fordyce spots on lips fordyce spots on lips

Fordyce Spots On Lips: 3 Best Things To Know About

Ever wondered what those tiny white papules or granule-like little bumps on your lips may be? Don’t fret; these little white bumps without hair follicles are nothing but Fordyce spots.

A clinical case reports that these kinds of spots are prevalent; almost 70 to 80 percent of all adults on earth experience having Fordyce spots on lips or other regions of their bodies. In some cases, these Fordyce granules can appear in the female and male genital areas, either on the penis or the labia.

Fordyce spots on your vag lip may be something you have or someone you know has. They may appear on anyone, regardless of skin type! These instances are rare but are possible.

However, there are still many things to clarify; what is it, is it dangerous, and do they cause any pain?

Here are three crucial things to know: what a Fordyce spot is and how to deal with them.

What are Fordyce Granules or Fordyce Spots?

Fordyce granules or spots are enlarged oil glands under the surface of our skin. These glands exist in everyone’s skin. Fordyce spots or glands don’t have any hair follicles on them. It is also referred to as sebaceous hyperplasia.

What causes Fordyce spots on lips? The answer is hormonal changes, aging, and other factors may lead to you developing this skin condition where the oil glands enlarge.

If you want to identify them, look for yellow-white spots or granules, 2 to 3 millimeters in size, sometimes smaller, on the upper lip usually, that appear bunched up. Fordyce spots can be commonly found to be skin-colored, making them hard to spot. The spots are called Fordyce granules because they feel like little granules roughly the size of poppy seeds.

Many people who haven’t had Fordyce spots diagnosed tend to get frightened and concerned; a volatile development in skin conditions, scars, moles, and bumps that appear extra-ordinary or irregular should be medically reviewed.

Many confuse Fordyce spots on lips with milium cysts, sebaceous hyperplasia, epidermoid cysts, and more.

Fordyce spots on genitals are not the same as genital warts and are not nearly as harmful. Genital warts appear bigger and tend to be itchy or painful. 

If you are confused about your skin condition, consult your doctor, who will provide medical advice that will be better to be safe. Skin cancer is a common killer and must be diagnosed as early as possible.

Do Fordyce Spots Only Appear on Older People?

Not necessarily. In the paperClinicopathologic manifestations of patients with Fordyce’s Spots,‘ researchers note that in a medically reviewed study, females with this issue had an average of 19.4 years, and men had an average age of 41.1 years.

We may assume that many factors, like age and hormonal changes, affect their appearance.

How Are They Different From Ectopic Sebaceous Glands?

Ectopic sebaceous glands, also called Fordyce glands, are the same. Fordyce spots on lips cause a red bulge-like appearance, sometimes with blood. Fordyce spots are small, benign nature spots with almost no risk factors if they appear on your skin.

There is no exact cause for Fordyce spots on lips or other body parts except for aging and hormonal changes.

Adrenal androgenic hormones also stimulate sebaceous glands. You may even live out your entire life without needing to treat Fordyce spots.

Are These Spots Harmful?

Some people have questions like do Fordyce spots burn or do Fordyce spots bad? Not at all. Fordyce spots typically are not harmful or cancerous in any shape or form.

But still, you need to know about the ways of Fordyce spots on lips removal. They tend to occur in regions with oily skin. Fordyce spots are entirely painless.

Fordyce glands are wholly benign, but if you are experiencing other symptoms like:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • A burning sensation
  • Irritation in the affected area

Please ensure you visit a physician or dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.

If you are unsure if the Fordyce spots on your genital area are what they seem, please ensure you advise diagnosis or treatment from your doctor to identify or rule out skin conditions caused due to sexually transmitted disease or infection and skin cancer. An accurate diagnosis early on can be a lifesaver!

Do not squeeze or pick at them if you notice and correctly identify Fordyce spots on your lips. A Fordyce spot can easily be mistaken for a pimple since it doesn’t have a hair follicle. Picking at Fordyce spots will only lead to irritation of the surrounding skin.

If you try to squeeze them, especially with your fingers, you risk creating an unpleasant condition under the top layer of your skin since bacteria and dirt can transfer from your fingers to your facial skin and cause infections.

How Can I Get Rid of Fordyce Spots?

Fordyce spots may not be the prettiest to look at; they may make you feel insecure and want to change your appearance for your cosmetic goals or feel better about your appearance.

If you’re wondering how to reduce the appearance of these enlarged oil glands, worry not. You may use many methods as a treatment to reduce their appearance.

Fordyce Spots
By Rido/ Shutterstock

After approaching a medical doctor or a dermatologist who can provide medical advice, ensure you weigh the pros and cons of undergoing any skin treatment. The use of Bichloroacetic acid for Fordyce spots is also effective.

Here are some methods of getting rid of big Fordyce spots.

1. Laser Treatments

Fordyce Spots
By Parilov/ Shutterstock

Two types of laser treatment are primarily used to remove Fordyce spots. The oil glands that cause the spots are exposed to lasers that help remove or lessen their appearance.

There are two approaches you may go for if opting for laser treatment.

1.1 Carbon Dioxide Laser Treatments

This treatment will help you reduce the appearance of Fordyce spots by zapping them. Essentially, it will remove a thin layer of your skin. This method is commonly used to remove the appearance of wrinkles and photodamage, among other things.

This treatment removes other forms of non-cancerous, benign skin conditions. It is a relatively non-invasive form of aesthetic surgery. The catch is that this form of laser resurfacing can leave scars.


1.2 Pulsed Dye Lasers

This method is much less damaging than the carbon dioxide laser since it will leave no scars on your skin and is used mainly to remove Fordyce spots on your lips.

In this treatment, the pulsed dye laser is circulated at high speed, emitting stimulated radiation of different wavelengths between 585 to 595 nanometers on the affected areas. This can help reduce the appearance of the Fordyce glands.

Q & A: Pulse Dye Laser (PDL)

2. Micro Punch Surgery

Fordyce spots are generally on the lips and genitals. Such placement of Fordyce spots means that the micro punch technique can be painful.

Per your doctor’s medical advice, diagnosing Fordyce spots in lips may require you to be put under local anesthesia to prevent pain. You can choose this method to pick a surgical approach to remove Fordyce spots.

A pen-like device will remove any unwanted tissue created due to Fordyce spots. This is a suitable method since it does not leave any scars and has reported no recurrence of Fordyce spots for over a year after the treatment.

You must consult a doctor before using the micro punch method.

3. Topical and Oral Treatments

Topical treatments are a great way to remove Fordyce spots since they’re mostly in your control, are completely non-invasive, and are inexpensive. Topical treatments are also more easily accessible than surgical or laser resurfacing methods.

Fordyce spots are small and will likely not require much product. Experts suggest using Bichloracetic Acid and topical tretinoin as a treatment for Fordyce spots. Be careful, as you may have an allergic reaction to these treatments.

If you notice that your skin looks different (spots, hives, or pale red color) due to using said treatments, go to your nearest hospital or call your physician immediately.

Oral isotretinoin is an excellent way to treat these Fordyce spots; Oral treatments are also good. Before acting upon any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, approach a dermatologist.

The Bottom Line

Fordyce spots aren’t harmful at all. They pose no threat to your general well-being except for aesthetic shortfalls. If you want to get rid of them anyway, many of the above treatments have been proven effective in reducing their appearance.

Remember that aesthetic beauty is a personal choice and plastic surgery is not the only option available. When seeking treatment for skin issues, do your research and remember to keep your physical and mental well-being first. Weigh your options, evaluate your financial situation and only then make an informed decision.

Academic research institutions suggest that social anxiety and standards, exposure to social media, and low self-esteem can create issues like body dysmorphia that may make you feel like you don’t look the way you should.

Always know that you must surround yourself with positivity and goodness. Maintain a good diet and get regular checkups with your physician to ensure your safety and well-being.

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