Fordyce spots are also known as Fordyce granule. They are named after the prominent American dermatologist John Addison Fordyce, and can appear on various parts of the body including the lips.
Fordyce spots are small, white bumps that are slightly raised but are painless. They can be found in men and women of any age group. Though these spots are completely harmless, the person having them tend to become self-conscious because of obvious cosmetic reasons, especially if the spots are present in a visible region of the body such as the lips .
In the following sections we shall examine the causes and possible treatments for Fordyce spots.
From their appearance, many tend to mistake Fordyce spots for an infectious disease. Some may even assume that they are the result of a sexually transmitted disease. However all of these are simply misconceptions as these spots are not related to any specific illness, virus or bacteria, and are completely non-contagious.
Fordyce spots are nothing but a dermatological problem. These spots are caused by sebaceous glands that are present near the hair follicles. However, it is not clearly known why these glands produce the bumps spontaneously on moist tissues.
One explanation states that they could be caused due to sebum (natural skin oil), which is trapped into a sebaceous gland that lacks hair. Usually a sebaceous gland opens into a hair follicle and the oil of these glands gets secreted up and out of the hair shaft. Since there is no hair in the region of Fordyce spots, there is no path to discharge the oil secretion which leads to the formation of bumps.
Research studies have also shown that the reason behind the formation of these spots could be genetic. Many researchers believe that these bumps are present at the time of birth, but they gain prominence only when the child reaches adolescence.
How to Treat Fordyce Spots on Lips
If you have Fordyce spots on your lips, you can leave them untreated, as they are absolutely harmless and may disappear on their own. However, if you want to get rid of them fast, then you must refer to a dermatologist who might recommend one of the following options to you.
Tretinoin Cream or Gel
This is the most basic treatment option. Daily application of tretinoin can significantly reduce the prominence of these spots. For best effects, it should be combined with an alpha hydroxyacid agent. This agent is also used for the treatment of acne.
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) chemical peels, can be used to treat Fordyce spots. This treatment will cause flaking of the skin on the spots and it will peel off completely, in a week or so. Peeling makes the skin of the lips extremely sensitive and hence, it should be moisturized regularly. The disadvantage of this treatment is that symptoms of Fordyce spot may return, once the treatment is stopped.
This method involves use of extremely cold temperatures, in order to destroy the bumps. It is an almost noninvasive procedure which doesn't cause any pain or scarring. Some blisters may appear following the treatment which usually disappear after a few days. The drawback of this treatment is that it can cause damage to the nearby tissues and nerves if carried out improperly.
Pulse dye lasers treatment is very effective against Fordyce spots. It does not cause scarring of the tissues but is highly expensive.
Vaporizing laser treatments like electro-desiccation can also effectively decrease the size of the spots.
Micro-punch is another technique which is less expensive and is capable of providing satisfactory results with very low chances of recurrence.
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.
Many people also prefer using natural methods for curing Fordyce spots on the lips. A well-balanced diet that consist of good amount of folic acid, Vitamins B Complex, A, C, D, E and K can help improve the skin condition. Garlic too has been proven to be very effective in treating these spots.
Maintaining good oral hygiene and application of certain natural medicinal substances such as jojoba oil too should help diminish the appearance of these spots.