What is Xanthelasma?
Natural fats like cholesterol are found in all the body cells. These substances are needed to make Vitamin D, hormones, and also to digest foods. Cholesterol is also consumed in the form of food and when there is too much of it in the blood it can form plaques. Sometimes these fats can lead to growth around the eyelids and one of these is called Xanthelasma. These are yellow-coloured cholesterol deposits around the eyes and can be an indicator of a liver condition, cholesterol, or hypothyroidism. It can also be only a cosmetic concern too.
The xanthelasma most commonly appears on one or both the eyelids closer to the nose or can also appear on the lower lids of both eyes. The symptoms and signs are:
- Yellow or yellow-orange bump or patch on one or both eyelids.
- The bump is flat and is well defined as it has distinct borders.
- The size of the bump ranges from 2 to 30 mm. The lesions do not slow down but increase in size and numbers.
- As they grow in size it can lead to discomfort in the eyes but it does not impair the ability of the eyes.
- In some rare cases, it can lead to drooping of the eyelids.
Most people contact a dermatologist for cosmetic reasons rather than for any health concerns.
Who is at Risk?
The risk of developing xanthelasma is high in:
- People who are in the age group of 30 to 50 as they are more likely to have lifestyle issues.
- Cigarette smokers have a high chance of getting this than those who are non-smokers.
- People who are obese or overweight are likely to get it.
- People who have chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and those with high lipid levels can see these fat deposits.
- People of Mediterranean or Asian descent risk formation of it.
The exact causes of Xanthelasma are not yet known to doctors. But it is believed that up to 50% of the people who are diagnosed with xanthelasma have high cholesterol. The chances of these growths are high if:
- The LDL or the bad cholesterol is high and the HDL or the good cholesterol is low.
- High levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Hypercholesterolemia is a condition where high cholesterol is an inherited condition.
- Liver diseases like cirrhosis where the cholesterol levels are high.
- Middle-aged women are more likely to develop this as there is a fluctuation in hormones and cholesterol is produced in higher quantities.
How is Xanthelasma Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of this condition can be done through a visual examination of the skin around the eyes, other diagnoses are:
- Based on what the doctor determines during the physical examination, lipid profiles may be orders to know if any underlying condition is causing the symptoms.
- In some cases, a xanthelasma differential diagnosis may be done to distinguish from other conditions like Necrobiotic xanthogranuloma, Palpebral Sarcoidosis, Periocular Xanthoganruloma, etc.
- Surgical excision is done to remove a sample of the skin to perform a microscopic examination.
- A biopsy may also be ordered to find if there are any disease manifestations.
How is Xanthelasma Treated?
These growth deposits are painless and harmless and you can get it removed for cosmetic reasons. For such people, Xanthelasma treatment options are:
- Laser surgery where a laser technique called fractional Co2 can be done to remove the growth.
- Cryotherapy can be done where the xanthelasma is frozen using chemicals.
- Traditional surgery is performed to remove the deposits.
- Radiofrequency advanced electrolysis, RAF is done to remove or reduce it. It is considered effective as there are fewer chances of recurrence.
- Medicine for Xanthelasma to treat high cholesterol and in turn, reduce xanthelasma growth.
Xanthelasma may be harmless but the underlying cause may not be! Book an appointment with our doctors at Cure.fit to get it examined. Treating the underlying cause is a good Xanthelasma cure.
How can Xanthelasma be Prevented?
One of the best ways to prevent xanthelasma is to manage your cholesterol. Certain lifestyle and dietary changes can help in managing cholesterol. It includes:
- Managing to maintain a healthy weight.
- Limiting alcohol consumption and also avoiding smoking as it can affect the ability to process fats.
- Avoid consumption of fried, fatty, and salty foods.
- Including aerobic exercise as part of your exercise routine to burn more calories and reduce fat.
- Take medications as prescribed by the doctor to keep the cholesterol levels in check.
- Undergo regular checks to know if any underlying condition is causing this condition.