I Have Bumps Under my Eyes That Have Been Diagnosed As "Cholesterol" Deposits. Treatment?

They can't be covered w/makeup, and they are really making me self-conscious. I have strangers asking me "what's those things under your eyes?" Or "friends" telling me how pretty I'd be "especially if you got rid of those bumps." I look in the mirror and they are just so noticeable and unsightly. I'm 34, have no weight or cholesterol problems and don't understand why I have this! I need advice on what causes this and what kind of treatment might be available!! HELP!

Doctor Answers 5

Laser for xanthelasma

Firstly, agree completely with Dr Gidon that you need an accurate diagnosis, as different "bumps" in this area require different treatments.  In the case of Xanthelasma, I find the Erbium:YAG laser a great tool, which enables me to break down and remove much of the lesion in a very precise manner.  We do this in-house at the practice, under local anaesthetic.  Recovery time ranges from 1 to 10 days depending on the the location and severity of the lesions. 

Brisbane Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Growths under the eyes

You should consult a dermatologist for the correct diagnosis.  Often milia, clogged pores, syringomas (benign glandular growths) or xanthelasma (cholesterol deposits) are misdiagnosed by others.  Once your dermatologist makes the diagnosis, appropriate treatment can be discussed. 

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Erbium laser can effectively remove cholesterol deposits on the eyelids

I recently wrote a column in Skin and Agin along with Dr. Alex Berlin (called "Surgical Insights" regarding the treatment of eyelid cholesterol deposits. In our experience, erbium 2940 laser using a small (2mm) spot size can be very effective to remove these deposits and minimize discoloration or scarring. Traditional surgical removal with a scalpel and then focal curettage can sometimes lead to more discoloration to the area. It is best to see your primary physician as well, as some of these patients with cholesterol deposits do have elevated cholesterol that needs to be treated with diet modification and meds (but others have normal cholesterol levels).

Joel L. Cohen, MD
Greenwood Village Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Xanthelasma of the eyelids

yellowish dermal deposits in the eyelid skin can vary from a few to many, small to medium to large. They are more often causd by not necessarily high cholesterol, but high triglycerides, or fatty acids in the blood. This can be associated with Type II diabetes and the dysregulation of the blood triglyceride level. Surgical excision works very well but if the lesions are very numerous and almost touching each other, then a wide excision might be needed but there is more risk and the result might not be aesthetically plasing.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


I have a quite elegant way to treat xanthelasma. It involves the very precise application of a high concentration of trichloracetic acid. This treatment done in the office requires about one week of healing time. Occasionally a second treatment is required. This usually will result in complete clearance of the xanthelasma. They can potentially recur 1-2 years later, at which time they are simply treated in the same fashion.

Edward M. Kramer, MD
Laguna Niguel Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.