Fordyce spots can be described as a skin disorder that affects both women and men of all ages. It was named after John Addison Fordyce an American dermatologist. It is also known by other names such as Fordyce condition, Fordyce granules, sebaceous prominence and angiokeratoma of the scrotum. When a person is affected by this condition, you can expect to see elevated, minute, pale white or red spots that erupt in certain areas of the body such as borders and inner surface of the lips, scrotum and shaft of the labia or penis.
The lesions are normally small measuring about 1-3 mm in diameter. These skin bumps are generally oil producing or sebaceous glands that thrive on moist tissue that lines mucosal surfaces, body cavities and other organs. However it is important to note that the glands cannot be correlated to the hair follicles. With most patients, the lesions do not produce any major symptoms but for those who maintain their skin carelessly, they can experience some itching or inflammation. The tiny spots that appear on the foreskin are also known as exocrine glands, Tyson’s glands that are found in the front area of the genitals.
Causes of Fordyce spots
Sebum is considered to be the causative agent of the skin disorder mainly because the lumps are oil- secreting glands as it is the only oily secretion that is present in the sebaceous gland. Generally, the glands normally open up into a hair follicle and they end up secreting oil that travels up to the hair shaft. However, with this condition, the skin lesions are considered ectopic sebaceous glands implying that the normal glands have been displaced or malpositioned without a definitive cause. This normally results in sebum getting trapped in the hair follicle lacking glands and they do not find any outlet where they can get discharged from the body. The result of this is the development of pale, small bumps.
The formation of the pimples is also as a result of the sebaceous glands that are blocked. Nonetheless, when there is an absence of the exit route, it also prevents entry of bacteria that in turn inhibits infection of the skin. Moreover, microbial flora found on the skin normally feeds on sebaceous oil that leads to acute inflammation on the surrounding tissue which can result in a wide array of infections. The fordyce granules however give rise to non infectious and painless condition. Most importantly, they only exist as a cosmetic problem and not manifestation of another serious disorder.
Diagnosis of fordyce spots
The condition can easily be identified by the characteristic spots that appear in specific areas of the human body. A professional dermatologist can conduct a physical assessment of the problem area using a dermatoscope to detect the nature of the lesions. Most physicians will also conduct a biopsy of the pale bumps so that they can confirm the condition and also rule out possibility of other skin conditions. Patients who may have suspected sexually transmitted diseases may have to go through additional tests.
Treatment and removal of Fordyce spots
Healthcare professionals normally advice patients not to undergo any treatment as the skin lesions are nonthreatening in nature. However for the people who are interested in treatment there are a number of options they can work with such as:
Vaporizing laser therapy- this is a minimally invasive procedure that makes use of high power light for precise removal and quick vaporization of the tiny spots that are found on the skin. CO2 laser is generally used for this type of condition.
Electrodesiccation- there are some patients who may go for this type of treatment which uses high frequency electric current that is applied on the problem area in a bid to dehydrate and also destruct the bumps.