Sebaceous hyperplasia features skin-colored to yellow-white elevations of the skin that are often seen on the forehead.  The small, smooth elevations of the skin have a faint yellow-white color and can be very subtle in sebaceous hyperplasia. This image displays collections of sebaceous glands on the skin that appear as whitish-to-yellow skin bumps.
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Sebaceous Hyperplasia  Information for adults

Picture of Sebaceous Hyperplasia: Sebaceous hyperplasia features skin-colored to yellow-white elevations of the skin that are often seen on the forehead.  Divider line
Sebaceous hyperplasia features skin-colored to yellow-white elevations of the skin that are often seen on the forehead.
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Overview
Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common harmless enlargement of the skin oil glands.
Who's At Risk
It usually occurs in middle-aged and older adults and is seen in about 1% of the US population.

About 10–16% of people on long-term cyclosporin A for organ transplants also develop sebaceous hyperplasia. There are a few families where multiple lesions begin to occur during puberty.
Signs and Symptoms
Lesions may be single or multiple. They are seen in areas where many oil glands are found – the face (nose, cheeks, and forehead), chest, upper arms, mouth lining, vulvar area, and around the nipples.

They are small (2–9 mm), painless, whitish-yellow-to-pink or skin-colored bumps, often with a central depression or dimple.
Self-Care Guidelines
No treatment is required. They will not go away on their own.
When to Seek Medical Care
See your doctor:
  • If the lesions are irritated (by shaving, glasses, or clothing) or if they are cosmetically bothersome.
  • If you have many lesions (over 10) or if they are growing or bleeding.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
If there is doubt about the diagnosis, a biopsy may be done.

Many types of treatment can remove the lesions, with a small risk of leaving scars:
  • Burning (cautery)
  • Freezing (cryosurgery)
  • Applying topical chemicals
  • Applying a drug activated by light (photodynamic therapy)
  • Laser treatment
  • Cutting out the lesions (excision)

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.546-547, 1743. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. pp.2541. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Last Updated: 22 Dec 2008