What is Xanthelasma?

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What is Xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma is a type of sebaceous cyst. However, it is structurally different from cysts seen in other areas of the body.

The sebaceous cysts are round and smooth on the outside. However, xanthelasmas appearing around the eyelid are in a layer.

 What Causes ?

High levels of fat in the blood cause enzyme disorders. The high level of LDL, that is, bad cholesterol in the blood, causes the adipose tissues to be pushed to the skin surface.

Xanthelasma occurs around the eyes as a result of the adipose tissues coming to the skin surface.

Since the accumulation of fat in the body may be higher in people with cholesterol, liver disease, overweight individuals, and smokers, the risk of xanthelasma is higher in these people.

What Are the Symptoms ?

Xanthelasmas are predominantly seen in the inner part of the upper and lower eyelids near the nasal root.

Although they do not cause pain, they are harmless. Xanthelasmas have a characteristic appearance.


  • Usually round or arched
  • Xanthelasma can be whitish to yellow in color
  • Tubers are usually soft and sharply circumscribed.
  • It is mostly seen on both sides of the nasal root.
  • Usually occurs symmetrically

The symptoms may be a cosmetic problem with the eyelids that do not go away on their own.

A distinction is also made between flat (xanthelasma planum) or raised (xanthelasma tuberosum) xanthelasma. In rare cases, eyelid function (ptosis) may be impaired.

 What Causes ?

The mechanism of formation of xanthelasmas has not been clarified yet, and the reason is unknown.


Normolipidemic Xanthelasma:

Xanthelasmas appearing although the patient’s blood fat values ​​are normal and there is no problem in fat metabolism.

This form of xanthelasma is thought to be possibly inherited.

Hyperlipidemic Xanthelasma:

Xanthelasmas developing due to high blood lipid values ​​in the patient

Secondary Xanthelasma:

They are xanthelasmas caused by other existing diseases such as diabetes, pancreatitis or alcoholic liver diseases.

According to recent studies, these fat deposits are not directly related to the body weight of affected patients.
Normal weight individuals also have xanthelasmas.

The frequent occurrence of xanthelasmas on the eyelids in family members suggests the presence of a genetic factor.

Xanthelasma palpebrarum usually occurs in women between the ages of 40-50 for no apparent reason. In medicine, this condition is called normolipidemic xanthelasmas.


Normolipidaemic xanthelasmas develop during normal fat metabolism, that is, without any problems in fat metabolism.

This form of xanthelasma is thought to be possibly inherited.

In children and young adults, xanthelasma oil may be indicative of a metabolic disorder. This form of xanthelasma occurs in about 50 percent of patients diagnosed with xanthelasma.

There is more fat, fat transport proteins (lipoproteins) and cholesterol in the blood than in healthy individuals.

It occurs with increased blood fat concentrations. And this type of xanthelasma is called hyperlipidemic xanthelasma.

This increased amount of fat in the blood is mainly made up of cholesterol, immune cells, and other fats. And it leads to characteristic deposits under the skin of the eyelids.


Diagnosis of xanthelasma is quite easy. The physician can diagnose the xanthelasma by seeing it.

Xanthelasmas are extremely benign, mostly seen on the upper and lower eyelids near the nasal root, and are whitish to light yellow in color.

Cholesterol deposits are stored in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin.

And it is mostly seen as flat, rounded or arched.


Another defining feature of xanthelasmas is that they are soft and usually appear symmetrically in both eyes.

In about 50% of those affected, xanthelasmas are triggered by a fat metabolism disorder.

To identify possible changes in fat metabolism, the physician will order a blood test for diagnosis.

It will also pay particular attention to laboratory values ​​affecting blood lipids.

Important blood lipid levels in blood test:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein): high-density fat transport proteins
  • LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein): Low-density fat transport proteins

What Is Good For ?

Unfortunately, there are no precautions for xanthelasmas that occur without a specific reason.

When xanthelasmas occur together with another disease, you should take some preventive measures.

Paying Attention to Diet / Nutrition

A balanced and low-fat diet should be followed to prevent xanthelasma.

Adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts will provide you with many daily vitamins, nutrients, and healthy fats.

Eating fish once or twice a week and eating low-fat dairy products, vegetable oils such as olive oil and a small amount of meat are beneficial both for your health and to prevent xanthelasma.

Foods and beverages containing a lot of sugar and alcohol adversely affect blood lipids.

Physical Activity

Even just half an hour of exercise per day has a beneficial effect on blood lipids and will therefore be beneficial in preventing xanthelasma.

For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and even walking or cycling short distances instead of the car is an important step.

What Isn’t Good For Xanthelasma?

Based on current studies, it is thought that lifestyle has a significant effect on xanthelasma formation.

Smoking, exercise, lack of sleep, stress and unbalanced ‘western’ diet, especially ready-to-eat food consumption, significantly promote the formation of xanthelasma.

It is also believed to be a harbinger of strokes and heart attacks.

For this reason, they find a way to show xanthelasmas to the family physician and to positively affect their lifestyles as well as the medical treatment of basic diseases.

Thus, both body health is improved. In addition, a new xanthelasma formation or serious additional health events can be prevented.

How is the Sebaceous Gland –Xanthelasma- Treated Around the Eyes?

Treatments applied in oil cysts around the eyelids are grouped under 2 main headings.

These ;

It is not preferred because of the incisions and stitches in the surgery. It is preferred with modern and technological methods that do not leave any traces after non-surgical treatments.

The sebaceous glands on the eyelid are treated non-surgically with laser and radio frequency methods.

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