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How to Get Rid of Cholesterol Spots
Cholesterol spots are bumps of fat that develop underneath your skin. They are also called cholesterol bumps, or more formally xanthomas. A xanthoma does not pose a health risk unless it grows large enough to impede breathing, vision or other bodily functions. People who have high cholesterol, cirrhosis or diabetes may be more likely than others to experience cholesterol spots. In many cases, you don't have to get rid of small, harmless xanthomas from a medical standpoint, but several treatment options are available.
Reduce the fat and cholesterol in your diet. The Merck Manual explains that cholesterol spots, or deposits, may decrease in size and frequency when you stop eating fats. The American Heart Association recommends whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy and fiber-rich foods, such as beans, as part of a heart-healthy diet that can help lower your blood cholesterol levels 2.
Cholesterol and Pimples
Take statin drugs, if prescribed by your doctor, to lower your cholesterol levels and to help get rid of the spots under your skin. According to Merck Manual, prescription drugs in the statin class keep your body from synthesizing cholesterol and lower levels of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol. Continue to take the medication as directed, even if you notice a positive change in your appearance; your doctor will determine when or if you no longer need the drugs.
Undergo laser treatments to remove xanthomas that hinder your normal functioning, cause cosmetic disfigurement or otherwise bother you. The November 2001 issue of the journal "Archives of Dermatology" discusses a case in which prolonged resurfacing laser treatments over three months were able to remove xanthomas that caused disfigurement of the patient's face. MedlinePlus explains that surgery is a treatment option, but not always a permanent fix; the cholesterol spots may recur at a later time.
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- Medline Plus: Xanthoma
- American Heart Association: Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
- American Heart Association. What is cholesterol?
- Cleveland Clinic. Cholesterol: What you need to know about high blood cholesterol. May 1, 2019.
- National Center for Health Statistics. Total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adults: United States, 2015–2016. October 2017.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cholesterol.
- Barter PJ. The causes and consequences of low levels of high density lipoproteins in patients with diabetes. Diabetes Metab J. 2011;35(2):101-106. doi:10.4093/dmj.2011.35.2.101
- American Heart Association. How to get your cholesterol tested.
- Keene D, Price C, Shun-shin MJ, Francis DP. Effect on cardiovascular risk of high density lipoprotein targeted drug treatments niacin, fibrates, and CETP inhibitors: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials including 117,411 patients. BMJ. 2014;349:g4379. doi:10.1136/bmj.g4379
- Tall HR, Rader DJ. Trials and tribulations of CETP inhibitors. Circulation Research. Oct. 10, 2017.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Cholesterol: Medicines to help you.
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.