By, Michaela Cisowski


Wendy, age 33, noticed that she had yellowish bumps on her eyelids. Because her mom is a nurse she asked her about it and told her that her grandfather also had the same condition. She often asks her mom questions like this because several health concerns run in her family including high cholesterol.


Xanthelasma - a skin disorder where fatty deposits form under the skin.
  • Can range from very small to 3 inches in size
  • Most commonly found on the eyelids
  • Often symmetrical
  • Can be found on all 4 eyelids
  • Some spots are flat and others are thicker and raised

How it is Diagnosed

  1. Physical examination - can reveal yellowish plaque on the upper eyelids.
  2. Laboratory test - results from tests of cholesterol, triglyceride, and lipoproteins can be found high.

Etiology - Causes or Source

  • Over half of the cases are from high cholesterol
  • High cholesterol or low cholesterol
  • Inherited high cholesterol
  • Liver disease which can raise cholesterol levels
  • Is most common in people whose families are from Asia or the Mediterranean

Risk Factors

  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Nephrotic syndrome - a disorder that damages the blood vessels in the kidneys
  • Hematologic disease that affect the body’s ability to break down substances and to maintain important bodily functions, such as digestion of fats.
  • Cancer
  • Side effect of certain medications


Xanthelasma typically cause:

  • Bumps under the skin
  • Skin lesions that:
    • Can come in many different shapes
    • Can range from very small to 3 inches in size
    • Yellow to orange in color
    • Have well-defined borders


Treatment options:

  • Surgical excision
  • Laser therapy
  • Electrocauterization - treatment with an electric needle
  • Cryotherapy - Freezing off with intense cold
  • Chemical peeling

Cosmetic Removal:

  • Dissolve the growth with medication
  • Freeze off with intense cold
  • Remove with a laser
  • Remove off with surgery
  • Treat with an electric needle

Side Effects:

  • Scars,
  • Skin color changes
  • Turning out of an eyelid.
  • Growths can come back


  • The condition alone is harmless.
  • The prognosis depends on the association with underlying lipid abnormalities and cardiovascular risk.
  • These lesions slowly progress and are permanent. (cosmetic problems)
  • Usually won't go away on its own.
  • The growths will either stay the same size or get bigger over time.

Lifestyle Impact

  • Cosmetically unsightly and socially embarrassing.
  • It is difficult to hide - location on the face.
  • Negative impact on the quality of life and may have psychosocial impact.
  • Diet change to lower cholesterol.
  • Can raise a red flag for accelerated atheroslerosis and coronary artery disease.
What is xanthelasma?

For More Information Check Out:

This website will bring you to the Toronto Dermatology Center Website that provides information regarding this disorder as well as a walk through of a patient's experience and results from this skin disorder. The information is provided by Dr. Barnkin.

Visit this website:


Work Cited

TDCvideochannel. "What Is Xanthelasma?" YouTube. YouTube, 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

?. What’s Your Diagnosis? ® What Is Responsible for the Skin Lesions on This Patient’s Eyelids? (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

"Xanthelasma and Xanthoma.” Symptoms Conditions 202823. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

"Xanthelasma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and More." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

"Xanthelasma or "Cholesterol Deposits"" Xanthelasma. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.