What is xanthelasma?

Commonly known as ‘Cholesterol Spots’, Xanthelasma are yellowish, lumpy bumps which usually appear on or around the eyelids.

If you notice yellow patches on the inside corners of your eyelids, you might have this. These raised patches are made up of a localised build up of cholesterol deposits that’s under your skin. They aren’t harmful, but if you don’t like the way they look, your eye doctor can help you get rid of them.

Even though it won’t hurt you, Xanthelasma could be a sign that you’re more likely to get heart disease relating to a high blood cholesterol.  So don’t ignore this skin condition, and get it checked out by your doctor.

What causes it?

About half the people with xanthelasma have high cholesterol.  Therefore you’re more likely to get these growths if you have:

It’s also possible to get it even if your cholesterol levels are normal.

Most people who get it are middle-aged or older. It’s more common in women than in men. If you have it, you should have your cholesterol checked with a blood test. It is also more common among those from Asian or Mediterranean descent.

Dietary Causes

If you have xanthelasma, it is important to firstly recognise any dietary causes and if your diet is high in cholesterol, then a move to a healthier diet will reduce your risk of developing cholesterol deposits around the eyes. A healthy diet means reducing fat and increasing intake of vegetables, fruit and salad. For most people, it also means increasing protein and reducing sugar/carbohydrates.

How Is It Treated?

Even with dietary changes, xanthelasma may not improve but instead to continue slowly growing. They can be unsightly and some people are quite concerned about their appearance.

The patches probably won’t go away on their own. They’ll either stay the same size or grow over time.

If you’re worried about how they look, you can have them removed. Your doctor can do that with one of these methods:

  • Dissolve the growth with medicine
  • Freeze it off with intense cold (cryosurgery)
  • Remove it with a laser
  • Take it off with surgery
  • Treat it with an electric needle (shortwave diathermy)

When Should I Go to the Doctor? Xanthelasma may be an early warning sign that cholesterol has started to build up in your blood vessels.Over time, it can form hard, sticky gunk called plaque in your arteries. This buildup is called atherosclerosis, and it can lead to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

The growths may also be linked to other heart disease risks, like: