Re: tiny white spots on upper lip?! protopic? by wgb ..... Peeling Lips Exfoliative Cheilitis
Date: 1/26/2010 9:17:18 PM ( 11 years ago ago)
I think that "misplaced" is not a good synonym for "ectopic" in this case, because 75% of people are born with Fordyce Spots in their lips and genital area, so it doesn't make sense that they are misplaced - where should they be placed? They are called ectopic because they occur where they are not expected -- but, whose expectations are they not conforming to? I would suggest that the physicians/biologists/etc. who named them "ectopic" were just surprised to see them showing up where they were showing up, because they hadn't expected oil glands to be in the lips and genital area. If 75% of people have them (although they are not plugged up in most people who have them, and thus invisible to the naked eye in most people), then they are as well-placed and natural as having brown eyes, or a second toe that is longer than the first - simply a normal variation in the human body.
I think the question to ask is why the Fordyce Spots that are visibly plugged-up have formed their plugs - why are they now visible, what is inside of them to make them look white/ivory, what can make them invisible again?
If the spots are oil glands, then it makes sense that oil is plugging them up, and they are just like whiteheads that occur on other areas of the skin (which they do look like in my lips).
I'm sure that the experience of cheilitis is very traumatic for the lip skin, and I'm not surprised that in trying to cope with the irritation and exfoliation, some functions of the lip skin go awry -- speed up, shut down, malfunction.
In my case, lip Fordyce Spots were not as a result of using vaseline or lipsticks or lipbalms (which might logically be suspected of plugging up oil glands), because I didn't have these Spots for 42 years, and I've used occlusive lip products since I was a teenager, until about August of 2009.
They might have been caused by one of the lip products I've tried in the last 4 months -- hydrocortisone cream, clotrimazole anti-fungal cream, various natural lip balms, coconut oil, olive oil, glycerin. I wouldn't be surprised if the clotrimazole caused them, because it made my cheilitis much worse during the 5 or so days I gave it a try. But I don't know. I didn't notice the Spots until my lips started to heal in mid December - but they could have been present before that, under so many dry, white, damaged skin layers that I couldn't see that far down into my lips.
They seem to be increasing in size even now, so maybe they are a result of my NOT using any occlusive lip products in the last 4 months. Maybe my lips are struggling to supply oil to themselves after many decades of not having to worry about it (because I constantly had vaseline or lipstick on them), and my oil glands are not working correctly. If that's the case, I am not going to go back to using vaseline and a lot of heavy lip products, so my lips are going to have to get used to fending for themselves more often. And if I have to live with Fordyce Spots, then I will. It's not a huge concern to me, like the exfoliation, gashes, bleeding, and scabs of cheilitis are.
I have high hopes that my Fordyce Spots will diminish in visibility after my cheilitis goes away and my lips are functioning as normal.
I've read that some men who have Fordyce Spots on their genitals apply Acne creams, oil-reducing creams, retin-A, etc. there to make the spots go away. I would not suggest this for lips that have cheilitis because the last thing you want is more irritation and exfoliation of the lips.
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