Sebaceous Hyperplasia

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Images of Sebaceous Hyperplasia


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)

Trusted Links

MedlinePlus: Skin ConditionsClinical Information and Differential Diagnosis of Sebaceous Hyperplasia


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.