Fordyce spots treatment options

Published: 10th August 2010
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A range of treatments are readily available to deal with this common condition (if you're wondering how common, then it has been estimated that perhaps three quarters of young adults suffer from it to some degree; this rises in young men, who are more likely than women to have them). To start with, it helps to know a little bit about the underlying reasons for the condition. There is no known reason for their occurrence - they are harmless and non-infectious, so are not transmissible - although there is some evidence that there may be genetic causes. Whatever their ultimate origins, they are a form of ectopic sebaceous gland - a misplaced sebum-producing gland. These glands are usually only found in conjunction with a hair follicle. Sebum keeps the skin supple, but in these incidences it causes the often unsightly Fordyce spots. Treatment focuses on addressing both the effect of the sebum and its production.

The spots are not so very different from acne, and remedies often work along more or less the same lines. Fordyce spots treatment generally takes the form of topical creams and gels, which are applied once or twice daily to the affected area. If you're buying these over the counter, or online, then it's worth making absolutely sure that the one you're purchasing can be used on both genital and facial spots, if relevant.

The first line of defence of these creams is to address the symptoms of the Fordyce spots; treatment of the effect of the sebum gland responsible for the spot begins with absorbing the excess sebum which causes the raised lesion. At the same time, the cream is designed to constrict the pore around the gland, which makes the spot smaller in appearance. (Since they can be up to five millimetres across, this is an important stage, although most are smaller. They can be yellow-white or red, and appear in clusters or singly. In the worst cases, a few dozen large red spots might be found in one area - obviously a more off-putting sight than the odd one or two light-coloured ones.) Lastly, the creams significantly reduce the production of sebum in the misplaced gland itself, all but eliminating the cause of the problem.

Although Fordyce spots affect most young adults to some degree, many will not notice them, or even realise they have them unless they are looking for them or the spots are very visible. The good news is that for those with a bad case of Fordyce spots, treatment can be highly effective and long-lasting. The topical creams will generally vastly reduce the appearance of the lesions, rendering them effectively invisible or a fraction of their former extent. Creams need to be applied daily to begin with, but once treatment is complete, they will only be needed on an occasional basis to maintain the effect (since creams alone will not remove the gland).

In extreme cases, where the anti-sebum creams alone don't have enough of an effect, Fordyce spots treatment can be extended with a range of cosmetic procedures, including chemical peels and laser treatments - similar to the rejuvenating processes used by many beauticians. Since such procedures always have slight risks associated with them, many doctors will discourage you from seeking them, as Fordyce spots are essentially totally harmless. It's worth talking through any risks with your GP, and doing your own research, before you head down this route. Generally speaking, the dangers (usually scarring) are more severe depending on the depth of the layers of skin they address.

Paul Aspin wrote the Article 'Fordyce spots treatment options' and recommends you Google 'Fordyce Spots' for more information.


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