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Sebaceous hyperplasia: causes, symptoms, treatments 2022

Sebaceous hyperplasia causes, symptoms, treatments 2022

Sebaceous hyperplasia: causes, symptoms, treatments 2022

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common condition that causes small bumps on the skin. These bumps are most often flesh-colored but can also take on a white or slightly yellow tint. Their size varies from 1 or 2 millimeters to several millimeters. The surface of the bumps can be smooth or slightly irregular and coarse.

‌Sebaceous hyperplasia is a skin condition that becomes more common with age. It’s caused when your sebaceous oil glands produce too much oil, which can be trapped under your skin and cause bumps. The good news is, there are many treatment options available for sebaceous hyperplasia.

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Symptoms of sebaceous hyperplasia

We have tiny acorns under the surface of the skin called sebaceous acorns. These acorns are found everywhere except in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Their role is to create sebum, or oil, to keep the skin lubricated and healthy.

In sebaceous hyperplasia, there is an overabundance of sebocytes, the special cells that make up the sebaceous glands (hyperplasia means “over formation”). These cells enlarge the sebaceous gland, which causes it to grow several times larger than its normal size.

Now, instead of being a tiny tassel below the skin’s surface, it is large enough to create an easily visible bump on the skin. Sebaceous hyperplasia can appear as a single bump or multiple bumps in a cluster or line. It most often develops on the face, especially on the forehead, cheeks, and nose.

Sebaceous hyperplasia can occur anywhere there are many sebaceous glands, including on the back and chest, shoulders, areola, penis, scrotum, and vulva. However, it is very rare in these regions.

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Acne or sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is often confused with comedonal acne because the bumps look like breakouts from non-inflammatory acne. How can you distinguish sebaceous hyperplasia from common acne pimples like closed comedones and milia if you have a bump on your skin?

The key to identifying sebaceous hyperplasia is the depressed or pitted area in the center of the bump. It is a clue that you are not dealing with an acne breakout. Sometimes you can also see tiny blood vessels (called telangiectasias) in the bump.

It is useless to compress the sebaceous hyperplasia; you won’t extract anything from the bump because there is no comedonal nucleus. Squeezing will not remove them but may cause inflammation or bleeding.

Causes

Several factors contribute to sebaceous hyperplasia. The most important is the decrease in androgen hormones. Androgen hormones play an important role in the internal functioning of our sebaceous glands.

Androgens (especially testosterone) stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. When there is an increase in androgens, there is also an increase in the activity of the sebaceous glands.

During puberty, there is a huge increase in androgens. It is why your skin is generally much oilier during adolescence than at other times in your life. It also explains why acne peaks during puberty; there is a similar peak for androgens.

With age, androgen hormones decrease. It slows down the activity of the sebaceous glands. And it’s not just oil production. The natural rate of cell turnover in the sebaceous glands also slows down. Cells recede into the gland, resulting in overabundance and enlargement of the gland.

There also appears to be a genetic link. If a family member has sebaceous hyperplasia, you’re also more likely to develop it because it’s hereditary (but not contagious).

The consensus is that sun exposure also plays a role in the presence of sebaceous hyperplasia – all the more reason to wear sunscreen every day and say no to tanning.

Risk factors

Sebaceous hyperplasia is more common with age. Usually, it does not appear until middle age or later. Some people get sebaceous hyperplasia at a much earlier age if there is a strong family history, although this is rarer.

Sebaceous hyperplasia affects men and women about equally. It most often occurs in people with fair or fair complexion. It is also much more common in people who take cyclosporine long-term, such as those who have had a transplant.

Newborn babies can also develop this condition (often at the same time as baby acne) due to hormones passed from mother to baby. Blemishes most commonly appear on the nose, cheeks, upper lip, and forehead.

There is no reason to treat this condition in newborns. The bumps subside and disappear on their own a few months after delivery, as the maternal hormones dissipate.

Diagnostic

A simple visual examination by your doctor is often enough to diagnose sebaceous hyperplasia, but if in doubt, your doctor may order a biopsy to rule out skin cancer. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish sebaceous hyperplasia from basal cell carcinoma’s similar (but more serious) condition.

Appearance and signs of skin cancer

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a purely cosmetic problem. They are benign, non-cancerous, and are not a precursor to skin cancer like other skin lesions such as actinic keratosis.

Treatment

Sebaceous hyperplasia will not go away on its own. Once the bumps are there, they’re usually here to stay. You can choose to treat them or leave them in place. In both cases, everything is fine.

It is a cosmetic treatment only; there is no compelling reason to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. But if the bumps bother you, you can choose to have them treated.

Prescription medications like topical retinoids and azelaic acid can help prevent new sebaceous hyperplasia pimples from forming because they speed up the natural rate of skin cell turnover. They can also make existing bumps appear smaller, although these topical treatments probably won’t eliminate them.

A few changes to your skincare routine may also be needed. While over-the-counter exfoliation products won’t get rid of these bumps, some can help reduce the likelihood of them appearing. Moisturizing creams and lotions containing retinol are the best options.

However, avoid aggressive scrubs with grainy products. It will irritate the bumps but do nothing to improve them.

There are several in-office procedures you can do to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. They will allow you to improve the bumps more obviously, and their effectiveness will be much faster. Procedures include:

Sebaceous hyperplasia: causes, symptoms, treatments 2022
  • Laser treatment
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Cauterization or Electrodesiccation (burning)
  • Photodynamic therapy (application of a photosensitizing agent followed by light treatment)
  • Topical chemical treatment
  • Excision (cutting or shaving the lesion)

These treatments carry a risk of scarring and skin discoloration.

In severe cases of sebaceous hypeerplasia, your doctor may prescribe isotretinoin. Isotretinoin shrinks the sebaceous glands, at least temporarily. It often has to be used long-term to keep sebaceous hyperplasia at bay, so this treatment is only used in extreme cases.

No treatment can cure sebaceous hyperplasia. They control the affection. It is likely to come back over time, even after being treated.

Whenever you have a bump, lesion, or any other unknown problem on your skin, it is always important to be seen by a doctor to get a correct diagnosis. Because sebaceous hypeerplasia is incredibly similar to the much more serious basal cell carcinoma, you should have your bump(s) examined by a doctor to know what you are dealing with.

If it’s sebaceous hyperplasia, the good news is that it’s completely harmless. Many people with sebaceeous hyperplasia choose not to treat it. These bumps are much more obvious to you than to anyone else.

But if they bother you, you can have them treated. Your doctor will tell you which procedures and medications are best for your situation.

As sun exposure can increase the risk of developing these lesions, wear sunscreen every day. It’s a great habit for your skin, whether or not you have sebaceous hypeerplasia.

What does sebaceous hyperplasia look like?

Sebaceous hyperplasia causes yellowish or flesh-colored bumps on the skin. These bumps are shiny and usually on the face, especially the forehead and nose. They are also small, usually between 2 and 4 millimeters wide, and painless.

People sometimes confuse sebaceous hyperplasia with basal cell carcinoma, which looks similar. The bumps of basal cell carcinoma are usually red or pink and much larger than sebaceous hyperplasia. Your doctor may biopsy the lump to confirm whether you have sebaceous hyperplasia or basal cell carcinoma.

What causes sebaceous hypeerplasia?

Sebaceous hypeerplasia is more common in middle-aged or older people. Fair-skinned people — especially those who’ve had a lot of sun exposure — are more likely to get it.

There is probably also a genetic component. Sebaceous hypeerplasia often occurs in people with a family history. Additionally, people with Muir-Torre syndrome, a rare genetic condition that increases the risk of certain cancers, often develop sebaceeous hyperplasia.

Although sebaceous hypeerplasia is almost always harmless, it can signify a tumor in people with Muir-Torre syndrome.

People taking the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine (Sandimmune) are more likely to develop sebaceous hyperplasia.

How can I get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia does not require treatment unless the bumps bother you.

The affected sebaceous glands must be removed to get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia. You may need to be treated more than once to remove the glands completely. There are several options for removing glands or controlling sebum buildup:

  • Electrocautery: A needle with an electrical charge heats and vaporizes the bump. This forms a crust that eventually falls off. It may also cause some discoloration of the affected area.
  • Laser therapy: A medical professional can use a laser to smooth the top layer of your skin and remove trapped oil.
  • Cryotherapy: A medical professional can freeze the bumps and make them fall off your skin easily. This option may also cause some discoloration.
  • Retinol: Applied to the skin, this form of vitamin A can help reduce or prevent clogging of your sebaceous glands. You can get low-strength retinol over the counter, but it’s more effective as a prescription drug called isotretinoin (Myorisan, Claravis, Absorica) to treat severe or severe cases. Retinol needs to be applied for about two weeks to work. Sebaceous hyperplasiaa usually returns about a month after stopping treatment.
  • Antiandrogen drugs: Higher testosterone levels seem to be a possible cause of sebaceous hyperplasiaa. Prescription antiandrogens reduce testosterone and are a treatment of last resort for women only.
  • Hot compress: Applying a hot compress or a washcloth soaked in hot water to the bumps can help dissolve the buildup. While this will not eliminate sebaceous hyperplasiaa, it can make the bumps smaller and less noticeable.

Can I prevent sebaceous hyperplasia?

There’s no way to prevent sebaceous hyperplasiaa, but you can reduce your risk of getting it. Washing your face with a cleanser containing salicylic acid or low retinol levels can help prevent the clogging of your sebaceous glands.

Sebaceous hyperplasiaa is linked to sun exposure, so staying out of the sun as much as possible can also help prevent it. When out in the sun, use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and wear a hat to protect your scalp and face.

What is that?

Sebaceou hyperplasia is harmless, but the bumps it causes may bother some people. Talk to your doctor or a dermatologist if you want the bumps removed. They can help you find the right treatment for your skin type.

Remember that you may need to do several rounds of treatment to see results, and when the treatment stops, the bumps will reappear.

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