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Fordyce spots on penis, excessive body hair, acne. No STD, infection. Can I use tretinoin cream?

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I am in need of treatment advice for excessive Fordyce spots of the penis. These are quite noticeable cover the bottom, the sides and some of the top and seemed to become an issue and very noticeable only over the past year. At least several of them have hair growing out of them. These are not only cosmetic but sometimes get irritated. It's also a sexual non starter. I am confident this is Fordyce and not a XXXXXXX infection or STD (have not been sexually active in past few years because of other issues and have never had unprotected sex) and from pictures online these clearly look like Fordyce. I also have a lot of excess hair and acne elsewhere on the body which continues to get worse. I haven't had much luck with benzoyl Peroxide 10%.

I did some research and there is not that much online in terms of suggestions except for the use of tretinoin cream or gel or accutane (which has risky side effects) and would appreciate your recommendations. Also whether the recommended treatment needs a prescription and if that is available from you. The tretinoin did not seem to mention much in the way of side effects.

Posted Mon, 7 May 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Rohit Batra 8 hours later

Thanks for your query.

It was great to know that you have made a diagnosis for yourself after doing a complete research on the internet.

Fordyce spots are non pathological, non transmitted out growths affecting the genitals and can increase or decrease in size.

Tretinoin - creams and oral are the most common prescribed medicines to treat the condition.

Radiocautery is another modality where the spots are burnt through a specialised procedure by a dermatologist , its done under the effect of an anesthetic cream and is non painful.

I would suggest you to take a treatment under guidance of a local qualified dermatologist to allay your symptoms and anxieties about the condition and the myths regarding the treatment options.

Tretinoin is used in routine by the dermatologists and doesn’t show any side effects in routine as read by you. You can obtain the medication with a prescription from your dermatologist.

Hope I have been helpful in answering your query. Please accept my answer if you do not have any further queries.


Dr.Rohit Batra
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Fordyce spots on penis, excessive body hair, acne. No STD, infection. Can I use tretinoin cream? 2 days later
Thank you, I have ordered tretinoin cream 0.05% and will try this first (it turns out I didn't need a prescription to order it).

Given the sensitive nature and location of the Foredyce spots, is this a common condition treated by dermatologists? If it does not respond to tretinoin and accutane is too risky is radio cautery commonly performed? Is this a common procedure for genital fordyce?

Aside from plucking with tweezers are there any hair removal methods you can recommend for this area as well?

Answered by Dr. Rohit Batra 8 hours later
Thanks for your query.
Fordyce spots are found in everyone and most people don’t even go for any treatment once they come to know about the non pathological nature of the disease.
For those who want, tretinoin cream is the first option and radio cautery is the second.
The lesions might erupt again after successfully completing the treatment.
Both the options are done in routine and don’t have any side effects.
A hair removal cream (used only after a patch test has been done) is always preferable to using a tweezer for hair removal in the genital regions.
I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no further follow up queries.

Dr.Rohit Batra
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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