sebaceous hyperplasia It is a very common non-contagious skin disease. It causes small bumps on the skin. These bumps are usually skin tone and can be smooth or slightly uneven and rough.
Sebaceous hyperplasia usually does not go away without treatment. But don’t worry about bumps.
This article reviews the symptoms and causes of sebaceous hyperplasia. It also looked at how to differentiate it from certain types of skin cancer. You will also learn about various treatment options.
Sebaceous Hyperplasia Symptoms
Sebaceous hyperplasia can appear as a single lump or as multiple lumps in clusters or lines. The bumps vary in size from 1 or 2 mm to a few mm. They are usually the same color as your skin, but may also appear white to yellowish.
The lump is neither painful nor itchy. They may bleed if you knock or shave, though.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is most common on the face. The most common places to find them are on the forehead, cheeks and nose. Babies often have lumps on their upper lip. Uncommonly, bumps may appear elsewhere, such as:
- back and chest
- The areola, the darker skin around the nipple
Sebaceous hyperplasia lumps usually don’t go away on their own. One exception is newborns. Their bumps usually disappear within a few months.
Acne or sebaceous hyperplasia?
Because bumps look similar to uninflamed pimples, they are sometimes confused with acne breakouts.
However, if you look closely, you may see a concave or sunken area in the center of the bump. You may also see tiny blood vessels inside. These are clues that you’re not dealing with acne.
What is the cause of sebaceous hyperplasia?
A sebaceous hyperplasia lump is not a rash or growth. Instead, they are enlarged sebaceous glands. These are tiny glands under the skin’s surface. They are all over the body except the palms and soles of the feet. They produce an oil called sebum. This oil keeps the skin smooth and healthy.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is due to excessive sebocytes. These are special cells that make up the sebaceous glands. The excess cells expand the sebaceous glands, making them several times larger than normal.
Several factors can cause sebaceous gland hyperplasia. The biggest one is hormonal changes. There also appears to be a genetic link. If someone in your family has sebaceous hyperplasia, you’re also more likely to get it.
In some cases, sebaceous hyperplasia may be related to sun exposure.
Androgens are male sex hormones. These hormones, especially testosterone, stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Their effects are most pronounced during adolescence, when the massive increase in androgens causes many teens to have very oily skin.
Androgens decrease with age. This slows down sebaceous gland activity and oil production. Cell turnover also slows. This is the rate at which dead cells in the sebaceous glands are replaced by fresh cells. Dead cells back up in the gland, causing it to expand.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is more common with age. It usually doesn’t appear until middle age or later. This condition affects men and women about the same. It is most common in people with light or fair skin. Some people with a family history of sebaceous hyperplasia may get it earlier, although this is rare.
Long-term use of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine has also been associated with sebaceous hyperplasia. People who have had a transplant and are taking this drug are more likely to develop the disease.
It is also common in newborns. This is because hormones are passed from mother to child. In infants, sebaceous hyperplasia often occurs with infantile acne.
Sebaceous hyperplasia develops when your sebaceous glands enlarge. This usually happens due to changes in age and hormone levels. Increased sun exposure and certain genes or drugs may also play a role.
Diagnosing sebaceous hyperplasia
Your doctor can usually diagnose sebaceous hyperplasia with a simple visual examination. However, if there is any doubt about the diagnosis, your doctor may order a skin biopsy. This will help rule out other diseases like skin cancer.
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish sebaceous hyperplasia from a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinomas often appear in the head or neck. It looks like a shiny, raised, round pimple, scar or sore.
A biopsy can also help rule out sebaceous carcinoma. This rare, slow-growing cancer appears as a firm, yellowish lump. It often appears on the eyelid, where it may bleed and look like a pimple or sore that doesn’t heal. It may also heal and then reappear.
Muir-Torre syndrome is a rare genetic disorder. It is a variant of Lynch syndrome. Patients with this condition have a higher risk of developing sebaceous gland cancer.
Types and Prevention of Facial Skin Cancer
Doctors can usually diagnose sebaceous hyperplasia by the appearance of a lump. A biopsy is sometimes needed to rule out similar-looking but more serious conditions, such as skin cancer.
How to treat sebaceous hyperplasia
There is no medical need to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. Adults may choose to treat bumps for cosmetic reasons. It’s also good to let them go.
You cannot squeeze a sebaceous hyperplasia bump. This is because there is nothing inside that can be extracted. In fact, squeezing them can actually cause them to become inflamed or bleed.
There are several treatment options available. Your results will depend on the following factors:
- how many bumps do you have
- your age
- your skin type
- How your skin reacts to sun exposure
Prescription medications may help prevent new bumps from forming. Options include:
- topical retinoic acid
- Azelaic acid
These drugs speed up the skin’s natural cell turnover rate. They can also make existing bumps appear smaller. However, these topical treatments may not get rid of all your lumps.
If you have a serious condition, your doctor may prescribe Accutane (isotretinoin). This is an oral medication that shrinks the sebaceous glands. This treatment is effective, but lumps may come back when the drug is stopped. Accutane also cannot be used during pregnancy.
Finally, anti-androgens are available for women with this condition. These include:
- certain birth control pills
- Aldol (spironolactone)
These drugs block the effects of testosterone on the skin.
There are also some in-office procedures for treating sebaceous hyperplasia. These treatments usually provide faster and more pronounced improvements. Still, there is a risk of skin discoloration or scarring. The condition can also recur after surgery.
- Laser resurfacing: A laser delivers a certain wavelength of light into your skin. Light targets, heats and destroys enlarged sebaceous glands.
- Photodynamic therapy: A chemical that absorbs light is applied to your skin. Then, light treatment is used to reduce the number and size of sebaceous glands.
- Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the affected area of the skin. This freezes the bumps, causing them to dry out and fall off.
- cauterize or Electric drying: The sharp needle is heated by the electric charge. When inserted into the bulge, the bulge dries up quickly.
- Excision: The lump is shaved or removed.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) remedies include:
- OTC facial cleansers or exfoliants contain Salicylic acid acid
- Creams with Retinol
There is no scientific evidence that these products are effective against sebaceous hyperplasia. However, when used as directed, there is no harm in trying.
What to expect from a salicylic acid peel
A warm compress may help reduce the size of the lump and any inflammation you may have. It won’t help them leave, though.
Sun exposure may play a role in the development of sebaceous hyperplasia. Applying a daily sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 may help prevent flare-ups or worsening of the condition.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is purely a cosmetic concern. Since it is harmless, many people choose not to treat it. For those who want, skin products, medications, and procedures like laser resurfacing may help.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is characterized by the formation of small, painless bumps. Lumps appear on body parts where many oil glands are found, such as your face.
This harmless skin condition can usually be diagnosed with a simple visual inspection. A biopsy is sometimes done to rule out skin cancer.
Treatment of sebaceous hyperplasia is for cosmetic purposes only.
Any lumps, lesions, or other unknown problems on the skin should always be checked by a doctor. This is especially true if you suspect sebaceous hyperplasia. The lump looks very similar to skin cancer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with sebaceous hyperplasia, keep in mind that the lump may be more noticeable to you than to others.
Having said that, feeling your best is part of your overall well-being. If treating your condition will help you feel less self-conscious, discuss your options with your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common is sebaceous hyperplasia?
This benign skin condition, also known as sebaceous hyperplasia, affects about 1 percent of healthy people in the United States, mostly middle-aged or older. Sebaceous hyperplasia occurs in 10 to 16 percent of people who have undergone a transplant and are taking immunosuppressive drugs.
What is inside a sebaceous hyperplasia lesion?
They are full of excess sebum or oil. This oil is produced by the sebaceous glands.
What is the best laser to get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia?
Several types of lasers are used to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. According to research, the most effective methods include:
- er:Yag Laser
- Pulsed Dye Laser
- 1450 nm diode laser
- CO2 laser.