Skin Challenge: Xanthelasma

Xanthelasma/Xanthoma in Relation to Diabetes

Four clients with eyelids affected by xanthelasma/xanthoma lesions.A xanthoma is a skin lesion caused by the accumulation of fat in macrophage immune cells in the skin and, more rarely, in the layer of fat under the skin.

Xanthomas are classified into the following types based on where they are found on the body and how they develop. The most common type of xanthoma is Xanthelasma palpebrum. There are many types of xanthelasmas, but we’ll focus on the ones found on the face.

  • Lesions arise symmetrically on upper and lower eyelids
  • Lesions are soft, velvety, yellow, flat papules or plaques
  • Lesions start off as a small bump and gradually grow larger over several months
  • May or may not be associated with hyperlipidaemia


What is the cause of xanthoma/xanthelasma in your client?

Some types of xanthoma are indicative of lipid metabolism disorders (e.g. hyperlipidaemia or high blood fats), where they may be associated with increased risk of coronary artery heart disease and occasionally with pancreatitis.

Determine any medications, contraindications, and cautions before proceeding with any spa treatment.

Treatments that can be offered:

  • Trichloroacetic acid peel
  • Electrodessication
  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser 

DISCLAIMER: Work within the scope of your license/certification.

Portrait of Mórag Currin. About the Author

Mórag Currin is a highly sought-after esthetic educator with more than 27 years of spa industry experience and more than twelve years of training and training management experience. She travels around the globe with her training and expertise, helping to raise the bar in the spa industry and to open the door to all people, regardless of skin type or health condition. To learn more about this topic and many other skin challenges, diseases, and symptoms, check out Mórag’s book, Health Challenged Skin: The Estheticians’ Desk Reference.

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