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Fordyce Spots on Lips

What are Fordyce spots?

Also known as Fordyce granules or Sebaceous Prominence, the Fordyce spots that appear on the lips are actually tiny and visible sebaceous glands. They were described by John Addison Fordyce, today bearing his name. These spots can sometimes take the form of bumps, being small and of different colors, including, pale red, yellow white or the color of the skin. It is important to understand that the appear on the vermilion border to the lip, meaning where the actual lip tissue (more colored) is separated from the rest of the face.

There is no gender prevalence, as this condition is common in both males and females. The only concern is cosmetic, as there are many people who are not satisfied with the way Fordyce spots modify their appearance. This is not a condition associated with a medical disease or illness and the most important thing is that it is not infectious, thus not contagious. Plus, it is painless, so you do not have to worry about suffering from upsetting symptoms.

What causes Fordyce spots on lips?

The exact cause that leads to the appearance of Fordyce spots on lips has yet to be identified. However, it seems that this condition is more frequent in people who have skin problems (increased production of sebum, for example, with greasy skin), rheumatoid disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis) and different types of cancer (colorectal cancer for example). Some studies have incriminated a genetic link in the appearance of Fordyce spots on lips.

The general mechanism of appearance is as it follows. Normally, any sebaceous gland will secret its sebum (natural oil for skin protection) into a hair follicle. However, these glands lack the hair follicles they need and the sebum gets easily trapped, causing these spots to appear on the lips.


When it comes to the actual treatment of Fordyce spots on lips, there are many doctors who recommend against it, as they consider it to be a normal physiological phenomenon. However, there are several courses of treatment that can be undertaken in order to solve the cosmetic concern of Fordyce spots on lips:

  • Electro-dessication – this is a form of laser therapy and it can make Fordyce spots on lips less visible
  • Pulsed dye laser – this is a new form of laser therapy but the studies in which the efficiency of the treatment has been attested have yet to be conclusive
  • Micro-punch technique – this new form of therapy has shown the most promising results, in both functional and cosmetic terms
  • In case of inflammation of these sebaceous glands, topical treatments with clindamycin are recommended
  • In case surgical excision is recommended, you should know there is absolutely no risk for recurrence
  • Bichloracetic acid has also shown promising results when it comes to making these spots less visible
  • Photodynamic therapy is indicated as well
  • Chemical peels
  • Oral isotretinoin – these will reduce the visibility of Fordyce spots on lips
  • Liquid nitrogen freezing (cryotherapy) – there are several risks associated with using this particular treatment for this condition, including the risk of scarring.

Removal of Fordyce Spots on Lips

As it was already mentioned above, there are two main opportunities when it comes to the actual removal of Fordyce spots on lips. These are:

Laser therapy – this is a minimally invasive procedure and it presents the lowest risk of scarring.
Surgical removal – the surgical removal guarantees that the Fordyce spots on lips are not going to appear again.

Home remedies

There are several home remedies and measures you can take when it comes to Fordyce spots on lips. These are:

  • Including garlic in your diet, including in the form of juice, as it has anti-bacterial properties and it can prevent secondary infections
  • Apple cider vinegar has been demonstrated to help with Fordyce spots that are present not only on the lips but on other parts of the body as well
  • Jojoba oil is recommended in case of Fordyce spots on the lips, as it is guaranteed to hydrate the skin and make the spots less visible
  • Use natural sage extracts as these are excellent for this condition
  • Maintaining an excellent personal hygiene and using health care products that contain natural ingredients.
  • Change your diet to include more vitamins. Vitamin A is really good for the skin and it can be found in any of the following: sweet potatoes, dried apricots, cantaloupe, lettuce, squash, carrots, chilli, red and cayenne pepper. Vitamin B is also good, being found in any of the following: avocado, broccoli, beans, potatoes, cereals, lentils, yogurt and wheat. Keep in mind that dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach, contain a lot of B vitamins and folic acid. You will also need to include foods that contain vitamin C, D, E and K into your diet and, if your diet is not enough, then you might want to consider dietary vitamin supplements, as these will help you with Fordyce spots on lips.

Are Fordyce spots on lips contagious?

Fordyce spots on lips are sebaceous glands that are visible to the naked eye. They are not associated with any infectious medical condition and they are not infectious themselves, as there is no infectious agent (bacterial, viral or fungal) associated to them. When a disease is not caused by an infectious agent, then that means it cannot be transmitted to other people. Fordyce spots on lips are not infectious and thus they are not contagious either.

However, proper hygiene is a must, as secondary infections can appear and these are often times caused by bacterial agents. The moment a person has Fordyce spots on lips and a bacterial infection in that area, that moment the person becomes contagious. And be sure to keep in mind that bacterial infections can be transmitted through the usage of personal objects as well, not just direct interaction. It is important to remember that the next time you want to use another person’s towel or even toothbrush. It’s not for nothing that these are objects of personal hygiene.


Collection of pictures of fordyce spots on lips…

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