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Fordyce's spot

  Fordyce's spots, or Fordyce granules are small, painless, raised, pale or white spots or bumps 1 to 3 mm in diameter that may appear on the shaft of the penis or on the labia[1], as well as the inner surface and vermilion border of the lips of the face. They are common in men and women of all ages. They are named after an American dermatologist, John Addison Fordyce.[2] On the head of the penis, they are called Tyson glands,[3] not to be confused with pearly penile papules.[4]

The spots are a form of ectopic sebaceous gland, and are not known to be associated with any disease or illness and are of cosmetic concern only. They are non-infectious and a natural occurrence on the body. Men sometimes consult with a dermatologist because they are worried they may have a sexually transmitted disease (especially genital warts) or some form of cancer, but this is not the case.[5] They may equally be worried about the appearance of their penis and what their sexual partner might think of it.[6]

Vaporising laser treatments such as CO2 laser[7] or electro desiccation have been used with some success in diminishing the appearance of this condition if they are of cosmetic concern. However, most doctors consider this a normal physiological phenomenon and advise against treatment.

There are anecdotal reports that the spots can be reduced in size by following a low-carb dairy-free diet. Sebaceous glands are sensitive to diet-induced insulin spikes, and ensuing hormonal cascades, thus a diet that limits insulin production may allow the spots to shrink in size. There are studies showing carbohydrate-restriction can reduce acne, another disorder involving enlarged and over-active sebum glands.

Dark brown or purple spots on the scrotum, shaft, and head characterized by a rough texture can be treated with salicylic acid, benzol peroxide, green tea masks, and other acne lotions. It is believed that the drying out effect of these topical creams reduces the appearance of the spots. Though the fordyce will remain, using treatments such as these can eliminate the dark brown appearance of the spots.


  1. ^ Image - Fordyce spots (vulvar)
  2. ^ synd/1510 at Who Named It
  3. ^ derm/395 at eMedicine
  4. ^ Khoo LS, Cheong WK. Common genital dermatoses in male patients attending a public sexually transmitted disease clinic in Singapore. Ann Acad Med Singapore 1995;24:505-9.
  5. ^ Palo Alto Medical Foundation Bettina McAdoo , M.D. Retrieved June 24, 2006.
  6. ^ Spots on the penis. Dr John Dean. Retrieved June 24, 2006.
  7. ^ Ocampo-Candiani J, Villarreal-Rodriguez A, Quinones-Fernandez AG, Herz-Ruelas ME, Ruiz-Esparza J. Treatment of Fordyce spots with CO2 laser. Dermatol Surg 2003; 29: 869-71. PMID 12859392
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fordyce's_spot". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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