Sebaceous means of the oil glands, Hyperplasia means enlargement of.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common and harmless skin condition characterised by bumps in the skin from enlarged sebaceous (oil) glands of the skin of the face. This may be caused by too much oil production getting trapped under the skin or, more commonly, by overgrowth with swelling of the glands themselves. Since oil glands encircle the hair follicles and drain their oil through the pore, when they swell around the hair follicle they look like slightly pale tiny (2-4mm) doughnuts with the pore in the centre.
Sebaceous hyperplasia are benign bumps and do not need treating, however many ask for their removal for aesthetic reasons as they can become unsightly as they increase in size and numbers.
There are a number of treatment options but many are either ineffective or the lesions come back within a month. There are, however, some very effective treatments available at our clinics.
Topical retinoic acid in full prescription concentration can dry the glands and exfoliate the pores to prevent them getting clogged with too much oil. It may take a few months to see the results, but a side benefit of the treatment is a healthier and brighter skin from the retinoic acid.
PDT (PhotoDynamic Therapy) is an in-office treatment where a specialised light-sensitising solution is applied to the skin for a specified number of hours before being activated by a special laser light. The oil glands absorb this solution and become sensitised to the laser light so that when activated it shrinks the sebaceous glands and reduces their oil production. It is an excellent non-invasive treatment and usually long term results may be achieved. PDT is also very effective in acne, which is also related to overactive and congested oil glands. A side benefit of PDT is a healthier, brighter and smoother complexion.
Electrocauterisation using a radiofrequency device is a safer way with fewer risks of scarring and pigmentation changes than regular hot needle cauterisation. It is used to vaporise each individual bump, which then crusts for several days before falling off. Other methods of doing this with freezing, burning and some lasers may cause unacceptable scarring and pigmentation changes.
Curettage using a very fine surgical curette can empty and remove the affected sebaceous gland and may give very long term results
Combination electrocautery with curettage affords the best long term results as it both vaporises and removes the affected sebaceous glands, and is the treatment of choice that we use at our clinics.
PDT usually requires 2-4 treatments at one month intervals to see a progressive improvement.
Electrocautery and /or curettage are usually a single treatment but may need to be repeated as new lesions are likely to develop with time.
PDT is extremely well tolerated and complications are rare. Usually there is slight redness on the day of the treatment only, but very infrequently some fine blisters may develop for a few days before clearing, but this is very uncommon. There is usually no downtime.
Electrocautery-curettage is mostly very well tolerated but sometime you may develop some faint scars from this treatment, these usually settle over time. The crusts will take a week to fall off.
Most concerns have more than one course of treatment. Feel free to contact us so one of our team can discuss options for your unique concern.