What are Fordyce Spots?
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 genital areas. The spots, also called Fordyce granules or Fordyce glands, are enlarged oil glands. They are completely normal, harmless, and painless, and they occur in 70 to 80 percent of adults.
Oil glands, called sebaceous glands, are usually associated with hair follicles. Fordyce spots appear on your skin where no hair is present. They usually develop as isolated or scattered bumps, but sometimes they cluster together.
How Can You Identify Fordyce Spots?
Fordyce spots tend to be about 1 to 3 millimeters in diameter but can be larger. They’re usually light yellow or flesh-colored. If they develop in your genital area, they can be a reddish color. Stretching out the surrounding skin makes the spots more visible.
Fordyce spots are most likely to form around the outside of your lips or the inside of your lips and cheeks. They usually appear symmetrically, on both sides of your lips. They can also form on your genital area in both males and females.
Fordyce spots are often barely noticeable, but in some cases they can be unsightly. They aren’t painful, itchy, or infectious. Some other dermatological conditions can appear similar to Fordyce spots, including:
- Milium cysts. They are hard, white, round bumps that can develop on your face
- Sebaceous hyperplasia. A condition that can cause small, soft bumps to form
- Epidermoid cysts. They are small, hard lumps that can form under your skin
- Basal Cell Carcinoma. A type of skin cancer that can appear as a bump, red patch, or other growth
A Fordyce spot is a type of oily gland that has appeared in an unusual location on the body. These are known as ectopic sebaceous glands. It is not known what causes Fordyce spots, but they are studies that have linked their development to hormonal changes, and others suggest that they start to form while an embryo is growing in the womb.
However, although these glands are technically not in their correct place, they are not associated with any disease or illness. Dermatologists advise that they are of only of cosmetic concern.
People who have them might not be happy with the effect of Fordyce spots on the way they look, but they present no risk to physical health. Experts say that Fordyce spots are natural and occur to some degree in most people.
Even though only a minority can identify Fordyce Spots on them, it is not uncommon for them to visit several dermatologists. If you notice any changes to the genitals or face, they should be checked out by a doctor. However, Fordyce spots are not a pressing health concern.
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