Fordyce spots are small and painless, slightly raised spots, or papules. They are usually pale in colour and may appear on the penis, female labia, in the mouth or on the lips. According to DermNet NZ, they are completely harmless, but can be a cosmetic concern. Although there is no standard treatment for these spots, a CO2 laser can remove them.
While there seems to be a genetic link, the cause of Fordyce spots is unknown. According to DermNet NZ, Fordyce spots are an overgrowth of the sebaceous glands. The papules are most likely present at birth, but don't become prevalent until a child reaches puberty. From childhood to adulthood, the condition usually increases.
CO2 Laser Treatment
According to a study published in the August 2003 edition of the journal "Dermatological Surgery," the CO2 super pulsed laser is a safe and effective treatment for patients with Fordyce spots, offering excellent cosmetic results. DermNet NZ notes that because laser treatments are basically burns, side effects such as temporary pain, redness, blistering and/or crusting may occur. Infection, including reactivation of the herpes simplex virus, is also a possible side effect.
According to Natural Home Remedies, tretinoin creams, TCA chemical peels and liquid nitrogen freezing can also treat Fordyce spots; however, they often clear without treatment.