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Xanthelasma: What It Is, Causes and Treatment

Jun 3, 2024 | Insights

Xanthelasma is a harmless condition marked by the appearance of yellowish patches on the skin, particularly around the eyelids. While it is not harmful, it can be a cosmetic concern and may indicate underlying health issues.

What Is Xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma palpebrarum is the most prevalent form of Xanthoma, which is a skin condition involving fatty deposits. These deposits appear as soft, yellowish bumps or plaques on the inner corners of the eyelids or around the eyes. While Xanthelasma itself is generally harmless and does not cause pain, it can be cosmetically unappealing and sometimes indicative of more serious health conditions.


  • Yellowish plaques on the eyelids
  • Soft, flat, or slightly raised bumps
  • Symmetrical distribution around the eyes

These plaques do not usually cause discomfort or affect vision but can grow larger over time if not treated.

Causes of Xanthelasma

The exact cause of Xanthelasma is not always clear, but several factors can contribute to its development:

High Cholesterol Levels

One of the primary causes of Xanthelasma is hyperlipidemia, a condition characterised by high levels of lipids (fats) in the blood. This includes high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Genetic Factors

There is a hereditary component to Xanthelasma, meaning it can run in families. Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol or lipid disorders are at a higher risk.

Underlying Health Conditions

Xanthelasma can be associated with various health conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver diseases
  • Thyroid problems

Age and Gender

Xanthelasma is more common in middle-aged and older adults. It tends to affect women more frequently than men.


Diagnosis of Xanthelasma is typically straightforward and can be confirmed through a physical examination. In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to rule out other conditions. Blood tests to check lipid levels and assess for other underlying health issues are also common.

Treatment Options

Medical Treatments

  • Lipid-lowering medications: Statins and other lipid-lowering drugs can help manage high cholesterol levels, potentially reducing the risk of new Xanthelasma plaques forming.
  • Topical treatments: Certain creams and ointments may help reduce the appearance of Xanthelasma, although their effectiveness can vary.

Surgical Treatments

For those seeking to remove Xanthelasma for cosmetic reasons, several surgical options are available:

  • Laser therapy: Laser treatment can effectively remove Xanthelasma plaques with minimal scarring.
  • Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the plaques with liquid nitrogen, causing them to fall off.
  • Surgical excision: This traditional method involves cutting out the plaques. It is effective but may result in scarring.
  • Chemical peels: Certain chemicals can be applied to the plaques, causing them to peel away over time.

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes can help manage the condition and prevent recurrence:

  • Dietary adjustments: Reducing intake of saturated fats and cholesterol can help lower lipid levels.
  • Regular exercise: Physical activity can help manage weight and improve lipid profiles.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking cessation can improve overall cardiovascular health.


Preventing Xanthelasma involves managing the underlying risk factors. Regular health check-ups, maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and adhering to any prescribed medication regimens are key preventive measures.


Xanthelasma, while often a cosmetic concern, can provide valuable insights into an individual’s lipid metabolism and overall health. By understanding its causes and exploring various treatment options, those affected by Xanthelasma can manage the condition effectively and improve their overall health. If you notice the appearance of yellowish plaques around your eyes, consulting with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan is important.

If you’re concerned about Xanthelasma or have noticed yellowish plaques around your eyes, don’t wait to seek professional guidance and contact us today. Our team of experts is here to help you understand the condition, explore treatment options, and manage any underlying health issues.

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