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Q
Xanthelasma: Yellow Growths on the Skin?

Is there any natural treatment for xanthelasma? I have consulted many doctors, and they all have told me that surgery is an option, but it would leave scars, and the xanthelasma might come back again. My own doctor said that if I bring my cholesterol down it might go away.

A
Answer (Published 6/8/2010)

Xanthelasma are raised, yellow growths that appear on the eyelids and can occur with age as well as with high cholesterol levels. Similar growths called xanthomas are also yellowish in color, flat with distinct edges and soft to the touch. Most are small, but some are pretty big,  more than three inches in diameter. They're usually seen on elbows, knees, hands, feet, or buttocks. Xanthomas are more common than xanthelasma, especially among older individuals with high cholesterol and high triglycerides. All of these growths (both xanthelasma and xanthomas) are harmless and painless, although they can be distressing cosmetically.

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I don't know of any natural treatment for xanthelasma. Your physician is correct - if you can bring your cholesterol (and triglyceride) levels down to normal range, you may be able to prevent the formation of new ones. You can have the current growths removed by surgery, electrosurgery, cryosurgery, laser surgery, and the application of acids. If you do choose surgical removal by any method, permanent scarring is a possibility and, as the physicians you've consulted have explained, there's no guarantee that the growths won't recur.

Disturbing as xanthelasma may be, you should be more concerned about the elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They may indicate and possible increased risk of heart disease.  Check your cholesterol levels and learn how to normalize them.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

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