Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a skin infection which occurs in the form of yellowish bumps on the face. This infection occurs when the anomalies of sebaceous glands extend and turn into yellow colored bumps. These glands occur beneath the skin and its function is to secrete oily substance known as ‘sebum.’ Sebaceous glands are present mostly in hairy parts of the body. However, these glands may also be found in areas with no hair growth as well.

Sebaceous hyperplasia is not harmful at all. It is very common and does not have adverse affects. It only enlarges the oil glands of the skin which appear in the form of yellow colored bumps, mostly on the face. As the condition can result in an unsightly appearance, a person suffering from sebaceous hyperplasia can feel embarrassed and become extra self-conscious. The person may, at times, also experience low self-esteem.

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Sebaceous hyperplasia is commonly called as “Tiny Donuts.” It is due to the formation of depression in the middle of the abnormal growth. The number of these bumps that look like tiny donuts increase very fast. These lumps almost look like the lesions of basal cell carcinoma. In the lesions of basal cell carcinoma they bleed easily and it is the same in the case of sebaceous hyperplasia. Also, sebaceous hyperplasia looks similar to an infection known as ‘Fordyce.’ This infection also leads to formation of yellowish, small lumps in clusters that affects the interior of the mouth, lips and at times the genital skin.

Sebaceous hyperplasia may also affect pregnant women. It develops as a natural reaction of the body to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. These growthsusually disappear within some weeksafter the delivery of the baby.

Sebaceous hyperplasia mostly affects middle aged or older men and is also hereditary. If it is hereditary, then it is better to consult the doctor when any lumps appear on the face. Sebaceous hyperplasia is not hazardous,nor does it cause health problems. It however does not vanish on its own and hence needs to be treated so as to clear the face.A good dermatologist can be consulted to treat this skin disorder.


Some of the symptoms of sebaceous hyperplasia are as follows:

  • Sebaceous hyperplasia bumps are usually small. Its size varies from two mm to nine mm
  • They are harmless and mostly not painful
  • It can be in the form of white, pink, yellow or skin colored bumps. Also, a depression or hollow can be seen in the center.
  • They may appear in groups or as a single growth.
  • Bumps usually appear in areas where oil glands are present such as cheeks, forehead, walls of the mouth, nose, and other areas of the face. Other body parts are also affected by sebaceous hyperplasia, like upper arms, chest.

Causes of sebaceous hyperplasia

The real cause for sebaceous hyperplasia is not known.As per research, some of the causes of sebaceous hyperplasia could be:

  • A family history of sebaceous hyperplasia: It is possible that a person may suffer from this skin infection because of hereditarycauses. Sebaceous hyperplasia is not contagious; hence one cannot be infected by these bumps due to direct or indirect contact.
  • Excess oil glands:Sebaceous glands are prevalent mostly on the face. Sebaceous hyperplasia is formed as result of excess growth of these oil glands. These glands may have formed excessively because of high exposure to sun or due to lowered circulation of various androgen hormones.
  • Drugs:A drug called cyclosporine is mostly taken after transplantation of an organ. But if this medicine is taken for a very long time then there are high chances of sebaceous hyperplasia. An estimated ten to sixteen percent of the patients taking cyclosporine suffer from this skin infection.
  • Around one per cent of the American population suffer from sebaceous hyperplasia.
  • Middle aged and older people are more prone to sebaceous hyperplasia.

Treatment of Sebaceous hyperplasia

Some of the available treatments options for sebaceous hyperplasiaare given below:

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1. Drug therapy

After consulting a skin specialist, creams and gels such as tretinoin can be applied. It helps to slowly eliminate the infection and also to prevent from further worsening of the condition.

Another drug called as accutane can also be used; however there are chances of reoccurrence if intake of accutane is stopped.

2. Surgeries

The lesions can be permanently eliminated via certain surgical procedures.A majority of these procedures cause some scars. Some of the methods are:

  • Laser therapy
  • Cauterization or burning of the bumps
  • Cryosurgery, which involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesions and thus destroy them.
  • Photodynamic therapy, which is a method in which a drug that is activated by light is used.
  • Surgical excision. It is a procedure wherein the affected part is cut off, and then that portion is sutured and bandaged.

Sebaceous Hyperplasia Pictures

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