Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Sebaceous Hyperplasia: Overview

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common, benign condition of sebaceous glands in middle-aged to older adults.  Lesions can be single or multiple and present as slightly white, flesh- or yellow-colored, soft, small papules on the face, particularly the nose, cheeks and forehead.

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Signs and Symptoms

Sebaceous hyperplasia occasionally also occurs on the chest, areola, mouth or vulva.  They often have a central indentation.

Treatment and Prevention

The cause is unknown and tends to run in families.  While no treatment is necessary, they can be treated by:

  • Tretinoin cream or gel used daily will reverse the condition slowly overtime and also help keep the condition from worsening.
  • Accutane will reverse sebaceous hyperplasia, but new lesions will develop after stopping the medication unless you also use tretinoin cream regularly.
  • TCA chemical peels will also reverse sebaceous hyperplasia, but new lesions will occur slowly after treatment.
  • They can be destroyed with electrocautery or laser.


Lesions of sebaceous hyperplasia are benign, with no known potential for malignant transformation.

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