Fordyce spots are harmless but can be removed

Dr. Reed, Been told I have Fordyce spots on my penis?  Are they contagious and how do you think I got them?  Lenny

Dear Lenny,

Fordyce spots are whitish-yellow bumps that can occur on the edge of your lips or inside your cheeks. Less often, they can appear on your penis or scrotum if you’re male or your labia if you’re female. They are not contagious.

The spots, also called Fordyce granules or Fordyce glands, are enlarged oil glands. They are completely normal, harmless, and painless. They occur in 70 to 80 percent of adults, as reported by researchers in the journal Clinical Case Reports and Reviews.

Oil glands, called sebaceous glands, are usually associated with hair follicles. But Fordyce spots appear on your skin where no hair is attached. They usually develop as isolated or scattered bumps, but sometimes they cluster together.

How are Fordyce spots treated?

Fordyce spots usually don’t need treatment. But if you want to remove the spots for cosmetic reasons, remedies are available. Here are some of the options you can discuss with your doctor.

Micro-punch surgery

Your doctor may use micro-punch surgery to rapidly and effectively remove multiple spots from your face or genital area. Before performing it, they apply a local anesthetic to reduce your pain. Then they use a small pen-like device to punch your skin and remove unwanted tissue.

This procedure doesn’t leave scars. A study published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery found participants showed no signs of recurring Fordyce spots a year following surgery.

Laser treatments

Your doctor may use carbon dioxide laser treatments to zap your Fordyce spots. However, this type of laser treatment might leave scars. Pulsed dye lasers may be less scarring. Both lasers use a concentrated beam of light, but at different wavelengths. Treatment with a pulsed dye laser is more expensive.

Topical treatments

Topical treatments to shrink or remove Fordyce spots include bichloracetic acid, topical tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A), and oral isotretinoin (Sotret, Claravis). Your doctor may recommend combining these topical treatments with laser treatments. They may produce side effects, such as inflammation and a burning sensation.

Other treatments

Other treatments include chemical cauterization.

(credit to healthline.com)

Harold M. Reed, M.D.
The Reed Centre for Ambulatory Surgery | Miami
1-305-865-2000

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Fordyce spots

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