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What Causes Sebaceous Hyperplasia And How To Get Rid Of Them?

What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Sebaceous Hyperplasia is quite a common skin disorder normally seen in the elderly population or people in their 40s or 50s. It is caused due to abnormality in the sebaceous glands resulting in formation of bumps or lesions. These lesions are usually yellow in color and look like small papules. They commonly occur on the face, nose, cheek, and forehead. At times, lesions caused due to Sebaceous Hyperplasia can also develop in the chest, nipple-areolar region, scrotum, and the mouth. These lesions are completely benign and the potential for them to become malignant is completely negligible [1].

The lesions caused by Sebaceous Hyperplasia are much smaller in appearance than the ones that appear at other parts of the body like the mouth or the areolar region. According to various studies, Sebaceous Hyperplasia affected around 1% of people in the United States who have no other health condition. However, its prevalence increases to around 15% in people who are immune compromised by taking cyclosporin for a prolonged period of time. However, gender prevalence of this condition is not known as of yet [1].

What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Sebaceous Hyperplasia is also quite common in newborns according to some studies. The study analyzed data of 100 neonates and found out that around 43% of those neonates had Sebaceous Hyperplasia. The study was conducted in Iran. However, majority of the symptoms of Sebaceous Hyperplasia appear much later in life usually in the fifth or the sixth decade and continue well into the 70s and 80s. This article highlights some of the potential causes of Sebaceous Hyperplasia and different ways of treating the condition [1].

What Causes Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

With regard to the causes, the root cause of Sebaceous Hyperplasia has not been identified but there are several factors which increase the risk of an individual developing this condition. Sebaceous Hyperplasia is mostly seen in people with fair skin and above the age of 40. This is especially so if they have been exposed to direct sunlight regularly. The damage caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun is believed to be the cause of the onset of the symptoms of Sebaceous Hyperplasia [2].

A family history of this condition also makes it much likely for an individual to have Sebaceous Hyperplasia. People with a compromised immune system or who are taking medications which suppress the immune system are also at risk for developing Sebaceous Hyperplasia. Additionally, people who have Muir-Torre Syndrome are also at increased risk for developing Sebaceous Hyperplasia. People with Muir-Torre Syndrome require extra attention in order to diagnose Sebaceous Hyperplasia as in some cases it may also indicate the presence of a tumor [2].

How To Get Rid Of Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

With regard to treatment of Sebaceous Hyperplasia, it is a benign condition and rarely requires treatment. An individual may prefer to remove these lesions if they appear unsightly especially when they occur in the face or other exposed area of the body. There are various approaches to treat Sebaceous Hyperplasia but these require multiple sessions for complete removal of the lesions caused due to Sebaceous Hyperplasia [2].

Retinol: This variant of vitamin A is extremely effective in treating various skin disorders. It is extremely effective and preferred in treatment of Sebaceous Hyperplasia.

However, this medication needs to be applied diligently as it stops working and causes recurrence of the lesions if not regularly applied [2].

Facial Peels: This is yet another effective treatment for Sebaceous Hyperplasia. Facial Peels usually contains salicylic acid which is extremely effective in treating various skin related conditions like acne or Sebaceous Hyperplasia. However, facial peels may result in skin irritation, erythema, and skin sensitivity. Thus appropriate aftercare is mandatory after facial peel to prevent any complications from arising [2].

Laser Treatment: This procedure involves using laser beams to remove the trapped sebum or oils within the lesions. It results in the lesions fading away and the skin having a smooth appearance. However, laser treatment first should be done in limited area to ensure that the individual does not have any adverse reaction to the treatment [2].

Cryotherapy: This is also quite effective in getting rid of the lesions caused by Sebaceous Hyperplasia. This procedure involves freezing the lesions. This will result in them getting dried off and fall on their own. However cryotherapy is known to cause discoloration of the skin around the affected area. Thus the patient should weigh his or her options clearly before embarking on this treatment [2].

Electrocautery: This procedure involves using electric current to burn the lesions. The burnt skin then scabs over and falls off. This not only removes the lesions but also makes the skin smooth around the affected area. However, precaution should be maintained as the scabs may leave behind discolored marks over the skin surface [2].

Photodynamic Therapy: This form of therapy involves applying a medication on the affected area of the skin that makes that area extremely sensitive to light. A beam of light is then passed through the area which literally kills the cells and makes the skin smooth. It should be noted that photodynamic therapy makes the skin extremely sensitive and irritable. It may also cause the skin to become red and the skin may also start to peel [2].

Surgery: If all the above mentioned treatment is deemed ineffective the severity of the lesions caused by Sebaceous Hyperplasia is more, then the physician may resort to surgery to treat Sebaceous Hyperplasia. Surgically removing the lesions will prevent any chances of them recurring anytime in the future [2].

Antiandrogen: There have been some studies which have suggested a connection between Sebaceous Hyperplasia and increased levels of testosterone in the body. This is the reason why some physicians prescribe antiandrogen medications to decrease the levels of testosterone, especially in females where the response to other forms of treatment is questionable [2].

Other than the treatments mentioned above for Sebaceous Hyperplasia, there are also certain home remedies which can be employed for effective treatment of the lesions caused by Sebaceous Hyperplasia. These home remedies decrease the size of the lesions to an extent that they are barely visible. Any over the counter face skin product that contains retinol will be effective in treating Sebaceous Hyperplasia [2].

Additionally, creams, cleansers, or lotions containing salicylic acid are equally effective in treating the symptoms of Sebaceous Hyperplasia. Some people find putting warm compresses over the affected area as helpful in calming down the symptoms. This is because the rough surface of the washcloth squeezes out the contents of the lesions and dries them off [2].

The individual has to wash the affected area with a medicated soap and water and then put a clean washcloth over the area. Warm compresses are also effective in treating the inflammation and swelling that are caused due to Sebaceous Hyperplasia. There is no way to prevent Sebaceous Hyperplasia as of now but avoiding exposure to direct sunlight on a persistent basis or using sunscreens may help a bit in preventing Sebaceous Hyperplasia [2].

In conclusion, Sebaceous Hyperplasia is a benign skin condition and is not a cause of worry in majority of the cases. However, the lesions caused by this condition can be unsightly and even be a source of embarrassment in some people especially if they develop in the cheeks or the nose. This is the reason why many people prefer to remove these lesions. There are numerous ways to get rid of the lesions caused by Sebaceous Hyperplasia. They include electrocautery, photodynamic therapy, cryotherapy, and laser treatments [2].

All these approaches are equally effective however some of these treatments can cause skin discoloration which needs to be take care of. In severe cases of Sebaceous Hyperplasia, a physician may resort to surgery to remove the lesions. This is only done if the lesions are extremely severe and other forms of treatment are not as effective [2].

There are also certain home remedies like warm compresses or using cleansers having retinol or salicylic acid which are also quite effective in getting rid of lesions caused by Sebaceous Hyperplasia. Thus it is recommended to discuss the various treatments options available and the risks and benefits of those with a dermatologist who can formulate the treatment best suited for the needs of the individual to take care of Sebaceous Hyperplasia [2].


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 29, 2020

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