can make the skin dry causing more problems.|
Fordyce Spots Pictures
Check out these pictures to understand how they look like.