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Sebaceous Hyperplasia

1.    What is sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is benign over-growth of normal oil glands (sebaceous glands) of the skin, usually seen on the forehead, temples and cheeks.  They typically appear skin-colored or yellowish and have a central “pore” or follicular opening.  They can sometimes look like an early skin cancer, such as a basal cell carcinoma.  Any lesion with this description that bleeds easily or grows over time should be evaluated immediately by a dermatologist.

2.    What does sebaceous hyperplasia look like?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is typically painless and does not itch.  It is mostly a cosmetic nuisance.  It tends to be genetically predetermined and there is usually a family history of this condition.

3.    Who gets sebaceous hyperplasia?

Fair-skinned individuals are most often affected.

4.    What causes sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is not caused by infection or oily skin.  It is an inherited tendency or the skin and usually seen in families.  The oil glands of the skin are abnormally enlarged around a tiny hair follicle of the facial skin.

5.    What triggers sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous may become more pronounced over an affected person’s lifetime.  This is not a precancerous condition, but caution must be taken to make sure that the lesion is correctly diagnosed.  Sometimes sebaceous hyperplasia can mimic the appearance of a skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma.

6.    How can my sebaceous hyperplasia be treated?

Sebaceous hyperplasia can be effectively treated with fine-needle electrocautery, a painless procedure that may or may not require local numbing injections.  Occasionally, slightly lighter or darker pigmentation may occur at the treated areas, this usually resolves over time.  Darker pigmentation can be lightened with fading creams.  Laser Skin Resurfacing, in which a laser removes the outer layers of the skin is also effective for removing sebaceous hyperplasia and leaving the skin smooth and rejuvenated.

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