Fordyce spots on lips appear as small white bumps on lips, mostly on the upper lip. The granules are often confused with herpes bumps especially if you get them after kissing. Here are causes, symptoms and treatments to get rid of Fordyce granules on lips fast.
Fordyce spots, also known as Fordyce’s spots, Fordyce granules or sebaceous prominence, are small raised, pale red, yellow-white or skin-colored bumps or spots that appear on the shaft of the penis, the labia, scrotum, or the vermilion border of the lips of a person’s face. They can also be found on the foreskin of the penis (called Tyson’s glands).
The vermilion (vermillion) border of the lips is normally the sharp demarcation between the red colored part of the lip and the adjacent normal skin of the face. It is common to get Fordyce spots on lip line.
Fordyce spots are named after the American dermatologist John Addison Fordyce (1858-1925) who first described them clinically in a medical journal. Fordyce spots equally occur in both males and females.
Pictures: What do Fordyce Spots on Lips Look Like?
How do Fordyce bumps look like on the mouth? They are painless, small, pale spots or bumps 1 to 3 mm in diameter. These bumps are harmless, but are often a big concern for cosmetic reasons. Here are images, photos and pictures of Fordyce lip spots to help you distinguish them from pimples, cold sore bumps and herpes.
There is currently no treatment which is standard for Fordyce spots on lips and physicians don’t normally recommend treatment. It is however possible to reduce the distinctions of these spots, or get rid of them completely. There also are home remedies which help reduce the appearance or help get rid of the spots altogether.
What Are Fordyce Bumps on Lips?
Fordyce bumps are bumps on the lips and white spots which appear on the vermillion border of the lips and are completely painless and harmless. It may have a pale, whitish or reddish appearance. It is often described as a sebaceous gland and so by inference, is a sebaceous gland that is located on the wrong place.
Instead of appearing on parts of the skin which have hair, these sebaceous glands rather appear on the moist parts of the body particularly the mucosal spaces.
Are Fordyce granules contagious?
The importance of recognizing these papules as Fordyce spots is in the differential diagnosis of other conditions that may appear similar. Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may start off looking like Fordyce spots on the genitals so it is essential to get a proper diagnosis from your doctor. STDs need to be treated appropriately with medication.
Fordyce Spots are not contagious or infectious. They cannot be gotten from kissing an individual who has them on their lips. Additionally, in as much as people infected with the HIV virus or AIDS may experience white spots or granules on their lips, Fordyce granules are not a symptom of the HIV virus.
If you suspect that you may have contracted the virus, you should seek the services of a healthcare provider and get tested. Fordyce spots are generally painless, harmless and don’t take long to go away, even without treatment or remedy.
Do Fordyce Spots Go Away Naturally?
Fordyce Spots on lips are self resolving and benign. They usually get cured without any treatment and the health care specialists do not recommend any treatment for them.
But for those people who find them unattractive and a concern cosmetically, there are plenty of treatment options available which accelerates the cure of such spots.
Difference between herpes and Fordyce spots
When seen as a streak of individual glands along the interface between the skin of the lip and the vermilion border, the terms FoxFordyce disease and Fordyce’s condition have been used. White spots on lips are usually a result of mild inflammatory or traumatic incident.
- Herpes or cold sores on lips are painful blisters that develop as a result of viral infection by herpes simplex and are highly contagious. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) is the common cause of cold sores (oral herpes) around the mouth.
- To differentiate, Fordyce’s spots are usually benign spots, granules or bumps that may be white in most cases but can also reflect different hues and color pattern at or around the lips.
See pictures below for Fordyce spots on lips vs. herpes.
Areas mostly affected include:
- On corner of lips
- Inside lips
- On lower lip
- On upper lip
What Causes Fordyce Spots?
Fordyce spots on lips or other parts of the body are believed to be caused by sebum which is the natural oil of the skin. This oil gets trapped in a sebaceous gland that does not have hair.
In most cases, sebaceous glands open into a hair follicle or pore on skin and its oil is secreted up the hair shaft. But in the case of Fordyce spots, no hair means there is no way to discharge the natural body oil secretions. Therefore, the cause of the bumps.
Pimples on lips develop in sebaceous glands with a blocked opening. They lack this essential route of escape. As well, bacteria cannot enter the skin either.
Bacteria live on the skin of everyone and these bacteria feed on the sebaceous oil. As the bacteria feast, they grow, causing surrounding tissue to become inflamed and painful – and this is the development of a pimple. But Fordyce spots or sebaceous prominence do not cause pain nor have any symptoms of pus – and basically are not a skin infection.
Fordyce spots are not an infectious disease that can be spread around but instead are natural occurrences on the adult skin. But, because many people find pimples unattractive, they seek help for them.
Stress and sebaceous prominence
Many people also believe that stress causes the Fordyce spots/granules on the lips. Although this is a widely stated belief, there is no medical evidence linking stress to Fordyce spots on the lips or around the mouth.
Is HIV a cause?
In addition to stress, HIV has also been thought (by the larger populace) as a cause of the Fordyce spots. As already stated above, Fordyce spots are not a symptom of HIV/AIDS virus and one should visit a healthcare provider for testing if they suspect that they may have contracted the virus.
Symptoms of Fordyce Spots on Mouth
The primary symptom of Fordyce granules is white spots or whitish to yellowish bumps on the lips. It is very easy to confuse these with things like milia bumps, some clusters of herpes bumps and normal pimple dots on lips. Here are Fordyce spots on lips symptoms.
1. Small white spots on lips
This is the most common symptom of all. When one gets Fordyce granules on their lips, they mostly manifest themselves as small white dots on the lips.
They may spread out to cover both the upper and lower lips. Sometimes they seem to be “under the skin” so to speak.
2. Tiny painless bumps appear on the lips
Fordyce granules also manifest on the lips as small bumps. These bumps are for the most part quite painless and benign.
If the granules manifest themselves as bumps on the lips then they may be quite prominent on one’s lips especially if they are white in color.
3. Corners of the lips get spots
Another commonly experienced symptom of Fordyce spots on the mouth are that the spots appear on the corner, most delicate parts of the mouth. This is thought to be caused by the abundance of moisture on the corner of the mouth.
4. White patches on the lips
These white patches are thought to be caused by the clustering of the white Fordyce spots on different parts of the mouth thus causing the appearance of patches. The patches can appear as white marks to.
5. Yellow dots
These Fordyce spots on the mouth also manifest themselves in different colors as they appear. They may be either reddish, whitish or yellowish in appearance.
Over all the basic symptoms of Fordyce Spots where ever they are present are light colored glaze of diameter of around 1-3mm. They are mostly not painful.
How to Get Rid of Fordyce Spots on Lips
Eventually Fordyce go away without any treatment. Many individuals do just use this approach for these spots. They are benign as well as being self-resolving. But others find these spots a concern cosmetically and for these individuals there are numerous products available which can help the spots go away at a faster rate
There are many ways of getting rid of Fordyce spots on lips. Depending on the individual, one may consider either home remedies, over the counter treatments and treatments administered by a doctor.
Fordyce spots on lips treatment
Dermatologists and primary care physicians (general practitioners, family doctors) emphasize that Fordyce Spots are normal physiological occurrences and are not dangerous for human health. Many, in fact, advise against treatment.
Currently there is no standard treatment for these spots. Doctors do not recommend any treatment for Fordyce spots. However, it is possible to reduce the distinction of these spots, thanks to advancement in medical science. Fordyce spots can be completely got rid of.
1. Trichloroacetic Acid Peel
This chemical peel is a popular treatment for Fordyce spots. It peels off the skin on the spots, thereby causing significant improvement in their appearance.
However if you use this on the lips, it is important to keep them moisturized. Also when the treatment is stopped, spots may reoccur.
2. Tretinoin Gel
Another product which is found to be effective against Fordyce spots on lips is Tretinoin gel or cream. It reduces the prominence of the spots substantially. It is more effective if used with an alpha hydroxyacid agent.
Cryosurgery is an option to treat Fordyce spots. This procedure involves destruction of bumps using cold temperature. However, this method can cause damage to tissues and nerves present in areas surrounding the spots.
4. Pulsed Dye Lasers
Pulsed dye lasers (PDL) are found to be effective against Fordyce spots. Even though they are relatively expensive, they leave fewer scars than other methods. This treatment is extremely safe and effective. It is used extensively in many parts of the world.
PDL uses a concentrated beam of light. The light is converted into heat. Tissues and nerves surrounding Fordyce spots are not damaged in this method of treatment. The laser uses yellow light, which is very safe. It does not cause long term skin damage.
A typical PDL treatment does not take more than few minutes. They are usually performed during an outpatient clinic visit. There is no need for anesthesia as the machine produces a cold spray just before the laser pulse. This diminishes the sensation of pain.
5. Electro-Desiccation to remove Fordyce spots
Also known as carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, electro desiccation is used to make Fordyce spots less visible. CO2 lasers are the highest-power continuous wave lasers that are currently available. They are very efficient.
6. Micro-Punch Technique
Micro-punch technique has provided satisfactory cosmetic and functional results. The chances of recurrence are less. This technique has been used in the past for treatment of various skin lesions.
Micro-punch technique is very easy to perform. Any clinician, with a little training can perform this procedure. This method of treatment is less expensive than other methods. It can be carried out under local anesthesia. However, the treatment time is more than that of other methods. It varies between half an hour and few hours.
Fordyce Spots on Lips Cures and Natural Treatments
What home remedies can you use to get rid of fordyce spots on the lips? From moisturizers to coonut oil, tea tree oil, to aloe vera, there are quite plenty of natural treatments you can use to remove the white granules on lips. Here are the different home remedies to try.
1. Coconut oil.
One of the best forms of treating Fordyce spots is using coconut oil which is a natural moisturizer. The spotting which also occurs due to dehydration gets visibly reduced after application of coconut mixed with an essential oil like lavender oil for decreasing Fordyce spots on the skin.
2. Increase vitamin intake
Fordyce spots can be removed naturally by adopting a certain diet that ensures proper intake of vitamin rich foods.
Your daily intake of vitamins will surely reduce the spotting and one of the best fruits to consume is oranges. Broccoli can also be inculcated in your diet for reducing the spots especially on the lips.
3. Drink water
A delightfully easy solution is water – universally pure and simple to intake. Water prevents dehydration and boosts the immunity system to fight off germs that can easily cause the spotting on the sebaceous glands. If your mouth is dry then make sure you drink gallons of water at least 8-10 glasses a day to address the condition.
4. Tea tree oil
Pearly penile papules can be reduced easily using tea tree oil which is a well known home remedy. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that prevents bacterial growth and relieves the inflamed skin. It is one of the best remedies to try since it doesn’t have any kind of side effects to the skin.
This herbal tonic is known to be the best amongst the best – Turmeric powder (about 1/4th tablespoon) mixed with apple cider vinegar is an effective solution that can be applied to the inflamed skin. Turmeric has antiseptic, antibacterial and antipyretic properties that reduce bacterial growth on the skin.
6. Oatmeal bath
This home remedy has been widely used to treat Eczema at home and is very useful for reducing Fordyce spotting on genitals.
Oatmeal bath reduces itching, redness and inflammation on the skin. This particular bath should be taken using cold water after using herbal remedy like turmeric or tea tree oil that act as antiseptics.
One of the strongest home remedies for Fordyce spots is garlic but the question is – how to use garlic for treating this ailment? Garlic contains antioxidants that basically remove free radicals from the body with anti-inflammatory properties to shrink the spots. You can always consume boiled water with garlic drips for an immediate effect or mix the spice in the food.
8. Jojoba oil
Another essential oil that is useful for treating Fordyce spots is jojoba oil that maintains antibacterial properties. The healing effect of the oil takes place by preventing bacterial growth and invasion. It contains wax esters that make it a natural moisturizer thereby enhancing its effect on the skin.
It is the richest source for folic acid, packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. Asparagus that contains folic acid is essential for metabolic consistency which ensures Fordyce spotting doesn’t take place. Proper hormonal balance can be maintained by consuming 260mcg of folic acid a day.
10. Aloe vera gel
One of the most natural forms of treating Fordyce spots is by cutting through a stalk of Aloe Vera plant. The gel that is produced should be directly applied on the inflamed skin since the plant possesses antibacterial/antifungal properties. It is exceptionally useful at treating urinary tract infections and several skin disorders.
This antiseptic agent is a mild source that is generally used in home remedies to cure respiratory and skin infections. Organic honey is used as a soothing agent for skin irritations and because of its antibacterial properties; it is quite a useful source for treating Fordyce spots. You can always mix a dab of honey with an essential oil for ease of application.
Another natural disinfectant is Lemon which basically treats bacterial infections especially on the dermis. If you’re suffering from blackheads or pimples, Lemon extract is a useful source. This easily available ingredient can be squeezed to form a pulp that can be applied on the inflamed skin regularly to treat Fordyce spots effectively.
Fresh or dried flowers of Chamomile help to treat itchy lesions or inflamed skin spots and are well known topical treatments. Chamomile is one of the best herbal remedies unlike other flowers like Calendula or Arnica that actually doesn’t cause any side effects for individuals with sensitive skin. This evergreen flower treats hives, sunburn and reduces Fordyce spots on the lips within a few weeks.
The root and leaves of comfrey have been used for treating skin wounds, bruises and rashes for centuries. This herbal remedy is one of the most effective solutions that consist of anti-inflammatory properties. This natural remedy helps reduce Fordyce spotting and can either be used in the form of a paste or consumed directly in the form of Comfrey tea.
15. Vanilla & sugar scrub for lips
A natural home remedy is using vanilla extract and sugar to make a face scrub that can be applied on the inflamed spots. Sugar is a natural antibacterial agent that inhibits growth whereas vanilla moisturizes and nourishes the skin. The face scrub applied twice a day, morning and night ensures that within a week’s time the pasty granules disappear.
Sources and references
- Home Remedies: 15-natural-home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-fordyce-spots/
- Inside the Clinic: fordyce-spots-on-lips
- Byebye Doctor: fordyce-spots