Xanthelasma: Diagnosis and Treatment


Xanthelasma are non-symptomatic (not itchy nor tender) soft yellow plaques occurring most commonly on the eyelids (upper, lower or both). They are often symmetrical, and often all 4 eyelids are involved. Some xanthelasma are flat, while others are thicker and more raised. These lesions slowly progress and are permanent. Half of these lesions are associated with elevated blood lipid levels and so testing of total cholesterol, LDL and HDL levels along with triglycerides is worthwhile by your physician. These lesions are uncommon and have no malignant potential. It most commonly onsets in individuals in their 40s and 50s. Most patients complain about the cosmetic appearance of their “cholesterol deposits.”

Reducing blood lipid levels often shows modest if any improvement in the appearance of xanthelasma. Chemical cauterization with tricholoracetic acid, electrodessication, cryotherapy, CO2 laser ablation, and surgical excision are the typical treatment modalities used by your dermatologist to get the best results. Your dermatologist will ensure a precise diagnosis and guide you on the best and safest treatment option for you. I commonly treat these lesions with excellent results and no scarring, and minimal discomfort. ~ Dr. Benjamin Barankin, Toronto Dermatology Centre

Article by
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon