Oil glands are normal parts of the skin and mouth. People typically
Oil glands are normal parts of the skin and mouth. People typically "discover" these pinpoint white-yellow elevations of the skin and mistake them for a disease.
This image displays small yellow bumps on the oil glands of the upper lip typical of Fordyce spots.
This image displays small yellow bumps on the oil glands of the upper lip typical of Fordyce spots.
This image displays Fordyce spots.
This image displays Fordyce spots.

Graphic content

Please click to view.

This image displays faint lines of small yellow-white bumps on an uncircumcised penis typical of Fordyce spots.
This image displays faint lines of small yellow-white bumps on an uncircumcised penis typical of Fordyce spots.

Images of Fordyce Spots (4)

Oil glands are normal parts of the skin and mouth. People typically
This image displays small yellow bumps on the oil glands of the upper lip typical of Fordyce spots.
This image displays Fordyce spots.

Graphic content

This image displays faint lines of small yellow-white bumps on an uncircumcised penis typical of Fordyce spots.

Fordyce Spots

Fordyce spots are normal large, superficial sebaceous (oil-producing) glands seen on the moist tissue that lines some organs and body cavities (mucosal surfaces). The “spots” are asymptomatic and can be found on the head of the penis, the inner foreskin, and, most commonly, at the border of the lips. These sebaceous glands are not associated with hair follicles. These lesions are asymptomatic, but itching or irritation may occur if people treat the bumps inappropriately.

Who's At Risk?

Fordyce spots can appear at any point in life, but the incidence of appearance increases with age, with the largest prevalence in elderly patients.

Signs & Symptoms

  • The most common location for Fordyce spots is at the border of the lips, especially near the corners of the mouth. Other locations include the back portions of the inner cheeks and inside the mouth, including the tonsils. The head of the penis and inner portion of the foreskin may be affected as well.
  • Multiple (usually less than 10) 1–2 mm, painless, yellowish papules are seen.

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Symptom checkers like Aysa can help narrow down possible skin conditions by analyzing a skin photo.

Self-Care Guidelines

None necessary.

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Treatments

  • No treatment is needed.
  • If irritation is noted, mild topical steroids may provide relief but should be used with caution.

Visit Urgency

Fordyce spots are normal and non-cancerous (benign), but seek medical evaluation if Fordyce spots become itchy or irritated.

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References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.1656. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp.672, 786, 805. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.