Fordyce spots were described in the late 1800’s by J. Fordyce who identified the whitish spots that can appear on the border of the genitals. My interest in treating the spots at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin dates back to my days of managing the Wellman Clinic back in the mid 1990’s. Treatment options were limited then. Nowadays we have latest technology in the form of lasers and RF devices to deal with the condition.
With all the warnings about sexually transmitted diseases we see many people become concerned when they see blemishes or bumps on their genitals and present to us at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin for assessment and treatment. Fordyce spots, which are small, painless, red or white blemishes or bumps that range in size from 1 to 5 mm. Fordyce spots appears generally appear on the shaft of the penis.
Fordyce spots are known as “sebaceous hyperplasia,” due to the fact that these spots are sebaceous glands without hair follicles. Fordyce spots are not sexually transmitted. The warts like spots are common enough in men. Fordyce spots affect up to 70% of the entire men. While they are harmless, they are often a cause of concern for mostly cosmetic reasons. These spots usually occur in crops of 20 to 50 bumps. Some men worry that their sexual partners might be turned off by the wart-like appearance of the Fordyce spots. People may be alarmed by the possibility that they might be sexually transmitted diseases, which they are not. Many men seek to treat or reduce the wart like appearances of these spots.
Causes of Fordyce Spots
While the true cause of these Fordyce spots remains unknown there are a number of theories as to their existence. Fordyce spots are believed to be due to the natural oil of the skin, known as sebum. The function of the sebaceous glands in our skin is to secrete the sebum into the hair follicle. As these sebaceous glands have no hairs associated with them, the sebum tend to get congested in a small area, resulting in these raised red or whitish bumps called Fordyce spots. There seems to be a genetic link where they’re seen in offspring of sufferers. We know for sure they’re not caused by viruses, and Fordyce spots are not contagious. Fordyce spots are not sexually transmitted diseases.
Many men present to me at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin seeking ways to reduce these cosmetically unattractive spots on their penises. There are many ways to treat Fordyce spots and individuals often seek ways to reduce the visibility of these bumps.
After assessment and thorough evaluation you will realise that these Fordyce spots are benign condition, you should be relieved. Most people with Fordyce spots like pearly penile papules share a primary concern, the unsightly cosmetic appearance. A deep worry about what their sexual partner will think of these white bumps. Rather than stress about this issue, most people with Fordyce spots opt for removal option at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin.
Plasma Skin Beam
Plasma skin beam, is a new non-laser technology that uses plasma, which is a burst of energy using advanced algorithm radiofrequency (RF) to provide a thermal burst of energy into the Fordyce Spots underneath the skin’s surface. Unlike lasers which use light energy to target a specific component this device uses pulses of ionized inert nitrogen gas to alter structures below the surface of the skin. The skin above it is not removed until the next day when the treated and damaged Fordyce Spot lifts off and separates along with the overlying skin leaving clearer skin contour behind. The peeling continues for about 7 to 10 days.
Fractional CO2 Laser Treatments
Even though natural remedies and self-resolution are possible options to deal with Fordyce spots, laser treatments have demonstrated reasonable success in reducing the visibility of sebaceous prominence. The CO2 procedure is performed under strict aseptic conditions and with local anaesthesia to the genital area. Ablative treatments using fractional CO2 laser will diminish the appearance of these spots with no residual Fordyce papules in the area. According to a 2003 Medipiel Centros Dermatológicos Study in Monterrey, Mexico, Fractional CO2 lasers have demonstrated a successful, safe, and effective treatment of these bumps for cosmetic reasons.
Short wave diathermy SWD
Another less invasive treatment that has seen some success among certain patients has been from hyfrecation with short wave diathermy (SWD). The SWD used in this particular treatment produces an intense, yet gentle burst electromagnetic energy onto the Fordyce spot location on the skin, which is absorbed by the Fordyce spots sebum. The natural skin oil then coagulates, reabsorbing into the body in a normal healing process. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and should be pain free.
The Trichloroacetic (TCA) chemical peel helps strip the skin off the spots, which improves the appearance of the spots significantly; however, because the chemical peel penetrates deeply and indiscriminately, it can make the treated area particularly sensitive. Consequently, you will need to ensure that your genitalia moisturized and prepare for a peeling process. While it is effective in eliminating the spots when treated with chemical peel products, once the treatment is halted, there is high probably that the patient will experience a recurrence of the papules. Chemical peels might prove to be an effective treatment in the short run, but for most individuals, it is definitely not a sustainable approach to treating the Fordyce spots.
Liquid Nitrogen Freezing
Utilizing liquid nitrogen freezing, or cryosurgery, can be a potential approach to treating your Fordyce spots. Liquid nitrogen treatment option for Fordyce spots requires a number of sessions at 2 to 3 week internals. This treatment destroys the bumps using cold temperatures and can be effective in eliminating those cosmetically unsightly spots on the genitals. In addition to having to make several visits to Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin, there is also a chance that the treatment can damage tissue or nerves in the treated area. In addition, pain, redness and blisters can also occur post-treatment. In our opinion, although a potentially successful treatment, the risks and discomfort far outweigh the benefit.