If you’ve suffered from these annoying bumps, you are not alone. Many men and women develop sebaceous hyperplasia, a skin condition marked by enlargement and clogging of the oil glands as they age. These blemishes can zap your confidence at work or in social situations. At Reflections, we’re focused on finding treatments that offer dramatic results for challenging conditions like sebaceous hyperplasia. On this page, you’ll find a full discussion of the causes of this condition and which treatments provide the best results – and why.
- What triggers sebaceous hyperplasia?
Sebaceous hyperplasia is triggered by overactive oil glands. When the pore gets filled with oil and the skin grows over it, it turns into sebaceous hyperplasia. Using products that are too rich for your skin will aggravate the condition. It is important to use “proper topicals” including gentle bi-weekly exfoliation to remove excess dead skin and a retinoid to keep your skin cells turning over.
- What happens if you squeeze a sebaceous hyperplasia?
If you squeeze a sebaceous hyperplasia you will create redness and irritation which may scar.
- What does sebaceous hyperplasia look like?
Sebaceous hyperplasia is the same color as your skin (or yellowish) and presents as small (or sometimes medium) shiny, rounded lesions.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common, benign condition where over-productive oil glands, or sebaceous glands, become damaged as we age – it then leads to a clogged pore. Since sebaceous hyperplasia creates white or light yellow bumps on the skin, many people mistake them for whiteheads. You’ll know it’s sebaceous hyperplasia if there’s a yellow or white outer rim with a depressed center. This is oil that’s been trapped inside the oil gland and has hardened.
Most people who get sebaceous hyperplasia are over 40 and have oily skin. Typically we see sebaceous hyperplasia on the forehead, nose, or cheeks. That makes sense because these are typically the parts of the face known to be the oiliest. Most people that suffer from sebaceous hyperplasia think they have acne that just won’t go away. And it’s embarrassing because you really can’t hide it with makeup. The bumps won’t go away on their own and continue to get worse over time.
Skin Classic is our favorite device for clearing away the bumps of sebaceous hyperplasia because this quick and easy treatment allows us to deliver heat energy directly to the clogged oil glands, removing the clog without disrupting the skin around it. This patient is shown 1 month after 1 treatment with Skin Classic for his sebaceous hyperplasia.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is another treatment that begins with a deep cleansing or skin resurfacing to prepare your skin for the application and absorption of Levulan, a light sensitizing gel that is placed on the treatment areas prior to targeting the glands with a laser or light. The glands absorb the heat from the laser and reduce in size, sometimes with long-term suppression of the oil glands. A variety of tools such as blue light therapy, intense pulsed light (IPL), a pulsed dye laser, or LED light may be utilized, depending on the goals of therapy3.
Dichloroacetic Acid (DCA)
Another option is the application of dichloroacetic acid (DCA) to each individual lesion. A series of carefully performed treatments can make annoying facial bumps fade away2.
Combination of Multiple Treatments
Patients with more stubborn sebaceous hyperplasia or rapidly spreading bumps may need more than one treatment, and typically those patients will benefit most from a combination of the above technologies. However, most patients are able to see good clearance of bumps with 1-2 Skin Classic treatments. Whatever your needs, our team of dedicated cosmetic physicians will help you develop a plan for clear, smooth skin.
Traditionally, dermatologists have prescribed prescription medications like anti-inflammatory drugs to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. These haven’t worked very well because inflammation really isn’t the culprit. These bumps don’t tend to be inflamed unless you’ve been picking at them. The real problem is that the clog of the oil gland has grown very large below the skin and can’t be easily removed without heating up that clog of oil and melting it.
You can try to freeze the oil clog with liquid nitrogen. However, this application tends not to be very precise, and you want to be precise with liquid nitrogen, as any slight touch to the surrounding skin of the treatment area can result in burns that leave behind white scars Unfortunately, these scars are quite common in patients who’ve had liquid nitrogen.
Our goal at Reflections is to leave you not just looking better, but feeling better too. Reflections’ approach to treating sebaceous hyperplasia will increase your self-esteem and ensure that you can put your best face forward every day. Our team of dedicated cosmetic physicians is focused on offering all of the best treatments that are proven to get results. Having access to all of the best technologies and techniques allows us to create the ideal treatment plan for each patient, as each individual will have different needs, goals, and varying levels of success with an individual technology. There is no treatment that will be best for everyone. Our skill lies in selecting the most effective treatments for the individual to maximize your results.
At Reflections, we offer the most up to date and effective treatments available to combat sebaceous hyperplasia. Because every patient is unique, the team at Reflections will work with you to design the most effective treatment plan possible tailored to your skin type and severity of the condition. Your plan may combine multiple treatments and combination therapies, and at Reflections, we know how to put them all together.
- How much does it cost to get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia?
The cost to get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia will depend upon a variety of factors:
- How large are the sebaceous hyperplasia? The small S. H. do well with one treatment of Skin Classic. However, the larger sebaceous hyperplasia will often require 2 treatments.
- What type of skincare are you using? If you use products that are too rich or occlusive, or if you do not manually exfoliate and or use a retinoid, you are precipitating a cycle of creating an environment where sebaceous hyperplasia thrive and results will be difficult to achieve or maintain.
- Pricing for most treatments we use for sebaceous hyperplasia is based on the total number of spots or lesions we are treating.
- How common is sebaceous hyperplasia? Which populations is it most common in? Is there a specific age or life event where most people get this?
Sebaceous hyperplasia is seen more commonly in the male population and more specifically in Caucasian males. Women also get sebaceous hyperplasia and we do see it in some darker skin types as well. We generally see it more in middle aged patients.
- Do chemical peels help sebaceous hyperplasia?
While chemical peels do not eliminate sebaceous hyperplasia, they can help to keep the pores clear and to remove the old dead skin cells. Also depending upon the ingredients in the peel, it may reduce the size of the sebaceous hyperplasia.
- Can microneedling help sebaceous hyperplasia? What about RF microneedling?
Microneedling does not eliminate sebaceous hyperplasia – however, microneedling can foster a healthy, smooth skin environment where sebaceous hyperplasia may not be as prevalent. RF microneedling is a bit more effective as it also uses radiofrequency heat. However, that is not the treatment of choice at Reflections Center. We prefer Skin Classic as it can direct the heat into the individual bumps with greater precision.
- No, D., McClaren, M., Chotzen, V. and Kilmer, S. L. (2004), Sebaceous Hyperplasia Treated With a 1450-nm Diode Laser. Dermatologic Surgery, 30: 382384. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30105.
- Adam M. Rotunda, Anand R. Bhupathy, Thomas E. Rohrer; The new age of acne therapy: Light, lasers, and radiofrequency; Published online: 12 Jul 2009; pages 191-200
- Alster TS , Tanzi EL; Photodynamic therapy with topical aminolevulinic acid and pulsed dye laser irradiation for sebaceous hyperplasia.(PMID:14558397); Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD
Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.