Sebaceous Hyperplasia

What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a non-malignant disorder on the sebaceous glands of the skin that usually occurs to elderly and middle-aged individuals. It is a type of non-cancerous hair follicle tumour and occasionally, the bumps are confused with basal cell carcinoma.

sebaceous hyperplasia on frontum picture

The sebaceous glands are enlarged making the bumps possibly visible on the cheeks or forehead. The bumps will somehow look like a breakout or blackhead with tiny hair follicles around it but then later on, it does not go away at all and found to be sebaceous hyperplasia.

They are not one of those simple clogged pores since it is extremely tough to remove them up until now. These bumps form over time inducing into progressing worry with oil glands that are overly produced. The oil glands will appear as firm white or yellowish bumps with recessed center which is about 3mm in diameter.

The recessed or hollow centers of the bumps are one of the most common ways to tell whether or not it is really sebaceous hyperplasia or probably something else. It is not strange to have numerous bumps all at once, grouped together, or often parted by some space. These bumps can occur in any parts of the body, but is very common in areas where the skin produces more oil glands.

What Causes Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is theorized to be caused by circulating reduction levels of androgen correlated with aging. It is not caused by an oily skin or any infections but it is a genetic tendency that is commonly seen among families.

Ultraviolet radiation is also considered a factor in causing the condition wherein the bumps appear on certain areas of the body where sunlight is not an important issue. A weakened immune system can be a cause of sebaceous hyperplasia and this condition can also be spread by touching since it is contagious.

Too much exposure of the sun that can increase the skin damage is believed to be one of the co-factors of sebaceous hyperplasia since sunlight can harm the skin and oil glands which is a reason for daily skin protection.

How is Sebaceous Hyperplasia Treated?

Since sebaceous hyperplasia is harmless, most individuals who have this type of condition do not usually need any treatment but the lesions or bruises can sometimes be cosmetically irritating.

The lesions tend to occur again, unless all of it is completely destroyed although there is still a chance that permanent scars may remain despite of the treatments. Most people who experience these types of irritations visit a dermatologist but now, there are some remedies found at home to keep the unwanted bumps under control. Before any treatment is taken, the person should know that there is no cure for sebaceous hyperplasia but it can be controlled.

sebaceous hyperplasia post treatment

Any bumps can be minimized and removed, but the oil gland that got affected will continue to create another bump if treatment is not maintained.

The person should then use products at home recommended by the dermatologist to keep the bumps at rest. If the bumps are suspected to be basal cell carcinoma which is a type of skin cancer, the physician should do a biopsy of the patient.

Treatments that may be recommended could be:

  • Electric needle – This allows the bumps to break down and seep that will later on result to a scab that eventually falls off in a week or more.
  • Tretinoin cream – A cream that is applied to the bumps which can slowly get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia as long as the prescription is followed.
  • Facial peels – This includes the use of trichloroacetic acid or salicylic acid.
  • Accutane – This is a really powerful drug but once stopped, the bumps may recur.
  • Fresh mint juice – Recommended for regular use on the affected areas.

The Removal of Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Sebaceous Hyperplasia can be removed through some procedures. These may include:

  • Cryotherapy – This is to freeze the bruises or lesions by making use of liquid nitrogen.
  • Photodynamic therapy – This is done by the use of visible light wherein the skin is treated with a special gel that reacts with the light. A 5-aminolevulinic acid is also used.
  • Laser treatment – This treatment is quite expensive and is less attainable. It is done with the use of argon, carbon dioxide, and pulsed dye laser.
  • Surgical excision – This is considered the last resort on treating sebaceous hyperplasia and it might create scars but the advantage is, the bumps will not return in the same area.


There is no exact prevention for this condition, but washing the face daily or any other affected area to keep it clean can help. Facial peels and light therapy may also be considered. Other than those, taking care of the skin by not getting it damaged in any way, such as a prolonged exposure to the sun can possibly keep the bumps away.


sebaceous hyperplasia photos 4

sebaceous hyperplasia photos

sebaceous hyperplasia pictures 2

sebaceous hyperplasia


  1. Sebaceous Hyperplasia -> Overview, Presentation, DDx, Workup, Treatment, Medication, Follow-up at
  3. Sebaceous Hyperplasia – Causes, Treatment, Removal, Prevention, Pictures Written by Dr.Mary at
  4. Ena P, Origa D, Massarelli G (2009 Apr). Sebaceous gland hyperplasia of the foreskin. Clin Exp Dermatol. 34(3):372-4.
  5. Ma HJ, Zhao G, Wang YX (2007 May-Jun). Sebaceous hyperplasia of the scrotum in an adolescent boy. Pediatr Dermatol. 24(3):340-2.
  6. Bakaris S, Kiran H, Kiran G (2004 Feb). Sebaceous gland hyperplasia of the vulva. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 44(1):75-6.

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