Did you know that 70-80% of adults have Fordyce spots? These tiny yellowy-white bumps may appear in the mouth as well as on the lips and genitals and are more commonly occurring in men than in women.  They are basically visible sebaceous glands that are not connected to a hair follicle and are full of neutral lipids (natural substance that is part of the skin structure).
Yet, they are persistent and you may find them difficult to get rid of.
This article will help you recognize Fordyce spots and make the difference between this skin condition, and other similar-looking diseases. We will also look into the causes, available treatment methods, and indications for visiting a board-certified dermatologist.
How to recognize Fordyce spots?
The easiest way to recognize Fordyce spots (also called Fordyce granules) is to look at 5 factors:
Shape: uniform, symmetrical shape 
Size: 1-3 mm 
Location: In most cases, the bumps appear on lip borders, the inner lips, inside the mouth (e.g., inner cheeks, the roof of the mouth). Less commonly affected skin areas are the penis and scrotum in men and labia in women. 
Complaints: Unlikely to itch; no pain; no other related symptoms. 
- Millia (keratin buildup trapped under the skin)
- Warts (rough skin growth caused by Human papillomavirus HPV)
- Thrush (fungus affecting the mouth and lips)
- Lichen planus (inflammatory disease affecting mucous tissues)
- Lichen nitidus (abnormal inflammatory activity of the skin cells)
- Syringomas (small bumps appearing due to overactive sweat glands)
- Molluscum contagiosum (infection by poxvirus)
- Closed comedones (blocked pores)
- Calcinosis cutis (calcium salts buildup under the skin)
- Sebaceous hyperplasia (small benign bumps caused by overproduction of sebum)
- Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
If you believe you have Fordyce spots, visit your dermatologist to receive an official diagnosis and make sure the tiny bumps do not indicate an infection, disease, or virus. In RawBeautySource we stand against self-diagnosis as it may lead to complications, unsuitable treatment, and worsening of symptoms.
Causes of Fordyce spots
Evidence suggests that Fordyce spots appear during childhood (after the age of 3) without any specific cause or obvious reason.  However, the skin bumps remain “hidden” and can hardly be noticed until the person reaches the teenage stage or adulthood. In fact, early and middle adulthood was found to be the time when Fordyce spots become most prominent and visible. 
Some factors can make the Fordyce granules more obvious.  These include:
- Advancing age
- Oily skin (skin that actively produces sebum)
- Rheumatic disorders (pain, swelling, ad stiffness in joints)
- Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome (in this case, the sebaceous bumps become noticeable on the gums, and multiple places around the oral cavity)
Fordyce spots treatment
Fordyce spots may require treatment if they cause cosmetic concerns or discomfort to the patients.
Furthermore, the DermNet NZ organization suggests that apart from CO2 laser, there are other treatments that may successfully fade Fordyce spots :
- Bichloracetic acid
- Photodynamic therapy (light therapy combines with photosensitizing drug)
- Micro-punch excision surgery
- Oral isotretinoin (type of oral retinoid)
Besides, according to a 2019 case report, treatment with an insulated microneedle and monopolar radiofrequency device has effectively improve the appearance of Fordyce spots without causing skin damage (unlike other therapeutic approaches). 
Consult your dermatologist about the Fordyce spots treatment methods suitable for you.
Are Fordyce spots dangerous?
Generally, Fordyce spots are harmless and are unlikely to require medical attention. However there are 2 cases that may lead to skin damage and increase the risk of cosmetic concerns.
According to the RDH magazine, in some rare cases Fordyce spots may form keratin filled cysts, which may lead to larger skin bumps due to sebum accumulation in the pore, and adenoma formation (type of benign tumor).  If that happens, your healthcare provider may suggest treatment.
Homemade DIY treatment
There are tons of different DIY Fordyce spot treatments that often include vigorous exfoliation and ingredients that can be found in your fridge or pantry (like garlic, lemons, sugar, essential oils). However, the majority of the methods and ingredients used (including the ones suggested above) can cause significant and long-lasting skin damage, irritation, and allergic reaction symptoms (hives or dermatitis).