Xanthelasma: Why Are Yellow Bumps Forming Around My Eyes?

Xanthelasma is a condition marked by the development of yellowish nodules or growths around the inside corners of the eyelids. “These growths are basically areas where cholesterol has gathered or concentrated under the skin,” says Dr. Kellie Reed, dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “They may appear on both upper and lower lids.” Although the condition is not harmful, the growths are often removed because they may be deemed unsightly.

Xanthelasma is a form of xanthoma, a skin condition characterized by fatty growths on the body. Xanthelasma are primary made up of cholesterol or other fats or lipids. “This is important as they can be associated with elevated cholesterol blood levels,” says Dr. Reed. As such, xanthomas or varying kinds can be an indicator for a number of more serious health issues such as possible heart disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism.

xanthelasma (1)

Your dermatologist can offer a number of treatment options for xanthelasma:

Trichloracetic acid peel:  Trichloracetic acid, or TCA, is a chemical peel agent used to remove dead skin cells, revealing new skin cells underneath. “TCA can be used as a medium-depth skin peel which removes more layers of skin than alpha -hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid skin peels,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, dermatologist and cosmetic expert at Sanova Dermatology. TCA peels are a safe and effective treatment for some types of Xanthelasma and are often combined with other skin rejuvenating techniques.

Electrodessication: Electrodessication is a procedure in which current is passed into the tissue to be removed via a small, needle-like probe. This causes the tissue or unwanted growth to rapidly become super-heated and desiccate, or lose all moisture, and die.  Afterwards, if necessary, your dermatologist will simply scrape off the dead tissue with a small tool called a curette. “While TCA peels may take more than one treatment to remove the unwanted growth, electrodessication is fairly immediate,” says Dr. Hanson. Depending on the amount of xanthelasma or the size of the growths to be removed, full treatment may be accomplished in a single visit.

Surgery: Xanthelasma can also be treated with traditional surgery or laser surgery. These procedures involve removing the affected area and repairing the skin for a good cosmetic result. They are usually done under local anesthetic, which means that the patient is awake but the area being operated on is numbed, and recovery time is minimal. However, before undergoing any treatment, it’s important to consult with a doctor and be aware of the possible side effects, such as what happens if you use retinol before ipl, which could cause irritation or damage to the skin.

If you have xanthelasma, it is important to rule out any the related underlying conditions, such as diabetes, or a family history of related conditions, to ensure your health is not at risk. Diabetes and elevated cholesterol and lipid levels should be monitored by your physician, and your doctor may need to prescribe medication to help you maintain healthy levels.

Contact Us

Please contact us today at Sanova Dermatology for further information about xanthelasma or the many treatment options we offer.

Photo credit: (1) Klaus D. Peter, Gummersbach, Germany


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