While the majority of the growths that develop on your skin are benign with their significance confined to their specific location on the skin, there are others that signal something taking place on the inside of the body as well.
Xanthelasma is one of these types of growths that can at times be associated with something internal. This condition is characterized by the development of flat yellow deposits just under the skin surface most commonly in the areas around the eyelids. The yellow material which is present actually represents deposits of lipids or fatty material that have accumulated in the skin.
Some individuals can inherit the tendency to develop these lesions with normal blood tests for lipids, but in others the condition is directly related to highly elevated levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood stream.
So, xanthelasma has the potential to be a skin marker for internal disease involving the body’s inability to break down and digest fats in the blood stream.
You probably wonder why cholesterol accumulates around the eyes. Well, the answer to that question has not yet been discovered so that still remains a mystery. Interestingly when a person with high lipid levels gets treatment and the blood levels go back to normal, the skin lesions tend to persist and stay in place.
However, when an individual develops these lesions on the skin, it is best to do blood tests to check the lipid levels since 50% of individuals will be found to have increased cholesterol or triglycerides at a level that medical intervention is advisable. Keep in mind that just as the fats are accumulating in the skin, something similar can be going on with the blood vessels and arteries going to the heart and brain.
The lesions themselves are usually asymptomatic with no itching, irritation or discomfort but they are still bothersome primarily because of their appearance. Most individuals with xanthelasma would prefer not to have the yellow areas there so in that case treatment might be considered.
The growths are usually elliptical in shape and can range in size from small measuring a quarter inch in size to as large as an inch across. When considering options to remove the growths, size is one of the main factors of significance because the surrounding eyelid skin is pretty thin.
When practical the most effective way to manage these lesions is simple excision and suture closure of the skin edges back together. Other treatment options include local applications of chemical peeling compounds, freezing the areas with liquid nitrogen, or cauterization with electric current.
While excision takes longer to do and the skin has to be stitched, the other techniques require several weeks for the growths to come off and sometimes several treatments before they are actually gone away. No matter which treatment technique is used, the possibility of recurrence is always something that can happen.
Of course, some individuals choose not to get anything done and just live with the growths and that is ok too.
Lesions similar to xanthelasma can occur on other areas besides the eyelids in individuals with very high blood levels of lipids. These lesions are called xanthomas and can appear on the hands, elbows, knees or sometimes diffusely over the body. Individuals with a history of diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver disease or kidney problems.
So, keep in minds that growths on the skin can be markers for other conditions related to your health. Get any lesions that you are concerned about checked out by your dermatologist so that you can know for sure.