Fordyce granules are small reddish or white pellets that appear on the labia, scrotum, shaft of the penis, or mouth. Basically, these are visible sebaceous glands, which normally secrete oils into the hair and skin. They usually appear during puberty and are harmless - they are non-infectious and also not considered to be STDs. No treatment is necessary, but it is common for some people to remove them for cosmetic reasons. In this case, laser treatments are the most effective.
Part 1 of 2: Getting Rid of Beads
Step 1. See a dermatologist
When you notice some balls on the genitals or in the mouth region, see a dermatologist, the doctor who specializes in the skin. The professional will be able to diagnose the condition and reassure you, after all, Fordyce granules can look like warts or like the beginning of a herpes outbreak. It is, in fact, a very common phenomenon, which affects about 85% of the population at one time or another; men are more likely to develop it than women.
- It is important to emphasize that the granules are harmless, painless and non-infectious, and do not need treatment. Removal, if desired, must be done for aesthetic reasons.
- Fordyce granules are most noticeable when the skin is tight, often only visible during an erection (in men) or waxing (in women).
Step 2. Find out about laser treatments
If you decide to remove the granules for cosmetic reasons, talk to your dermatologist about available laser treatments; it's the most common method of getting rid of moles and other skin conditions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser treatments are used with a relative success rate, as are pulsed laser treatments. Talk to your doctor about the best option for your condition and your budget.
- CO2 lasers were the first to be developed with gases. To date, it is the most potent treatment available for treating a variety of skin conditions.
- On the other hand, pulsed laser treatment is more expensive, but less likely to leave scars.
Step 3. Evaluate microneedling treatments
This is a procedure in which a device that resembles a pen pierces the skin and removes tissue. The process is commonly used for hair transplants, but research indicates that it can also be effective in removing Fordyce's granules, particularly in the genitalia. The risk of scarring is lower and the dots will not reappear, which is a possibility in laser treatment.
- The application of local anesthesia is necessary to avoid the pain of the procedure.
- Tissue removed by microneedling is not destroyed (as with laser therapy), which allows it to be observed under a microscope to rule out more serious skin problems.
- The treatment is usually quick and capable of removing several granules in a few minutes, which makes it ideal for those who have hundreds of small beads on their genitals or face.
Step 4. Assess the use of prescription ointments
Some evidence suggests that a hormonal imbalance, caused by puberty, pregnancy or menopause, can cause or contribute to the appearance of Fordyce granules as well as it can contribute to the appearance of acne. Because of this, some ointments commonly used to treat acne and other skin problems may have an effect on the treatment of the granules. Talk to your dermatologist about the topical use of glucocorticoids, retinoids, clindamycin, pimecrolimus, or benzoyl peroxide.
- Clindamycin ointment is very useful in treating inflamed sebaceous glands, although Fordyce's granules swell rarely.
- In the case of young women, the use of oral contraceptives can reduce or eliminate the granules, just as such medications also impact acne.
- CO2 laser ablation is typically combined with the use of topical exfoliating acids such as trichloroacetic and bichloroacetic.
Step 5. Learn about photodynamic therapy
This is a treatment activated with lights. In the procedure, aminolevulinic acid is applied directly to the skin and activated with a light source such as a pulsed laser or black light. The treatment can also be used to fight acne and some skin cancers.
- Be aware that treatment can be quite expensive.
- The procedure makes the skin more sensitive to the sun temporarily.
Step 6. Try isotretinoin
The treatment can take several months, but it is also capable of producing lasting results; it works well with acne and other disorders of the sebaceous glands as well.
Isotretinoin poses some serious risks and possible side effects, including birth problems, and should only be considered in more serious cases. In addition, women taking isotretinoin must abstain from sex or use some form of birth control
Step 7. Talk to the dermatologist about cryotherapy
It is a procedure that freezes the skin pellets using liquid nitrogen. Discuss with the provider how to use the treatment for your case.
Step 8. Find out more about cauterization
It is a form of laser therapy that burns Fordyce granules. Talk to your dermatologist to find out if this is a valid option for you.
Step 9. Maintain good hygiene
Keeping the skin clean and free from oils and bacteria can greatly reduce the occurrence of Fordyce granules in some people, especially in adolescence and pregnancy, when hormone levels are increasing significantly, but this is not a reliable technique for getting rid of the granules. in most cases. Using products to cleanse the face and genitalia can unclog pores and sebaceous glands, which is also excellent for preventing the appearance of blackheads and pimples.
- Wash your face and genitals well every day and reinforce cleaning after exercising or sweating excessively.
- Try using a mild exfoliant, such as a vegetable sponge, to cleanse your skin.
- If you have Fordyce granules on your genitals, avoid shaving your pubic hair as the pellets will be more noticeable. Laser hair removal is probably the best option for you.
Part 2 of 2: Differentiating granules from other conditions
Step 1. Don't confuse Fordyce granules with herpes
As much as the granules appear in the same places affected by herpes (the lips and genitalia), they are quite different conditions. Herpes lesions, unlike Fordyce's sebaceous pellets, look like red blisters and ulcers, causing itching and pain. Also, herpes lesions are typically larger than Fordyce granules.
- Herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2; it is a very contagious disease, unlike Fordyce granules.
- After an outbreak, herpes lesions disappear for a while, returning in periods of stress. Fordyce granules may disappear, but this is usually a permanent problem or one that gets worse over time.
Step 2. Differentiate Fordyce granules from genital warts
The two conditions can be similar, especially in the early stage of warts. The difference is that warts grow and are much larger than granules, in addition to being caused by the HPV virus. HPV is contagious and is mainly transmitted through contact between the skin, whether through cuts or wounds.
- As genital warts grow, they develop into lumps that resemble the texture of a cauliflower. On the other hand, Fordyce granules resemble the texture of chicken skin, especially when the skin is stretched.
- Genital warts usually spread to the anal area, something that Fordyce granules don't usually do.
- Genital warts increase the risk of cervical cancer. On the other hand, Fordyce granules are not related to any other medical condition.
Step 3. Don't confuse the granules with folliculitis
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles, usually seen around the opening of the vagina and at the base of the penis. The problem usually involves the formation of pustules around the follicles, causing itching, pain and redness; sometimes there is the appearance of pus, similar to pimples. On the other hand, Fordyce granules are hardly itchy, never cause pain, and when they release discharge, it is more like blackheads. Folliculitis is usually caused by pubic hair removal and bacteria, but it is not considered a contagious condition.
- Folliculitis is usually treated with topical ointments and oral antibiotics, in addition to good hygiene measures, especially discontinuing the use of razor blades.
- Do not try to squeeze a Fordyce granule as you may end up causing inflammation.
- Always see a doctor if you notice unusual lumps on the face or genitalia.
- Practice safe sex even after you know that Fordyce granules are not contagious. Be honest with potential sexual partners about the condition.
- In some cases, the granules disappear with age. In others, they get worse over time.
- It is believed that there are twice as many men with the problem, compared to the number of women affected.