Get Insights on how to get rid of Fordyce spots on lips, balls, vagina, penis shaft and other areas. Fordyce spots can be described as pale yellow to white or skin colored spots raised on superficial layer of skin. They are small size harmless spots originate from sebaceous glands present in the layer and mostly appear around mouth, lips, scrotum penile area and labia. They are 1-2mm in diameter and can be seen through naked eye.

They are named after John Addison Fordyce. He was a dermatologist who discovered these spots first time and explained them in a medical journal. Thereafter, these spots are also recognized as fordyce granules, fordyce lesions, fordyce disease and ectopic sebaceous glands.

Fordyce Spots Sites

Fordyce spots causes

Fordyce spots on lips

These spots may appear on different body surfaces but most commonly affected areas are lips and genital parts.

  1. Fordyce spots on lips 

Lips are the most prominent place among all sites where fordyce spots appear and cause embarrassment because they are difficult to hide. It is so sad that most of the people who get these spots get the on their lips.

  1. Upper lips 

Both upper and lower lips can be affected but tendency to develop fordyce spots is slightly lower in case of upper lips. It is proposed that upper lips have less number of sebaceous glands as compared to lower lips so it might be the reason to its low affinity to get fordyce spots.

  1. Lower lips

Borders of Lower lips are more susceptible to get these spots because they have more number of sebaceous glands. First, hyperplasia of sebaceous glands present around the border of lower lips occurs and then turns into fordyce spots. They become more prominent when mucosal lining of lips is in stretched position.

  1. Fordyce spots in male
    Gender difference is not that much in this case. Proportionality constant is same in males and females because it is not gender specific problem.
  2. Fordyce spots on penis

Penile area is second most common site after lips in males where fordyce spots occur. Penile area is divided into 2 parts as far as fordyce spots are concerned. One is penis head and second is penis shaft. Penis head is less likely to get fordyce spots due to low number of sebaceous glands.

  1. Penile shaft
    Lower end of the penile shaft has high preference to get fordyce spots as compared to all other genital parts in males. In most cases, it is seen that sebaceous glands present around the lower end of shaft are very sensitive and mild to moderate form of hyperplasia may turn them into fordyce spots.
  2. Scrotum

Although in rare cases, superficial layer of scrotum may get involved in fordyce spots. Moreover, upper layer of scrotum is not plain surface so that’s why many people do not notice these small size spots and they remain unidentified.

  1. Fordyce spots in female

In females, vaginal area is most sensitive area where these spots occur commonly and frequently as compared to other body surfaces. In females, sebaceous glands present around the nipples may undergo hyperplasia and turned into fordyce spots as well. This is 3rd most common site where fordyce spots occur after lips and vaginal area.

  1. On vagina

Vaginal area is the second most common site where fordyce spots appear. However, this area is divided into two portions according to fordyce spots affinity. These portions are out outside of the vagina and mucosal membrane lies inside the vagina. Outer portion of vagina is more susceptible to get the spots due to higher risk of hyperplasia and increased sensitivity.

10. On labia

The outer portion of vagina is divided into two major sites where they occur. One is labia majora and other is labia minora. If we compare both sites labia minora is more likely to get fordyce spots as compared to labia majora. The exact reason is unknown but many dermatologists proposed that this hyperplasia is triggered by excessive release of hormones like estrogens and androgens.

Symptoms of Fordyce Spots

The spots remain asymptomatic throughout life that is why a number of people do not notice them and they remain unidentified. However, it may be embarrassing or irritating when it is cosmetically concerned.

  • On lips fordyce spots become more visible when they are in stretched position.
  • On genital parts like penile shaft fordyce spots become more prominent when it is in erected position.
  • Small bumps measuring 0.2mm-3mm.
  • Yellow, pinkish, or skin colored.
  • They are easier to spot when the skin is stretched, and can resemble small grains of rice.
  • Sometimes found as single spots, but more commonly found in clusters of 50 or more.
  • Usually are located on the lips, penis, scrotum and vagina.
  • They are not painful, but can occasionally be itchy, especially after sexual intercourse.

Fordyce Spots Causes

Fordyce spots on penile shaft

Causes of fordyce spots

Fordyce spots are also called Fordyce granules or sebaceous prominence. They can range in size from 1 mm to 3 mm and they can be just a single spot or be in large groups or clusters of spots. There are numerous things that make cause appearance of these spots on your skin.

The following are the main causes

  1. Enlarged Ectopic sebaceous glands

As we discussed earlier, the exact mechanism is still unknown but many skin specialist suggest that occurrence of fordyce spots are strongly associated with hyperplasia of sebaceous glands. Preliminary clinical data shows that this hyperplasia is triggered by certain kind of hormonal imbalances and metabolic changes in the body during puberty. These small size spots are benign in nature and do not cause any life threatening effect.

Fordyce spots are enlarged sebaceous glands. The function of Sebaceous glands is to produce and release natural oil known as Sebum into the hair follicle to lubricate the skin. In the case of Fordyce spots, there is no hair follicle, and the Sebum is blocked resulting in raised bumps.

  1. Natural occurrence at birth

Regular sebaceous glands produce sebum and are found within hair follicles, whereas Fordyce spots are found without hair follicles abnormally positioned visibly protruding from the skin. The spots or bumps occur naturally at birth, but usually appear for the first time around puberty. Evidence suggests the incidence tends to increase with age. The more you stay with the condition, the more you should know how to get rid of Fordyce spots as you learn more from other people who have the condition.

The condition occurs naturally and is not associated with any illness, HIV or any Sexually Transmitted Disease. They are not caused by a virus, and are not contagious.  In fact the spots are completely harmless, and considered a cosmetic concern only.

Are Fordyce Spots Contagious

Fordyce spots are sebaceous glands that are visible to the naked eye. They are not associated with any infectious medical condition and they are not infectious themselves, as there is no bacterial or fungal agent associated to them. When a disease is not caused by an infectious agent, then that means it cannot be transmitted to other people. Fordyce spots on lips are not infectious and thus they are not contagious either.

However, note that proper hygiene is a must, as secondary infections can appear and these are often times caused by bacterial agents. The moment a person has Fordyce spots and a bacterial infection in that area, he/she becomes contagious. And be sure to keep in mind that bacterial infections can be transmitted through the usage of personal objects as well, not just direct interaction.

It is important to remember that the next time you want to use another person’s towel or even toothbrush; it is not for nothing that these are objects of personal hygiene. Sharing them make you vulnerable to get infected.

How to Get Rid of Fordyce Spots

Examining your body on your own does not substitute a proper medical examination. Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases may appear as Fordyce’s spots in their early stages, therefore it is important to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor. Unfortunately Fordyce spots are often missed or misdiagnosed by doctors, therefore it may also be worth getting a second opinion.

There are a variety of treatments available. Some are more invasive than others, and the success rates vary. It is important to avoid squeezing or picking the spots, which can worsen the condition and cause scarring.

Surgical Procedures

  1. Punch Excision

Can be carried out under local anesthetic by a Dermatologist or trained medical professional. A machine is used to make 1-2mm wide holes in the skin, targeting the spots. The individual Fordyce granules are then removed manually and each hole is stitched. This is an effective method, with an unlikely chance of reoccurrence, although there is a significant chance of scarring.

  1. Cauterization

Also known as Electrodessication or Diathermy, this procedure is performed by a Dermatologist, and requires a local anesthetic or numbing cream as it is also important when it comes to on how to get rid of Fordyce spots. A fine probe or Hyfrecator instrument is heated electrically then applied to the spots, which are then burnt away. This treatment is quick and less expensive than some other surgical options as usually only one session is needed; however there is a risk of scarring with this method. Healing may take two weeks.

  1. Laser Vaporization
Fordyce spots treatment

Laser treatment for fordyce spots

Several practitioners offer to cure Fordyce condition through the use of lasers. The focused light from the laser reacts with skin tissue burning away abnormal skin lesions at an extremely high temperature. The heat seals the skin around the wound minimizing scarring and pain. The best results however have been achieved using CO2 laser vaporization. This is because a CO2 laser is very precise, to a degree of 0.1mm.

  1. Photodynamic therapy

A common treatment for various forms of cancer, it has had some reported success curing the condition. This method uses a photosensitizing agent which is taken orally as a drug. Once in the body the agent concentrates in abnormal skin cells, then when a laser is applied to the spots it reacts with the oxygen and the agent to burn away the targeted cells. This is a relatively new method for curing Fordyce spots.

Less Invasive Fordyce Treatments

  1. Cryotherapy

It is commonly used to treat warts; this method utilizes liquid nitrogen to freeze the spots. It also is somewhat less accurate than the other methods, and must be undertaken by a professional. The process is uncomfortable and multiple sessions are usually required on how to get rid of Fordyce spots.

  1. Bichloraticacid

This is professionally applied to the skin by a Dermatologist. It is quick and relatively painless, however the spots can recur and ongoing treatment may be required. A lasting burning sensation is also a common complaint.

  1. Isotretinoin

It is usually taken orally as a prescribed drug. Isotretinoin referrers to its brand name Accutane, which was developed to remedy severe acne. It has proven very successful at treating both acne and Fordyce spots. There are a number of side effects including increased sensitivity to sunlight, and the most publicized being that Isotretinoin can lead to psychological problems including depression. Isotretinoin is prescribed typically for a course of 12-16 weeks after which results can be very successful. However once medication stops there is a strong chance of spots recurring.

Other Methods

There are number of methods available for Fordyce spots removal. These methods are as follows

  1. Co2 laser therapy

Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser therapy is also known as laser vaporization or laser peel. In these modern days this process is successfully used to remove fordyce spots. In this method a highly concentrated short beam is directed over affected area very precisely that removes skin layer by layer. Though this method is little expensive but it removes fordyce spots permanently. Another kind of laser technique called Erbium laser resurfacing is can also be used for fordyce spots removal.

  1. Electro desiccation

Many skin surgeons and dermatologist use this technique to remove cancerous skin surface e.g. in case of squamous cell carcinoma. However, this method can also be utilized to remove fordyce spots. In this method an instrument termed as curette is used to remove skin layers by scraping. In this technique success rate mostly depends upon the surgeon experience to perform it efficiently and precisely.

How to get rid of Fordyce spots with Home Remedies

Some of the home remedies are very efficacious on how to get rid of Fordyce spots. These remedies are easy to use and require minimum cost.

Oatmeal bath
Oatmeal bath is very famous for scrub like action. Regular usage of oatmeal bath causes peeling of epidermis (removal of upper layer of skin). A new layer of skin rapidly grows out in a short period of time to replace previous one in case of peeling off effect. This phenomenon works like a magic for the removal of fordyce spots.

Aloe vera gel

Peeling off effect may cause sometimes irritation on skin so aloe vera gel provides soothing effect to skin and works like emollient. Apply aloe vera gel regularly after oatmeal bath to provide comfort and minimize skin irritation.

Neem leaves extract
Neem leaves contains high amount of volatile oils are antiseptic and have bactericidal activity. Add neem leaves extract in oatmeal bath and mix it thoroughly to make water antiseptic and anti-infective. If it is not possible then apply neem leaves extract topically but it may cause irritation and burning sensation.

Coconut oil
when looking on how to get rid Fordyce spots Coconut oil is widely used in cosmetic products for its anti-dandruff and anti-psoriatic activity. Many dermatologist recommend coconut oil for number skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and fordyce spots. Coconut oil does not cause excessive production of sebum and penetrates rapidly from upper skin layer into deep tissues.

Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is well known for its skin glowing effect. It provides both indispensable and dispensable nutrients to the skin that play very important role in normal complexion process of skin. Tea tree oil is very beneficial when it comes on how to get rid of Fordyce spots because it protects upper layer of skin from various hormonal changes in the body that main triggering factor in development of Fordyce spots.

How to get rid of Fordyce Spots on Lips through Diet

As it was already mentioned above, there are two main opportunities when it comes to the actual removal of Fordyce spots on lips. Change your diet to include more vitamins.

  • Vitamin A is really good for the skin and it can be found in any of the following: sweet potatoes, dried apricots, cantaloupe, lettuce, squash, carrots, chili, red and cayenne pepper.
  • Vitamin B is also good, being found in any of the following: avocado, broccoli, beans, potatoes, cereals, lentils, yogurt and wheat.
  • Keep in mind that dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach, contain a lot of B vitamins and folic acid.
  • You will also need to include foods that contain vitamin C, D, E and K into your diet and, if your diet is not enough, then you might want to consider dietary vitamin supplements, as these will help you with Fordyce spots on lips.

How long do Fordyce Spots Last

These spots when they appear on your skin they may remain life time in many cases due to irreversible hyperplasia of sebaceous glands. For patients with severe Fordyce spots on the vermilion border of the lips of the face, there is a risk of anxiety and depression, because the eyes and lips are the first things people look at. The spots can affect people emotionally. So it is important for one to learn on how to get rid of Fordyce spots on his/ her skin at home.

Those with severe symptoms in their genitalia may be embarrassed or concerned about what their sexual partners might think. In some cases, the spots may bleed if injured or during intercourse.

Coconut Oil for Fordyce Spots

Learning how to get rid of Fordyce spots can be a scary situation, but with the proper knowledge and tools, you can remove and prevent any future spots. One of the best types of treating Fordyce spots is utilizing coconut oil which is a characteristic cream.

The spotting which likewise happens because of drying out gets noticeably diminished after utilization of coconut blended with crucial oil such as lavender oil for diminishing Fordyce spots on the skin. Coconut oil can be purchased at any local superstore, or online at a fairly inexpensive price, which makes this a great cure.

How to Get Rid of Fordyce Spots Toothpaste

How to get rid of fordyce spots naturally

Fordyce spots remedy

Using toothpaste on your fordyce spots every night before going to bed for 3 months, and washing your penis every day with soap then resume through the day may somehow reduce the severity. Loads and loads of people have Fordyce’s and they notice it far more than anyone else. Guys especially have it on their penises. Although it is not scientifically been proven that toothpaste is effective for these spots, some of these home remedies work for sure.

Toothpaste is also a good remedy when it comes to skin problems like small burns, cuts and even Fordyce spots. You just have to take the paste and apply a little on the affected area by rubbing it gently for few minutes and leave it there then wash it later. Be careful while doing this to make sure you does not harm yourself.

More references

  1. How to get rid of Fordyce spots:
  2. What are Fordyce spots:
  3. Fordyce spots causes:
  4. Symptoms for Fordyce spots:
  5. How to get rid of Fordyce spots on lips:
  6. Remedies for spots:
  7. Shaft treatment:
  8. Coconut oil treatment:
  9. Toothpaste acne cream: