Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Sebaceous hyperplasia are small, benign bumps on your skin. They often appear on your face or trunk. The bumps don’t require treatment. But if they bother you, medications and procedures may help.


What is a sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is the name for a condition where glands in your skin (sebaceous glands) get bigger, forming small bumps. It’s a harmless, benign enlargement of a hair follicle.

Hair follicles anchor hairs to your skin. Sebaceous glands are small organs in your skin. They contain sebocytes, cells that secrete an oily substance called sebum into your hair follicles. The substance from the sebaceous glands helps lubricate your skin and hair.

Is sebaceous hyperplasia cancer?

A sebaceous hyperplasia isn’t cancerous.

Is sebaceous hyperplasia common?

About 1% of healthy people develop sebaceous hyperplasia. Sebaceous hyperplasia can occur in anyone, but it’s more common in:

  • Babies.
  • People who’ve reached middle age.
  • Those who are immunosuppressed (for example, a person who received immunosuppressants to receive an organ transplant).
  • Those with genetic syndromes such as Muir-Torre, a form of Lynch syndrome.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Symptoms and Causes

What does sebaceous hyperplasia look like?

Sebaceous hyperplasia looks like small bumps (about 3 millimeters or mm, usually ranging from 2 mm to 6 mm). They’re usually skin-colored, yellow or brown with a little dent in the center.

Sebaceous hyperplasia can occur anywhere on your body, but is most common on your:

  • Cheeks.
  • Chin.
  • Forehead.
  • Nose.
  • Upper trunk (chest).

What causes sebaceous hyperplasia?

Hormone changes can cause sebaceous hyperplasia.

For example, as people assigned male at birth (AMAB) age, they have lower levels of androgen. That leads to a lower turnover of sebocytes, which stimulates the creation of more sebocytes within your gland. This overgrowth of cells is sebaceous hyperplasia. Another example is in babies, who can develop sebaceous hyperplasia as a result of exposure to hormones during fetal development.


Diagnosis and Tests

How is sebaceous hyperplasia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider can diagnose sebaceous hyperplasia based on a skin exam. They may use a dermoscope, a microscope that helps your healthcare provider get a magnified look at your skin’s surface.

You don’t need any tests or lab studies.

Rarely, your healthcare provider may recommend a skin biopsy to make sure the bumps aren’t basal cell carcinoma.

Management and Treatment

How do you get rid of sebaceous hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia doesn’t require treatment. But if you don’t like how they look or feel, certain medications and procedures may help.

Medications include:

  • Antiandrogens (for people assigned female at birth).
  • Isotretinoin pills or capsules.
  • Trichloroacetic acid (rubbed onto your skin).

Medical procedures to remove the bumps include:

  • Cauterization, burning the lesions off of your skin.
  • Cryotherapy, using an extremely cold substance to destroy the tissue.
  • Excision, cutting the bumps from your skin.
  • Laser skin resurfacing, using a laser to reduce the bumps.
  • Photodynamic therapy, using a specialized medication and light to destroy the tissue.
  • Shaving the bumps off your skin.
  • Scraping the bumps off your skin (also called curettage).

Don’t try any of these medical procedures at home. Talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist about safe ways to treat sebaceous hyperplasia.



How can I prevent sebaceous hyperplasia?

You can’t prevent these bumps from forming, but certain skincare products may help reduce the chances of developing sebaceous hyperplasia. These include:

  • Niacinamide: This form of vitamin B3 may help control the production of sebum and repair your skin’s protective barrier. It usually comes in serums you rub onto your skin or tablets that you swallow.
  • Retinol: This form of vitamin A is available by prescription and over the counter (OTC). It can help prevent clogging in your sebaceous glands. It’s usually in the form of a cream or serum that you put on your skin.
  • Salicylic acid: This product helps get rid of dead cells from the top layer of your skin. It also reduces swelling and redness. Salicylic acid typically comes in a lotion or gel that you put on your skin.

Outlook / Prognosis

Can sebaceous hyperplasia come back after treatment?

Sebaceous hyperplasia may come back after you stop taking medication. If you have a medical procedure, it may permanently remove the bump. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get sebaceous hyperplasia somewhere else on your skin.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist if you have skin issues and any of the following symptoms. They may be a sign of a more serious problem:

  • Achy joints.
  • Bumps on your skin that continue growing larger.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Open wounds that won’t heal.
  • Trouble sleeping.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A sebaceous hyperplasia is a small bump on a gland in your skin. It’s a harmless, benign growth in a hair follicle. These bumps don’t need to be treated. But if they bother you, talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist about your options.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 04/01/2022.

Learn more about our editorial process.

Cancer Answer Line 866.223.8100