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White spots on lips and corner of mouth, have hard core. Is this Fordyce spots or oral molluscum?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 353 Questions
I'm curious about the difference between Fordyce spots and oral Molluscum. Can you help me better understand the two? I have white spots on my lips, numerous tiny ones in the corner of my mouth and some larger, although not very noticeable, ones on my lip in general. If I try and pop them it is very difficult, but I am able to get a hard core like thing out. Is this Fordyce?

I started to get them when I was 18, they spread over the years. Thank you for your help! Again, they aren't very noticeable, I'm just curious if I should be worried or not.

Posted Tue, 25 Sep 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Neelam Ashish Vanjari 46 minutes later

Thanks for your query.
Molluscum contagiosum can be cutaneous as well as mucosal. While Fordyce spots are mucosal.
Main difference between two is molluscum spots are umbilicated i.e with central depression, and fordyce spots are smooth, pale and dome shaped.

In molluscum, lesions are generally skin colored with an opalescent character. The central depression or umbilication contains a white, waxy curdlike core. The size of the papule is variable, depending upon the stage of development, usually averaging 2–6 mm. In adults, affected area is usually genital area.

Fordyce spots are commonly present over lips, mouth. No umbilication. Size vary from 1-3 mm in diameter.

Considering your description, it looks like more of fordyce spots. So need not worry about the same.
I hope I have answered your query. In case of any doubt, I shall be happy to help you.
Best regards,
Dr. Neelam.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: White spots on lips and corner of mouth, have hard core. Is this Fordyce spots or oral molluscum? 8 minutes later
So with Fordyce spots, does umbilicated mean you can't pop them, or that nothing is inside?
Answered by Dr. Neelam Ashish Vanjari 12 hours later

Umbilication means there is depression and something material is there inside it.
But in fordyce spots there is neither any depression and nor any material inside ; still you can not pluck it out.

Various treatments are used like laser, electro-desiccation are used to treat the same, if it is very bothersome.

I hope I have cleared your doubt.
Best regards,
Dr. Neelam.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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