Though the unsightly white spots on lips were prevalent since ages among population at large, the condition was first identified and defined by a dermatologist named John Fordyce. Hence this benign but distressing and ugly looking spots on lips, penis shaft and vulva were called Fordyce’s spots. They are characterized by discrete, pin head sized superficial, white or yellow milium like lesions without any subjective sensation.
The most common area for Fordyce’s spots to appear is on the border of lips and around the mouth. This spots are harmless but they are embarrassing because of their unsightly appearance. People mistakenly believe them to be sexually transmitted disease but in reality they are not. In fact they are not contagious. Meaning they do not spread from one person to other even with close contact.However, they may become a cause of concern during intimate personal relationship.
Symptoms Of Fordyce Spots On Lips
- Fordyce’s spots are tiny pin head white or yellow painless spots on lips. They can also appear on penis shaft or on the female vulva.
- They are a type of ectopic sebaceous glands without hair follicles.
- They are harmless.
- They can appear as an isolated lesion or found in group on the border of lips and around the mouth.
- Sometimes these spots are also seen in the oral cavity.
- They are not contagious.
- They may appear in both genders, but they are more common in males.
- They are present since birth (congenital origin). But they appear during puberty when the activity of sebaceous glands is at peak.
- These spots remain for lifetime after its appearance.
- With growing age the spots may disappear or become less noticeable.
- There are instances of itching and irritation noted when the spots are treated inappropriately.
What Causes Fordyce Spots On Lips?
Fordyce’s spots are produced by ectopic sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands produce oil. The oil gets trapped in the sebaceous glands and become enlarged giving rise to Fordyce’s spots. This occurs because there is no hair follicle attached to the sebaceous glands.
In normal circumstances sebaceous glands open into the hair follicle. The oil is utilized by the hair follicle. But since there is no hair follicle on lip, there is no way for the oil to escape. Thus it results into tiny bumps known as Fordyce’s spots. They are not infectious but many men and women may not like them because of their unsightly appearance.
Fordyce Spots On Lips Treatment
Since Fordyce’s spots on lips are harmless, the intention of treating this condition is solely for cosmetic reasons.
- The goal of treatment is to reduce the secretion of oil in the sebaceous gland around the lips and mouth area.
- Apply anti sebum cream or oil on the affected area. It reduces the spots over a period of time after regular application.
- Chemical peel makes the skin around the lip to flake off. With it the spots also peel off. But the skin becomes very delicate after the procedure and requires to be constantly moisturized.
- Cryosurgery is also helpful. Here the spots are destroyed with cryo material. But it can precipitate blister formation. Even the tissue of lip may get damaged.
- Cosmetic laser treatment can also fade this spots. But it is an expensive treatment.
Home Remedies For Fordyce Spots On Lips
Since many of the above treatment have side effects, one can also try home remedies instead.
- Keep good oral hygiene.
- Eat foods especially organic foods that have abundant vitamins and minerals. Diet rich in folic acid and vitamin B and E have aided in reducing Fordyce’s spots.
- Apply Jojoba oil on the lip. Jojoba oil suppresses the excess secretion of sebum on lips.
- Drink enough water. Avoid excess of tea and coffee and other caffeinated drinks to prevent dehydration.
- Include garlic in your food dishes. Garlic contains folic acid which is useful for reducing Fordyce’s spots.
- Tocopherol and Argania extract are also useful for Fordyce’s spots.