Fordyce Spots on Lips + How to Treat Them?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

What Are Fordyce Spots?

Fordyce spots are white-yellow coloured, raised bumps which appear on the exterior part of your lips or even on the inside of your cheeks. Sometimes, they can even appear in the genital areas of men and women.

Also called Fordyce glands or Fordyce granules, these white spots are basically oil glands which have become enlarged [1]. These spots are painless and completely harmless. Fordyce spots are normally prevalent in almost 70-80% of adults across the globe.

Sebaceous glands, which are commonly known as oil glands, are interlinked with hair follicles in the skin. The white spots usually occur in the skin where no hair follicle exists. Fordyce spots normally appear either as scattered or isolated bumps. However, they can also appear in clusters.

Fordyce spots are not an STD (sexually transmitted disease), but a common skin condition which is prevalent in many adult men and women.

What Do Fordyce Spots On Lips Look Like?

Fordyce spots are small, raised yellowish or white papules that can appear on the inside of the cheeks and outside the border of the lips. These white yellow capsules are painless and harmless.

What Causes Fordyce Spots On Lips?

Fordyce spots are a common characteristic of the human anatomy. These white spots are normally present when you are born, but not detected or noticeable until you reach puberty. In the teen years, fluctuations in the hormonal levels enlarges the oil glands, making the Fordyce spots prominent and visible.

Fordyce spots can appear in both men and women. However, these are more prevalent in men, and also visible in individuals with oily complexion.

How Do You Know If You Have Fordyce Spots?

The symptoms of Fordyce spots include the appearance of bumps on specific areas of the body.

The most common area where Fordyce spots occur is at the edge of your lips, or near the two corners of your mouth. A few other areas where Fordyce spots occur include the interior section of your cheeks and near the tonsils. Also, the white spots may appear in the genital areas.

Fordyce spots usually appear as multiple raised bumps (normally 5-10) which are light yellow coloured papules. These are often painless.

How To Get Rid Of Fordyce Spots On Lips?

Fordyce spots may pose a risk to your beauty goals as they look unpleasant. This may make you more conscious about your general appearance.

If you wish to get rid of Fordyce spots, then there are various treatments which you can avail, including home remedies, ayurvedic therapies, and medical treatments.

A. Home Remedies For Fordyce Spots On Lips

These are safe, natural, and holistic remedies which use herbal ingredients commonly found in your kitchen. They effectively treat various skin, hair, and health concerns with no side effects.

Here are a few simple yet effective home remedies to treat Fordyce spots on your lips:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is widely used to treat several hair, skin, and health concerns. It has both astringent and antimicrobial properties which help to heal and treat various skin ailments [2]. The astringent property of ACV controls and regulates the excess sebum production in the skin.

How To Use:

  • Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and normal water, and apply the diluted solution onto the affected skin.
  • Repeat the steps twice a week for better results.

2. Garlic

Garlic is renowned for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which help to eliminate and inhibit bacterial presence in the bloodstream. Daily consumption of garlic cloves helps maintain good oral hygiene and inhibits bacterial growth.

How To Use:

  • Take a few garlic cloves and roughly crush them in a mortar and pestle.
  • Blend the crushed garlic cloves with normal water.
  • Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Drink the concoction in the morning for better absorption.

3. Coconut Oil

Dehydrated, dry, and broken skin may lead to excessive production of sebum in the skin. Coconut oil acts as an excellent moisturizing agent which effectively treats dry skin condition as well as controls excess natural oil secretion in the skin [3].

How To Use:

  • Apply warm, pure coconut oil directly onto the affected skin.
  • Alternatively, you may add a few drops of lavender oil into the coconut oil and apply the mix onto the affected areas of your skin.

4. Argan & Jojoba Oil

Jojoba and argan oil are rich sources of Vitamin E. Also known as a skin- friendly vitamin, Vitamin E effectively treats and heals a wide range of skin conditions and infections.

How To Use:

It is an established fact that men are more susceptible than women to Fordyce spots on their lips, mouth or genitals.

B. Ayurvedic Treatment For Fordyce Spots On Lips

First and foremost, bloodletting should be done in the first line of ayurvedic treatment. This mode of treatment includes:

  • Vedhanam Siranam - Puncturing of veins for bloodletting.
  • Vamanam - Therapeutic emesis.
  • Virechanam - Therapeutic purgation.
  • Tiktasya Panam - Herbal drinks which are bitter in taste should be consumed.
  • Sheeta Pradheha – Application of cold ointments and lepas.
  • Sheeta Pratischechanam – Mositening or sprinkling soothing medicated solutions on affected lips.

Ayurvedic Remedies

With proven and holistic ayurvedic remedies, you can make your lips spotless, beautiful, and healthy. These include:

1. Turmeric & Milk

Make a thin paste of milk and turmeric. Apply this onto your lips and let it dry for 3-5 minutes. Rinse it off with normal water followed by application of an herbal, hydrating balm. Milk and turmeric help in reducing pigmentation and excess sebum production. If you scrub off the lip scrub, it helps in removing the dead skin cells from the epidermal layer.

2. Beetroot Juice

Beetroot is an excellent exfoliator which helps to remove accumulated dead skin cells from the skin. Also, it helps in moisturizing and healing your lips. Take a thin slice of beetroot and gently scrub your lips with it. Alternatively, you may add a few drops of honey into beetroot extract and apply it onto your lips.

3. Ghee

In the ancient ayurvedic scriptures, application of ghee in the navel is suggested for overall nourishment and good health. This is practiced as the navel is the first part of your body which is formed after conception. Hence, you may apply a small amount of pure ghee in your navel before going to bed at night.

4. Milk & Pomegranate Seeds

Take a few pomegranate seeds and finely grind them in a mortar and pestle. Make a thin paste by adding some milk. Apply the paste onto your lips. Pomegranate seeds are enriched with punicalagin, a herbal compound which helps in regulating melanin production [4]. Also, it helps in controlling excess sebum production in the skin.

5. Lemon & Mint Leaves

C. Medical Treatments For Fordyce Spots On Lips

As mentioned above, Fordyce spots don’t require any treatment as they are quite harmless and don’t pose any major health risk. However, if you wish to get rid of the spots to appear flawless, then there are a few medical treatments which you may avail. These options and treatments include:

1. Micro-Punch Surgery

Your dermatologist may suggest this option to effectively and swiftly eradicate multiple white spots from your lips or any other area. They may apply a localized anaesthetic before performing the minor surgery in order to minimize your pain. Next, they would use a small device resembling a pen to extract the unwanted tissue from the affected area.

2. Laser Treatments

Two types of laser treatment are available, and each uses a highly-focused beam of ray which is projected at different wavelengths. In the first kind, a carbon dioxide laser is used to extract and clean Fordyce spots in the affected area. But this method of treatment may scar your skin permanently. Therefore, pulsed dye laser treatment is suggested as it does not leave many scars behind. This is however an expensive treatment option.

3. Topical Treatments

The topical mode of treatment to remove or reduce white spots include oral isotretinoin, topical tretinoin, and dichloroacetic acid. In a few cases, dermatologists may suggest combining topical treatments with laser-based treatment. However, these treatments may cause potential side effects like burning sensation and inflammation.

How Do You Prevent Fordyce Spots On Lips?

Since all of us have sweat and oil glands in our skin, it is not rare to find many individuals with Fordyce spots. The exact cause of Fordyce spots in human beings is however not yet known. These usually appear when you’re born. Hence, there is no actual prevention from these.

Also, these spots are more prominent in individuals who have an oily skin complexion. Hence, controlling the excess sebum production can help in making them less prominent and visible.

It is imperative that you should never pick or burst a white spot which is slightly bumpy and raised. This may aggravate the spot and make it inflamed, making it difficult to eradicate.

Here are a few preventive measures which you can follow to cure Fordyce spots on your lips:

  • Drinking fresh citrus-based fruit juices such as orange, lemon, and lime helps in minimizing the white spots.
  • Stop applying any chemical-laden, commercial lip product such as lip liners, lipsticks, balms, and gloss which may aggravate your existing lip condition. Use products that suit your prakriti and skin type.
  • Using a sugar-based lip scrub on your lips may help minimize white spots as it removes accumulated dead skin cells.
  • Consume your daily intake of recommended folic acid as it helps in minimizing the occurrence of Fordyce spots on the lips.
  • Include essential Vitamins A, B, D, E, and K in your daily diet as it helps in reducing white spots. Lentils, nuts, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables are rich sources of these essential vitamins.
  • Stop licking your lips frequently as it tends to make your lips dehydrated and dry. Also, the microbes in your mouth and tongue may aggravate your skin concern. Instead, opt for a mild herbal lip balm to keep your lips hydrated.
  • It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at all times to prevent the aggravation of Fordyce spots in and around your lips.
  • Triphala can help clear excess Kapha in the body and can help heal fordyce spots

Important Note:

While applying a lip scrub, it is important to be gentle and careful as the lip epidermis is highly sensitive and fragile when compared with other areas of your body.

Risk Factors Of Fordyce Spots On Lips

While the exact causes of Fordyce spots are still not known, they are often associated with various skin concerns and skin types.

Fordyce spots are prevalent in men compared to women, and affect individuals with oily complexion.

The white spots near and round the mouth are also associated with hyperlipidemia [5]. Studies have established associations between Fordyce spots and risk of heart disease.

How Are Fordyce Spots Diagnosed?

Dermatologists may diagnose the spots by their physical appearance. In a few cases, they may even suggest a biopsy for confirmation. In biopsy, a small tissue sample is removed from the affected region for further examination.

When To Seek Medical Care For Fordyce Spots?

Fordyce spots are harmless and do not pose any major health risks. Also, they don’t occur due to any disease or condition. They are also not prominent in many individuals.

  • However, they may become unsightly in a few cases. You can then visit a doctor to get them treated.
  • There are chances that you may confuse Fordyce spots with another skin condition, and you can contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
  • If the Fordyce spots on your lips are affecting your morale and overall appearance, then you may seek the advice and help of a knowledgeable dermatologist or ayurvedic doctor. They may guide and help you with lessening or removing the spots by recommending the right treatment option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Fordyce Spots

1. Can Fordyce Spots Spread?

Fordyce spots or granules don’t appear due to infectious microorganisms like viruses or bacteria. Hence, they are not contagious in nature and don’t spread to other areas of the body. These spots naturally appear in the genitals, mouth or lips of an individual.

2. How Long Do Fordyce Spots Last On Lips?

In a few cases, Fordyce spots disappear and fade away on their own with advancing age. However, the spots can become worse in some elderly individuals.

3. What Does It Mean If Fordyce Spots On The Upper Lip Start Itching?

Fordyce spots are normally asymptomatic and don’t cause any pain or itching in the affected area. However, if it results in itchy and inflamed skin, then it may indicate another underlying skin condition which requires immediate medical attention.

4. Who's At Risk With Fordyce Spots?

Fordyce spots may appear at any stage of your life. However, the risk increases with advancing age as Fordyce spots are highly prevalent in elderly people.

The Last Word

Fordyce spots usually fade away on their own without any treatment. The most important point to acknowledge is that they’re normal and don’t cause any major health risks. Fordyce spots are not a disorder or disease. Many people have these spots in their lifetime.

If the Fordyce spots on your lips are making you conscious about your overall appearance, then you may follow home remedies, ayurvedic remedies, or medical treatments to make them less prominent and visible.

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