Fordyce Spots: How to Identify Them, Risks, and Treatment

Fordyce spots might bother some people but they are typically harmless.

A woman applying lip liner on her lips

Fordyce spots have an uncanny ability to pop up in strange places you least expect it. They are likely to appear on the inside of your mouth, the sides of your sides, in the external flaps of your vagina, and sometimes on the scrotum.

It goes by other names like Fordyce glands or Fordyce granules. They are usually caused by a widened oil glands. They are usually harmless and painless. And, you can actually say that can naturally occur in a human being’s lifetime.

The spot may appear alone, but at times, it can form in cluster. They usually grow in oil glands that do not have a hair follicle on it.

Identifying Fordyce Spots

Fordyce spots can grow as large as 3 mm in diameter. When stretched, they can be seen more visibly. They come in yellow to flesh tone color sometimes depending on the location where they grow.

They can appear in random places. But are most often seen on the insides of the cheek, at the sides of the lips, on the labia majora (femal genital area), or on the scrotum (make genital area). They sometimes appear symmetrical to each other.

However, people might confuse Fordyce spots with other symptoms of certain conditions like sexually transmitted diseases. If the spotty area causes you discomfort, it is likely not to be a sign of another condition.


Fordyce spots are naturally occurring spots that are already present even from the moment you are born. Their appearance is only triggered by different hormonal changes, especially during the puberty stage.

Who Gets Them?

A study says that men are most likely to have Fordyce spots occurrence than women because most of them have inherently oily skin.

They might also indicate other things that go skin deep like a medical condition. A study reported a significant percentage of people with colorectal cancer to have Fordyce spots. The appearance of  these spots might also help doctors in understanding your diagnosis better.

A study also mentioned the high probability of hyperlipidemia on people with these spots. Hyperlipidemia is the increase of fat in the bloodstream. Early detection of hyperlipidemia through Fordyce spots helps to cure early on and prevent possible heart ailment risks.

Please be informed that Fordyce spots are an indication only and having them does not cause the preceding conditions mentioned above.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor

Fordyce spots are harmless, they are not painful either and are relatively benign.They do not cause disfiguring appearances, but they can be unsightly sometimes.

However, fold must be wary of Fordyce-like spots because not all spots are Fordyce spots. Some might be due to chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases. If you happen to see one in your genital area, do not assume that it is Fordyce spots because it might be something else. To know for sure and to rule out some possibilities, have the spotty area examined.

Some people are quite uncomfortable with these spots surrounding their lips. These people can set up an appointment to a doctor and talk about his or her options in lessening the appearance of the spots.


The diagnosis method Fordyce spots can vary from simple to elaborate. For example, doctors might easily diagnose at the moment they see the spotty area. Some doctors might need to make sure by getting a tissue sample from the area.


The Fordyce spots do not need treatment but if you are someone that wants to get rid of it, there available treatment options to which you can choose from. Try to discuss it with your doctor.

The Micro-punch surgery

The micro-punch method is a procedure that involves using a pen-like device to remove unwanted tissue-laden with Fordyce spots in the skin. The procedure will be quite painful, so the doctor will require anesthesia shot to dull out the pain. The micro-punch procedure can be done in the genital area and around the lips.

Micro-Punch surgery is a surgery that does not leave any scars, which is quite nice since some of the plastic surgeries and cosmetic procedures leave a slight mark on the area worked on.

The Laser treatments

The laser treatment is quite expensive but potent. The two types of laser treatment used in the procedure are the pulse dye laser and the carbon dioxide laser. Both lasers are quite effective, but the carbon dioxide laser leaves an evidently significant carrying than pulse dye laser. However, the pulse dye laser is more expensive than the carbon dioxide laser.

Topical treatments

If you are on sort of a budget and needs more non-expensive options, then you might want to try the topical treatment method in removing the spots although these might have side effects. The topical treatments that are clinically accepted are bichloracetic acid, Retin-A, and isotretinoin.

Other types of treatments

  • Chemical cauterization.

The Takeaway

The Fordyce spots are normal occurrences in the body, and their appearance should generally not be feared.

If the spots really bother you, you might want to visit your doctor and discuss the treatment that will work best for you. It is noteworthy too that topical remedies for the spots might not be so effective according to studies, so you might want to heed the advice of your doctor instead. Do not self medicate by applying unknown concoction in your face. Do not pick on your Fordyce spots because it might develop some complication in the long run.

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