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What are xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma are benign (not harmful) deposits of cholesterol which can appear in the upper or lower eyelid. They are normally yellow in colour and tend to appear symmetrically on the face, with the nose as the middle point. Xanthelasma can be felt under the skin and have a “bumpy” texture.

What causes xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma can be a warning sign of high cholesterol – for about 50% of patients who develop them this is the case. If you do have xanthelasma, we recommend getting your cholesterol checked by your GP to confirm if this is the cause or not. High cholesterol can be either primary or secondary; primary means that the condition is genetic, while secondary means it is caused by another underlying condition.

For the remaining 50% of patients with xanthelasma who do not have high cholesterol, the cause may be another skin condition, such as eczema, psoriasis or allergic contact dermatitis.

What are the symptoms of xanthelasma?

The major symptom of xanthelasma is the appearance of yellowish fatty deposits around the eyes. These deposits should not cause any pain, be itchy or obstruct vision. They usually do not go away without treatment, and can become larger over time.

Most patients who choose to get their xanthelasma removed do so for cosmetic reasons, to improve the appearance of their eye area and therefore feel more confident.

How to treat xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma removal at home

There are various websites listing home remedies to treat xanthelasma, such as applying raw garlic to the area. We do not recommend attempting such home remedies as they have no scientific basis, and may result in the patient getting an unwanted substance in their eye!

Xanthelasma removal surgery

If you would like to get your xanthelasma removed, please visit a medical professional. At OCL Vision we offer surgical excision of xanthelasma, which involves making a hidden cut in the eyelid under local anaesthetic to remove the lesion. Some practitioners offer non-surgical options but there is a risk that this can affect the surrounding skin pigmentation.

How to prevent xanthelasma?

The chance of developing xanthelasma can be reduced by keeping your cholesterol low. Ways to do this include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding saturated fats
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
  • Taking regular exercise
  • Increasing your intake of fibre-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds

Refer to our eyelid cyst removal procedure page for more information on surgery options and pricing. 

Surgery to remove eyelid cysts

Our Cosmetic Treatment Reviews

Why you should choose us for the removal of xanthelasma