Fordyce spots are the small raised pale, yellowish or skin-colored, sometimes red or white painless bumps or spots that can be seen on the shaft of the penis, the labia, scrotum, or the vermilion border of the lips. All of these have their own name too. When they appear ectopically within the mouth, they are known as Oral Fordyce Granules and also ectopic sebaceous glands. When they appear on the foreskin they are known as Tyson’s glands and when they appear on the penis, they are sometimes called penile sebaceous glands.
The Fordyce spots that appear on such abnormal positions on the body are very small. They are only 1 to 3 mm in diameter. The American dermatologist, John Addison Fordyce, first told the world about these spots through a medical journal and thus the name Fordyce spots.
What are Fordyce Spots?
Fordyce spots are, in fact, sebaceous glands that occur on awkward places on the body and therefore also sometimes called ectopic sebaceous gland (ectopic means, in an abnormal location.) It also means that this sebaceous gland is on the skin and not in the hair follicle which is the usual position of a sebaceous gland. Sebaceous glands are those that secrete sebum or oily matter into the hair follicles to lubricate hair and skin. These spots are also known as Fordyce granules, Sebaceous Prominence and Fordyce disease.
Although sometimes these bumps are called Fordyce disease, they are in no way related to any disease or illness, they are harmless spots on skin. They just make the skin look ugly and are a cosmetic concern.
Characteristic Symptoms of Fordyce Spots
The below can be called characteristics as well as symptoms of Fordyce Spots:
- These spots are small, only 1-3 mm in diameter
- They are pale and their color ranges from skin color to yellow and sometimes pinkish as well as red and white
- They appear on the penis and scrotum in males
- In females, they appear on labia
- Fordyce spots also occur on the vermilion border (border of lips and skin of the face)
- When on genitals of males and females, Fordyce spots can occur as single lesion or in crops of 50-100 tiny bumps. On these areas, they appear as red or purple bumps
- Oral Fordyce spots are like rice granules and have white or yellow-white color.
- Fordyce spots are painless
- They don’t itch
- In some people, these Fordyce spots may give out a thick, chalky discharge when squeezed
- In rare cases, the Fordyce spots on genitals may bleed during or after intercourse.
Causes of Fordyce Spots
Fordyce spots seem to be more prominent in those people who have oily skin types. Usually sebaceous glands are where there are hair follicles. Because these ectopic sebaceous glands occur on skin where there are no hair follicle to secrete the sebum into, the sebum seems to get trapped and cause bumps on skin.
Fordyce spots are neither caused by virus nor are they sexually transmitted diseases. They are not even contagious.
Implications of Fordyce spots
While there is no risk of any disease or infection due to Fordyce spots, there may be some other complications related to these ugly bumps. These are only social and mental complications, more so when they are on face, like on vermilion border of lips. People find it difficult to get social with these bumps on their face. They are always conscious about how these Fordyce spots are looking on their face and what the other people think about them. Gradually, people with Fordyce spots become depressed. They fall prey to anxiety and suffer from severe emotional disorders.
Those having Fordyce spots in genital area are not so severely affected by social impact brought on by Fordyce spots as they need to explain this to only their sexual partners yet they too may get embarrassed quite often.
If you go to a doctor and if he diagnoses it correctly as Fordyce spots, 99% of the times, your doctor will advice against any treatment because these spots are not a matter of health or medical concern. However, you would definitely want to get rid of these Fordyce spots from your body. Here are some home remedies to get rid of Fordyce spots for you.
Home Remedies for Fordyce Spots
One of the good news was that Fordyce spots are not a concern for your health. The other good news is that these spots go on their own, just in a few days. However, if they take a little longer to go away or if they keep on coming back again and again, you may try these remedies to get rid of Fordyce spots.
Garlic for eliminating Fordyce Spots
Garlic has been almost a magical ingredient for home remedies related to many skin conditions. It’s a boon for Fordyce spots removal too, at least for two of its properties. One, its anti-inflammatory properties and two, its antioxidant properties. While the anti-inflammatory properties help shrink the bumps, its antioxidant properties negate the harmful effects of free radicals.
Ways to use garlic for Fordyce spots
- Take 2-3 cloves of garlic, crush them and swallow with water every morning, on an empty stomach.
- Include garlic in your daily diet.
- Warm 1/3 cup of coconut oil and soak 4-5 large cloves of garlic (crushed) in this oil for several hours. You may even leave it to sit for several days, say, 3-7 or even more than that. After this time, remove the garlic and use the garlic infused oil. Apply this oil to your Fordyce spots 3-4 times a day.
Jojoba Oil to get rid of Fordyce Spots
Jojoba oil has properties similar to sebum of your skin. Sebum is the natural oil secreted by the glands in the skin. Fordyce spots are mostly visible on the skin of people with oily skin and jojoba oil is a boon to such people. This oil reduces greasiness by modulating sebum production. When your skin stays well hydrated due to the protective layer of the liquid wax provided by jojoba oil, the sebaceous glands regulate the sebum production. It simply means your skin now produces lesser sebum or oil. Jojoba oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that help shrink the bumps you get due to Fordyce spots.
How to apply jojoba oil to Fordyce spots
- Take few drops of jojoba oil
- Dab this on your Fordyce spots with the help of clean fingers or cotton ball.
- Forget it
- Do this 3-4 times a day
This is also a good remedy for Fordyce spots on lips.
Tea Tree Oil for Fordyce Spots
While Fordyce spots are not caused by any virus or fungal infection, the trapped sebum under your skin may give rise to infections that too in rare cases. Tea tree oil which has a very good reputation for being an effective anti-viral and anti-bacterial essential oil can be helpful in getting rid of Fordyce spots too, especially for penile papules.
How to use Tea Tree Oil for Fordyce Spots
- Tea tree oil- 4-5 drops
- Coconut oil- 1-2 tbsp
- Add tea tree oil to coconut oil and mix well
- Apply to the affected area 3-4 times a day
Exfoliate skin to get rid of Fordyce Spots on Lips
You must exfoliate the skin on vermilion border if you have Fordyce spots there. However do this gently as this skin around your lips is quite sensitive. Do not exfoliate it too hard otherwise you’ll bleed from there and also the skin will become hard. Always use a face brush or gentle pumice stone or other tools made specially to exfoliate the skin of face. If you have Fordyce spots on genital area, never attempt to exfoliate the skin there.
How to exfoliate lip skin to eliminate Fordyce spots?
- When taking shower or washing face during your daily routine, apply a facial scrub to your lips and using the face brush or other gentle exfoliator, rub the area gently.
- Do this only for a few seconds or a minute.
- Now wash off the face and apply jojoba oil on your lips. While you need to exfoliate once daily, apply jojoba oil 3-4 times a day.
- Make this your daily routine. In few days, you’ll see, your Fordyce spots on lips will become so small that no one would be able to notice them.
Apple cider vinegar for Fordyce spots
Many people find this home remedy for Fordyce spots beneficial but for some others, it’s not that effective. Those who could not cure Fordyce spots with Apple Cider Vinegar say that the vinegar dries out the skin which after scabbing seem to heal but as the skin heals totally, Fordyce spots are back. However, many people have had positive results by using the ACV remedy for Fordyce spots. You too might be lucky. There’s no harm in trying this remedy.
How to use Apple Cider Vinegar for Fordyce Spots?
- Dilute apple cider vinegar by adding 1-2 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of water. Apply this solution to your Fordyce spots for 3-4 times a day.
- If you can tolerate the undiluted apple cider vinegar, you can even use it without mixing water. Use a q-tip to apply such undiluted vinegar to your Fordyce spots.
- You can even try apple cider vinegar for penile papules. Add 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to 1 bowl of plain or lukewarm water and soak penis in this water for 15-20 minutes. Then apply some jojoba oil. Do this daily.
- You may also use cotton to apply the solution.
Don’t use apple cider vinegar more than 2 weeks at a stretch.
Vitamin C Remedy for Fordyce Spots
Vitamin C is known as the skin friendly vitamin. It helps in collagen synthesis and thus is capable of giving you a new fresh skin without any spots etc. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C also helps your skin heal in a great way so that you may get rid of Fordyce spots easily. And what’s good about this remedy is that you don’t need to buy any specific vitamin C product. You just need to use certain fruits that are loaded with this vitamin, the vitamin C.
- Lemon juice- 3-4 tbsp
- Orange juice- 3-4 tbsp
- Lukewarm water- 2-3 tbsp
- Mix lemon juice, orange juice and water.
- Stir it well to get them all mixed well.
- Take a cotton ball and soak it into the juice-water solution.
- Place this soaked cotton onto the skin affected by Fordyce spots.
- Hold it there for about 3-5 minutes.
- If you feel sticky after this, take some water or a wet tissue and wipe off the area gently. Do not wash it off. You need the vitamin C to be there on your skin for maximum benefit.
- Do this 3-4 times a day.
Asparagus for Fordyce spots Remedy
Asparagus, fresh asparagus is one of the richest sources of such anti-oxidants as carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and crypto-xanthins. They all combat free radicals to give you smooth skin and overall health. Vitamin-A, C, and E present in asparagus also are helpful in curing your skin problems. Fordyce spots are, after all, skin related issue. These vitamins also boost your immunity. In many cases, it has been seen that once immunity is improved, Fordyce spots are gone forever. Moreover, asparagus also has anti-inflammatory properties that help cure Fordyce spots.
- Fresh Asparagus- 1
- lemon juice- 1 tsp
- Tea tree oil (optional)- 3-4 drops
- Water- 1-2 tbsp
- Crush the asparagus to get its paste. If needed use some water.
- Add lemon juice and tea tree oil to the asparagus paste.
- If needed, use water to make the paste thinner if it becomes too thick.
- Apply the paste to the skin affected with Fordyce spots.
- Let it sit there for 10-15 minutes.
- Wash off with water and pat dry
- Do this twice a day.
Turmeric for Fordyce spots
Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory herb. It also has anti-bacterial properties. Turmeric has been used since ages in India and other Asian countries to treat skin related problems like acne and pimples. It’s active ingredient curcumin seems to work for making your skin spotless.
- Turmeric- 1/2 – 1 tsp
- Water/ apple cider vinegar/ milk- as required to make paste
- Add few drops of water, apple cider vinegar or milk to the turmeric powder to make its paste.
- Apply this paste to your Fordyce spots
- leave it for 20-30 minutes
- Wash off with lukewarm water
- Do this 2-3 times a day
- Take care as turmeric leaves stain on your clothes. the stains on skin goes away in a couple of days.
Chamomile for Fordyce Spots
Chamomile has long been used for such skin conditions as acne, boils, allergies, rashes, inflammations, dermatitis, eczema, cuts, wounds etc. The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile makes it a perfect herbal remedy for Fordyce spots along with a variety of other skin problems. It’s natural chemical compounds namely, Bisabolol, Chamazulene, and Apigenin makes it anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-irritant and anti-allergic herb.
- Fresh chamomile- 2-3 tbsp OR Dried chamomile- 1 tsp
- Hot water- 1 cup
- Place the chamomile herb in a bowl or a cup
- Pour hot water over it
- Cover and let it steep until it becomes lukewarm
- Now soak a cotton ball in this strong chamomile tea
- Place this cotton on the skin affected with Fordyce spots
- Hold for 3-5 minutes before removing the cotton
- Do this 3-4 times a day
Aloe Vera Gel for Fordyce Spots
Aloe vera is a miracle herb for skin. It is not only antibacterial and anti-inflammatory but also a great moisturizing and hydrating agent. It also helps rejuvenate skin by promoting regeneration of new skin cells. You can effectively use aloe vera gel for Fordyce spots removal too.
- Aloe vera leaf or Aloe vera gel
- Cut open the leaf and take out the pure gel
- Apply this to your skin and forget
- If you feel a little sticky, wash off with water after about half an hour.
- If using store bought aloe vera gel, take care to use the pure gel
- Apply aloe vera to Fordyce spots 3-4 times a day.
Have Vitamin Rich Diet to cure Fordyce Spots
Sometimes deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals may also lead to Fordyce spots on your body parts. Vitamin B and folic acid deficiency has been seen in some people who suffer from Fordyce spots. You can always have oral vitamin B complex and folic acid rich tablets after getting it prescribed from your physician. However, having a well balanced diet that gives you all types of vitamins and minerals is a must if you want to say goodbye to Fordyce spots forever.
List of vitamin B foods
- Whole wheat flour
- Wheat germ
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
List of foods rich in Folic Acid
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce etc.
- Citrus fruits- orange, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries
- Beans, peas, lentils
- Ladies finger
- Brussels Sprout, cauliflower
- Seeds and nuts
Include the above foods in your diet to cure and prevent Fordyce spots.
Other Tips to Cure and Prevent Fordyce Spots
- Keep yourself hydrated. Dryness of skin as well as dehydration both can promote Fordyce spots. Drink lots of water and keep your skin moisturized with something suitable to your skin. Jojoba oil is one of the best options to keep your skin moisturized when you often suffer from Fordyce spots.
- Always have well balanced diet so that you get enough vitamins and minerals. Deficiency of these can give rise to not only Fordyce spots but to many other health conditions that may make you ill. If you cannot manage your diet, at least have vitamin and mineral supplements. Talk to your doctor and get these supplements prescribed. Never take them on your own.
- Maintain proper hygiene. Take shower daily and clean your genital area properly. In summers, try to take shower at least twice a day.
- Prevent clogged pores, especially if you have oily skin. Take extra care of your skin. Exfoliate skin regularly so that sebaceous glands may not develop on your lips etc. to form Fordyce spots.
Although Fordyce spots are harmless and you don’t need to worry much about them still if you want clean, clear and spotless skin, you can always take help of the above home remedies to get rid of Fordyce spots. If you are not able to do so on your own, speak to your doctor. There are many cosmetic treatments available for removing Fordyce spots and your doctor may suggest the best treatment for your Fordyce spots.