What is it?
Xanthelasma is a small benign tumor that is located around the upper and/or lower eyelid. It can also be found in other areas of the body, in that case it’s called xanthoma. They don’t pose any health problem but an aesthetic defect.
Who does it affect?
The incidence is 1% in the general population. They are more frequent in women than in men and although they can appear from adolescence are more frequent between the 40-50 years.
Xanthelasmas manifest as well-defined papules with a yellowish color around the eyelids. They are cutaneous accumulations of cholesterol that usually appear in a symmetrical way, although sometimes they can appear in a unique way. They are asymptomatic.
Although they are an accumulation of cholesterol, the exact reason for which they appear is unknown, as only 50% of patients usually present with dyslipidemia (excess fats in the blood). Another factor to take into account is the hereditary.
They pose no risk to skin health, but if they are associated with hypercholesterolemia, they indicate that there is a higher cardiovascular risk. For this reason, it’s imperative to ask for a lipid profile to study the amount of fats that circulate in the blood.
Three basic methods for disposal are available:
- Surgery (excision and suture closure): this technique, unless the xanthelasma is not of considerable size, is not usually practiced, as it is the most traumatic and leaves a scar.
- Peeling of trichloroacetic acid: it’s possible to destroy the superficial layers until arriving at the dermis that is where the deposit of cholesterol is. It’s an effective and economic technique but requires many sessions (between 9 and 10) and being a liquid can affect the area around.
- CO2 Laser: evaporates the fat deposit from the skin without the need to close the wound with stitches and therefore there is no risk of scarring. The great advantage is that very few sessions are needed for complete elimination and it’s the method that presents less risk of relapse, and allows the elimination of xanthelasmas in very few sessions.