Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Is your skin plagued by bumps and enlarged pores? Sebaceous hyperplasia may be to blame.

Put your best face forward

As you’ve gotten older you may have noticed enlarged pores, or flesh-colored, white, or yellowish bumps appearing on your skin, most likely on your forehead, nose, or cheeks. These can be very frustrating, because they look like they might be whiteheads, but don’t react to normal acne treatments, like exfoliation and drying products.

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.


Table of Contents

[click any item below to jump to that part of the page]

  1. What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia? How Can You Be Sure?
  2. What are the Treatment Options?
    1. Why Prescription Medications and Liquid Nitrogen Aren’t Good Options
    2. Skin Classic High-Frequency Radiofrequency
    3. SmoothBeam Laser
    4. PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT), Intense-Pulsed Light (IPL), and VBeam Perfecta
  3. Why Trust Reflections with the Treatment of My Sebaceous Hyperplasia
  4. View our Before & After Gallery for Sebaceous Hyperplasia Treatment Results


Sebaceous hyperplasia is a problem that we can solve

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  your symptoms. Your plan may combine multiple treatments and combination therapies, and at Reflection, we know how to put them all together and create a plan that produces real results and suits your lifestyle.

Schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our cosmetic physicians to start your journey towards clear, smooth skin today!

What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common, benign condition where over productive oil glands, or sebaceous glands, become damaged as we age, and that 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 its sebaceous hyperplasia if there’s 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 and the bumps won’t go away on their own, and continue to get worse over time.

Why Prescription Medications and Liquid Nitrogen Aren’t Great at Treating Sebaceous Hyerplasia

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.

Take charge of your skin with the latest innovations in treating sebaceous hyperplasia.

What are my options?

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.

Skin Classic results for sebaceous hyperplasia
This patient is shown 1 month after 1 treatment with Skin Classic for sebaceous hyperplasia on his cheeks, nose, and forehead. Individual results may vary, but these are typical results for this treatment and this condition.


SmoothBeam is often used in treating sebaceous hyperplasia.  This diode laser delivers a special wavelength of energy deep below the skin, to help heat up and melt the oil clogs that create those stubborn bumps. SmoothBeam is also helpful in stimulating collagen and smoothing the skin’s surface¹, offering a nice added benefit of rejuvenation to the skin’s surface.

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.

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 and/or a 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), pulsed dye laser, or LED light may be utilized, depending on the goals of therapy3.

Vbeam Perfecta, the gold standard pulse dye laser, is often used in combination with photodynamic therapy, or on its own to effectively target and treat the glands3.

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 to 2 Skin Classic treatments.  Whatever your needs, our team of dedicated cosmetic physicians will help you develop a plan for clear, smooth skin.

View more Before & After Photos

Be transformed — both inside and out

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 are 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.

Call us at 732-356-1666 to schedule your complimentary sebaceous hyperplasia appointment today!

*Results may vary: sebaceous hyperplasia typically requires a series of treatments to see best results, and may require long-term prescription medications or laser/light therapies to maintain skin clearance. However, results from several studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of patients experience significant reduction in the number of lesions after treatment with laser and light therapies.

  1. No, D., McClaren, M., Chotzen, V. and Kilmer, S. L. (2004), Sebaceous Hyperplasia Treated With a 1450-nm Diode Laser. Dermatologic Surgery, 30: 382–384. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30105.
  2. 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
  3. 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