What is xanthelasma palpebrarum?

Xanthelasma palpebrarum are deposits of fat and cholesterol, yellow in color, formed under the skin around the eyelids. They are asymptomatic and harmless but these yellow growths can greatly affect facial presentation. Most individuals prefer to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. The condition can affect both men & women and is more common in people older than 40 years of age.

What are the causes of xanthelasma palpebrarum ?

The cause of xanthelasma palpebrarum is raised cholesterol levels in the blood stream of the patient. Some associated causes are listed below:

  • Familial hypercholesterolemia ( a hereditary condition)
  • High LDL levels and low HDL cholesterol levels
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis – a liver disease which raises the cholesterol levels

Things to Know

This condition is more common in middle and older age groups, however, in familial cases, this may begin at a much younger age.
Although both genders are affected, females seek treatment more often due to cosmetic reasons.
This condition is more commonly seen in individuals with sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, you are advised to do regular exercise and take a healthy diet.
Yes , xanthelesma palpebrarum can run in families. People can also have genetic predisposition for having high cholesterol levels.
Medicines are important to keep the cholesterol levels under control but to remove the already existing xanthelasma palpebrarum, you need to get CO2 laser or chemical ablation done.

The best treatment option for xanthelasma palpebrerum removal is CO2 laser. This is very precise and accurate. The procedure is done under local anaesthesia and is painless. The wound generally heals within a week and the scab usually falls in 10 days. Initially the skin can have slight depigmentation but gradually it merges very well with the skin colour. In most of the cases it can be removed in just one session. However, in very few, a touch up session might be required.

In some patients we use TCA application to remove the xanthelasma palpebrarum. Usually, it is applied 4-5 times at fortnightly intervals to remove it.

Xanthelasma palpebrarum can also be removed by surgery. The skin is stitched after removal of the fat deposit and because the skin of eyelids is very elastic, it generally heals without leaving any scar

Yes, the treatments are safe and there is no risk to the eyes also but only when done by an experienced dermatologist.
You need to apply antibiotic ointment for 7 days after the treatment. Any scabs formed after treatment should be allowed to shed on their own and should not be removed forcibly.
If a patient has high cholesterol levels and does not do anything to take care of it, then the probability of it coming back is high.
According to Dr. Shail Gupta, MD (renowned dermatologist), Xanthelasma palpebrabum is not a disease but an indicator or a warning sign to the affected person to improve his lifestyle and control his/her cholesterol levels. However, it is a cause of cosmetic concern and sometimes patient’s try to remove it by using some home remedies of their own. They should always consult a dermatologist to know the cause and get it treated safely.
A prior consultation is required with the dermatologist to understand the need of the treatment. Medicines work hand in hand with the procedural treatments. Selection of the right treatment according to your needs is very much necessary. Knowing the downtime of the individual treatment and its outcome is equally important. After a thorough consultation, patient can opt for the treatment and can get it done after taking a prior appointment as per his/her availability.

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