ENLARGED OIL GLANDS

Sebaceous hyperplasia is the medical term for this condition, and it is the benign overgrowth of the normal oil glands (sebacous glands) in the skin. The most common areas affected are the forehead, cheeks, and temples. These bumps appear skin-colored or yellowish, and they frequently have a central opening or "pore." They are usually asymptomatic and don't itch or hurt. Occasionally they can become irritated after scratching, shaving, or other trauma. Although they are entirely benign, they can sometimes look a lot like an early skin cancer such as a basal cell carcinoma, so it is important to have a dermatologist look at any lesion on the skin that is bleeding, growing, or otherwise concerning to you.

Although anyone can develop sebaceous hyperplasia, it is more common in fair-skinned individuals. It is also seen very commonly in people receiving certain medications such as cyclosporine. It can also be seen in various syndromes and in transplant patients, often due to the medications used to suppress the immune system.

Most of the time sebaceous hyperplasia is a nuisance for cosmetic reasons. They can be treated very effectively with fine-needle electrocautery, which is a simple in-office procedure with minimal pain. The lesions heal without scarring, though occasionally treatment can leave behind a light or dark mark that will resolve over time. Laser skin resurfacing can also be used to remove sebaceous hyperplasia with the added benefit of leaving the skin smooth and rejuvenated. The most important thing before any treatment is to make sure the lesion has been properly diagnosed by a dermatologist so that a skin cancer is not missed.