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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yudara Kularathne

Fordyce Spots

Fordyce Spots


Fordyce spots, also known as Fordyce granules, are small, raised, pale or yellowish-white bumps that can appear on various parts of the body, such as the lips, genitals, and inner cheeks. They are completely normal, harmless, and painless. They occur in 70-80% of adults.


  • Small, raised bumps that are pale, yellowish-white, or skin-colored.

  • Fordyce spots tend to be about 1 to 3 millimeters (.04 to .12 inches) in diameter but can be larger.

  • Painless and non-itchy.

  • Typically found on the lips, genitals, or inner cheeks.

Fordyce spots on your foreskin can sometimes look like other skin conditions, including:

  • Molluscum contagiosum

  • Milium cysts

  • Sebaceous hyperplasia

  • Epidermoid cysts

  • Genital warts


Fordyce spots are a natural part of your anatomy. They’re present at birth, but they aren’t usually noticeable until puberty, when hormonal changes enlarge them.

The primary cause of Fordyce spots is the presence of sebaceous glands in areas without hair follicles. These glands produce oil, which can accumulate and create visible spots. Fordyce spots are not related to any underlying medical condition.

When to See a Doctor

Fordyce spots are benign (harmless) and aren’t caused by any disease.

In many cases they’re not even noticeable however sometimes they might be unsightly.

You might confuse Fordyce spots for another less benign condition.

Consult a doctor if you:

  • Are concerned about the appearance of the spots.

  • Experience pain, itching, or other symptoms.

  • Notice any changes in the size, color, or number of spots.


A doctor can diagnose Fordyce spots through a visual examination. In some cases, they may take a biopsy (sample) to rule out other conditions.


Fordyce spots usually don’t need treatment. But if you want to remove the spots for cosmetic reasons, remedies are available.

  • Topical (applied on skin) creams or gels, such as retinoids or oral isotretinoin - Topical treatments to shrink or remove Fordyce spots include bichloracetic acid, topical tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A), and oral isotretinoin (Sotret, Claravis).

  • Laser therapy or electrocautery for spot removal - Your doctor may use carbon dioxide laser treatments to zap your Fordyce spots. However, this type of laser treatment might leave scars. Pulsed dye lasers may be less scarring.

  • Micro-punch excision surgery - Your doctor may use micro-punch surgery to rapidly and effectively remove multiple spots from your face or genital area. Before performing it, they apply a local anesthetic to reduce your pain. Then they use a small pen-like device to punch your skin and remove unwanted tissue.

  • Other treatments include electrodesiccation/cauterization.

Coping and Support

Since Fordyce spots are harmless, coping mainly involves managing the emotional impact of their appearance. Consider the following strategies:

  • Educate yourself and others about the harmless nature of Fordyce spots.

  • Seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional if needed.

  • Focus on overall health and wellness to boost self-confidence.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • All your symptoms and their duration.

  • Any concerns or questions you may have.

  • Your medical history, including any current medications or supplements.

What to Expect from Your Doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you questions about your symptoms, personal habits, and medical history. They will examine the affected area and may take a sample for testing if necessary. Be prepared to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

What Can You Do in the Meantime?

While waiting for your appointment, avoid picking, scratching, or squeezing the spots, as this may cause irritation or infection. Maintain good hygiene and skincare practices to keep the affected areas clean and healthy.

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Fordyce Spots

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