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What is Xanthelasma?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Xanthelasma is a condition where lipids, especially cholesterol, build up under the skin. The result is a characteristic eruption of white to yellow nodules or disc-shaped marks. These marks, called xanthelasmata, are removable using a variety of dermatology treatments, but they are a cause of concern, as they can indicate elevated levels of lipids in the bloodstream. This can suggest that the patient is at risk of heart disease and other conditions related to elevated blood lipid levels.

One very common form is xanthelasma palpebrarum, which appears around or on the eyelids. Many people find this form of the condition particularly embarrassing and disfiguring, since it is so readily visible to observers. People can also develop it on other parts of their body as well, however, and they should be checked for now and then, along with other changes to the skin that can indicate health problems.

There appears to be a genetic component to xanthelasma, which is more common among Asians and people of Mediterranean extraction. This condition is probably genetically linked because high blood lipid levels can have a genetic component; those who are predisposed to higher levels of cholesterol and other lipids in their blood may run an increased risk of developing it. The nodules themselves are generally harmless, although sometimes irritating.

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Common methods of removal include the use of electrocautery devices or chemocautery tools, along with things like liquid nitrogen, which freeze the nodules off. It is also possible to use lasers, chemical peels, and surgical excision techniques to remove them. Patients should be aware that recurrence is common, however, especially if the underlying high lipid level is not addressed.

An individual who notices a xanthelasmata can talk to a dermatologist about removing it, although this medical professional may send the patient to a specialist if it appears near the eyes. Patients may also want to discuss the problem with their general practitioner to see about testing for elevated blood lipids, along with ways to control such elevations, if they exist. Diet and exercise have been shown to be very helpful, and some individuals with genetic predispositions can also consider medications.

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anon991585
Post 22

I drink cups of coffee every day so this maybe the result of my huge Xanthelasma on both my upper eyelids. Instead of undergoing laser treatment or surgical removal, I will try the garlic remedy. Thank you so much for getting this site available for people like me and thanks a lot also to the posters who shared their experiences on having and removing Xanthelasma.

anon942064
Post 21

My brother had it many years ago and he is taking Simvastatin, cholesterol medication and he no longer has it.

anon347009
Post 20

@anon346123: Which Dermablend product did you use?

anon346123
Post 19

A concealer called Dermablend works very good to conceal xanthelasma. Look at videos online. Very impressive. I have used it for about a year but now I am ready to try a peel to remove them.

anon328327
Post 18

Garlic application locally has shown amazing results in seven days for me. I've had yellow spots for the last three years.

anon300225
Post 17

I have had the same condition with Xanthoma on my lower eyelids in both my eyes. I managed have it removed.

This is what I did: swab the area for a few minutes with a hot towel, cut garlic cloves to the size of the Xanthoma, place on the area for five to 10 mins for three or four days. You will find it burns a bit, but the Xanthomas burn and drop off in a few days.

anon277946
Post 16

Hi, I have a nodule on top eyelid of my right eye for almost 2 years. I did several lipid profile tests, and everything was normal. One thing I noticed that during the month of Ramadhan which we don't eat from dawn to dusk, the nodule got very small and as I started eating regular meals back, the nodule size was big again.

anon277920
Post 15

My name is Habib. I am male, 37 years old. I have one above my right eye. I have checked my lipid profile several times so far, and everything seems normal. Since I am muslim, I have noticed that the nodule gets much smaller during the month of Ramadan (in which we don't eat or drink from the dawn to dusk). But it starts getting bigger as I eat three meals after the month of Ramadan.

anon259007
Post 14

I am 27 and have had xanthelasma marks for over a year now (two small ones above each eye and one long one under one eye). They appeared not long after giving birth and when I was still breastfeeding a lot and I can't help but think it was related to this.

anon251102
Post 13

I've had them surgically removed and it left scars. I then had them "scraped off" and it didn't. I had them come back within months.

Now I take garlic clove, cut it in half, looks like half a moon, put it on the areas. It burns like acid, my eyes will swell up badly, and I do this for a few days. Then I use vaseline on the areas for a few days. It's been eight months and they're still gone. Do this only when you don't have to be around people for at least a week.

anon249050
Post 11

Try garlic. I have them and I'm 34. Get a garlic bulb and slice off a small amount that fits the size of the xanthelasma press and hold for 10 minutes twice a day for three days. After this, you will scab up and they will greatly reduce or disappear. I've been doing this and they are gone. Good luck.

anon167381
Post 10

Has anyone found makeup to cover the Xanthelasmata? i have had them since i was 25 and i am getting married in july and want them to be either covered or gone. is there any hope? please let me know.

anon166497
Post 9

I have them too and they have reappeared again, and surgery was painful. My eyes bruised and swollen but that passes. Four years have gone by since surgery and I've seen so many messages about people like us that are seeking a method. Some have tried tca acid - you can buy that on ebay. Some tried using garlic on them. That made me laugh -- still wondering if it works. I'm still looking around and will post anything I find about it.

anon165073
Post 8

If you have xanthelasma, cholesterol levels may be fine. It is the blood lipids that need to be checked. A lipid test is different to a cholesterol one and involves urine samples.

anon88833
Post 7

Yes, me too. I am a male, 32 years of age, normal blood level and yet I have one yellow mark under my eye caused by Xanthelasma and a few small circular skin tags around the eye. What caused this if my blood levels are normal? Was it an attack of high cholesterol? Should I be concerned that it might happen again? And I too would like to hear ways of removing it.

Many thanks, Keith

anon63997
Post 6

I had the marks removed six years ago and they came back a short while afterward.

anon45047
Post 5

I am 37. I have normal cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure. No one in my family has had these. I had xanthelasma on the top and bottom lids near the corners of my eyes. I have had them surgically removed two days ago. the pain of the the anesthetic needles, I had four near the corners of my eyes, was incredible. My eyes and face are still swollen and bruised.

anon44678
Post 4

i have xanthelasma since i was 16. my grandmother on my mom's side is the only other person in my family with it. i have no other medical problems but it seems the yellow spots are spreading. is there and way to get rid of them without surgical procedures?

anon39668
Post 3

i have Xanthelasma, and I have a normal cholesterol blood level? are there treatments without scarring?

anon34384
Post 2

I have xantheplasma before the age of 30, and my cholesterol is normal. I am 37 now and I am one more on my eyelid. My cholesterol is still normal, blood pressure is low. Is this xantheplasma? Have not seen a dermatologist, but is there any other treatment than removal by laser surgery or the usage of liquid nitrogen? I don't want any scarring around my eye.

Susan, Milwaukee

anon21033
Post 1

i am suffering from Xanthelasma. i have normal blood cholesterol level. what may be the main reason behind it?

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