What Is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?
Sebaceous hyperplasia is a common and benign condition of the sebaceous glands. You can identify this condition most often when examining your middle aged and mature clientele.
Microscopic sebaceous glands on the skin are made up of cells called sebocytes. These cells secrete the waxy, oily substance known as sebum. Sebum acts as a lubricant which softens the skin and hair, while also serving as a waterproof shield.
Sebaceous hyperplasia develops when these glands become enlarged due to sebum clogging their ducts, causing gland growth.
What do Sebaceous Hyperplasia look like and where do they occur?
Sebaceous hyperplasia appear as tiny bumps (papules) which range in colour from flesh-coloured to a yellowish tint. These papules can either be solitary or could appear in clusters. They have a soft texture and are slightly yellow in color.
Papules are generally about 2-5 cm in size and do not grow in size over time. They often have an indented center, giving them their distinct “donut style” appearance.
You will mostly frequently find sebaceous hyperplasia on your clients’ cheeks and foreheads. As these are noticeably visible areas, their appearance can be upsetting to your clients who can deem them unattractive. Besides these common regions, sebaceous hyperplasia can also often occur on the chest, areola, neck, oral mucosa, as well as in the genital areas.
Causes of sebaceous hyperplasia
One of the reasons why the condition develops more commonly in older people is because of decreased levels of androgens.
Androgens are hormones that play a crucial role in male reproductivity and masculine traits. However, although androgens, dubbed ‘the male hormones’, they are found in both males and females. With advancing age, the level of androgens in our body decreases.
When androgen levels in the body are lower than normal, there is build-up of sebocytes and sebum over time which blocks the glands. Due to the blockage, the glands enlarge in size resulting in sebaceous hyperplasia. This is why clients over 40 years of age are at an increased risk of having decreased androgen levels.
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