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Xanthelasma (or xanthelasma palpebrarum) is a sharply demarcated yellowish collection of cholesterol underneath the skin, usually on or around the eyelids. Although not harmful or painful, these minor growths may be disfiguring and can be removed. They are common in people of Asian origin and those from the Mediterranean region.
Because of the hereditary component, they may or may not indicate high blood levels of cholesterol. Where there is no family history of xanthelasmata, they usually indicate high cholesterol and may correlate with a risk of atheromatous disease.
A xanthelasma may instead be referred to as a xanthoma when becoming larger and nodular, assuming tumorous proportions. Still, xanthelasma is often classified simply as a subtype of xanthoma.
Xanthelasmata can be removed with a trichloroacetic acid peel, surgery, lasers or cryotherapy. Removal can cause scarring and pigment changes, but it is unusual after treatment with trichloroacetic acid.
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