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Q&A with Dr. Cyndi: What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a result of an overactive, or overgrown, oil gland (aka sebaceous gland). They present as either a pink, flesh or yellowish colored papule, primarily on the face, most commonly on the forehead. Some people mistake them as pimples or acne like lesions. They can also resemble certain skin cancers.

Skin Consultation


A true sebaceous hyperplasia is not dangerous. However, it is always a good idea to get any lesion that does not go away, or looks different than your normal skin, checked by your dermatologist.


Many patients find them unsightly and would like them removed. The good news is that there are several treatment options for these undesirable lesions. A few options are listed below, from the most conservative to more aggressive:

1. Topical tretinoin cream (this can take a few months before seeing improvement but is also frequently used as an anti-aging treatment as well).

2. Liquid Nitrogen (this can cause temporary blistering and sometimes can leave a permanent white spot).

3. Low voltage cautery (this is usually the most effective but can leave little scabs for a few days and on a very rare occasion cause a scar).


Insurance will not cover the treatment of sebaceous hyperplasia. These lesions are benign, and they do not like to pay for things that are not “necessary.” Treatment of these lesions is considered a cosmetic treatment and the patient will be responsible for payment at the time of treatment. The cost of the treatment is dependent upon the number of lesions each patient wants treated.

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