Monday, May 1, 2023 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month we will talk about xanthelasma.

What is xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma are yellow deposits in the skin around the eye and on the eyelids. They are cholesterol (fats and lipids) that collect under the skin. They do not have any effect on the vision or cause any pain.

Who gets xanthelasma?

Anyone can get xanthelasma. It is more common in women and those of Asian and Mediterranean descent. People are at higher risk if they have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, are a smoker, or are overweight.

How is it detected?

A doctor will look at the skin around your eyes to determine if xanthelasma is present. They may order testing of cholesterol in the blood.

The arrows in the photo point to xanthelasma.


Photo of xanthelasma. Image Source1

What are the treatments?

Xanthelasma do not resolve on their own. They can be removed by:

  • Freezing the lesion (cryotherapy)
  • Heating the lesion with an electric needle
  • Chemical peel
  • Laser surgery
  • Surgical removal

These procedures are generally successful in removing xanthelasma. Potential side effects include scarring, darkening of skin, and recurrence of the lesion.

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, exercise, and not smoking to prevent xanthelasma from occurring. See your primary doctor regularly to check on your cholesterol level and any risk for heart problems.

Return next month for a discussion on a new topic!

  1. Image courtesy of Nisha Gupta, MD [return]

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