Fordyce spots are yellowish raised pimples that occur on the skin, usually found on the shaft of the penis, testicles, lips, and vulva. The disease is common in both men and women. According to estimation, around 70 percent of the total population accumulates this disease unknowingly. According to a Korean medical study, the occurrence is high in men in comparison to women.
Are Fordyce Spots Contagious?
No, fordyce spots are not contagious as they are not caused by any infection. The occurrence of the Fordyce spots in women is commonly on the vermillion border of the lips, inside the cheeks, and on the nipples. When it comes to men, the occurrence is common on the shaft of the penis, especially near the head of Tyson's gland. It is also possible for the spots to occur on the labia minora or at the entrance of the vagina in a woman.
What Causes Fordyce Spots?
Enlargement of sebaceous glands causes Fordyce spots. The importance of sebaceous glands is to produce natural oil called as sebum. The sebum enters the hair follicle and lubricates the skin. In the instance of Fordyce spots, there is the absence of hair follicle, and the blockage of the sebum occurs in raised bumps.
Sebaceous glands that are functioning appropriately produce the sebum at frequent intervals and help in keeping the skin moist. It is easy to spot Fordyce spots as they appear without hair follicles and the visible protrusion on the skin. These fordyce spots occur naturally occur at birth but disappear eventually. There is also the re-occurrence of the fordyce spots during the time of puberty. According to research, there is a tendency for the fordyce spots to increase with age.
Symptoms of Fordyce Spots
The following symptoms appear on a person who is suffering from fordyce spots:
- Fordyce spots developing on the surface of the skin that measures around 0.2-0.3mm
- Skin color changing to yellow or pink on the affected region with fordyce spots
- They are easy to spot when stretched and resemble as small grains of rice
- Fordyce spots occurs as a cluster of 50 spots or more
- Common locations of fordyce spots include lips, penis, vulva, vagina, and scrotum
- Although not painful, fordyce spots cause discomfort and itchiness.
Personal diagnosis will not be helpful in identifying the presence of fordyce spots. The proper medical examination is necessary to determine the presence of fordyce spots. However, even doctors at times misdiagnose the presence of the illness as a few STDs in the early stages look familiar to that of the fordyce spots. Hence, it is preferable to consider a second opinion before looking out for appropriate treatment.
Treatment of Fordyce Spots
A mixture of therapies is available to treat fordyce spots. These include invasive and non-invasive procedures. Irrespective of the treatment, it is necessary to remember that avoiding picking and squeezing the fordyce spots is preferable, as it will only worsen the condition.
Punch Excision for Treating Fordyce Spots
Carried out by a dermatologist using local anesthesia, the method includes the use of a machine that helps in making 1-2mm holes targeting the fordyce spots. The doctor will then remove the Fordyce granules manually, and each hole receives stitches.
Another way to Treat Fordyce Spots is by Cauterization
The other name for the procedure is Diathermy or Electrodessication. Performed by a surgeon, dermatologist or a general practitioner, it uses a fine probe with electrically heated tip applied on the fordyce spots. The treatment is quick and least expensive.
Laser Vaporization to Get Rid of Fordyce Spots
The light focused from the laser reacts with the tissue of the skin and helps in burning away the skin lesions. The high temperature seals the skin without causing pain and scarring. The best results achieved are by using CO2 laser vaporization. The reason of the use of CO2 is because of its precise degree. It is helpful in curing fordyce spots and its granules around lips and mouth which will help in achieving clean results.
Treating Fordyce Spots with Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy is a standard treatment for several forms of cancer. The same applies to fordyce spots. The method includes an oral drug which is a photosensitising agent. The agent begins to concentrate on the abnormal skin cells, and with the application of laser light on the fordyce spots, it reacts immediately with oxygen and burns away the targeted cells. Although the entire procedure is new for curing fordyce spots, the signs are promising without showing any side effects including burning sensation or itchiness.
Apart from the treatments mentioned above, it is also essential to maintain a balancing pH skin level. Both water and cosmetic products have severe effects. Avoiding harsh alkaline shower gels, soaps, and cosmetic products are helpful in triggering the natural factor that is responsible for the occurrence of fordyce spots.