Xanthelasma are Benign but
are Cosmetically Unattractive
Xanthelasma are deposits of cholesterol and lipids under the skin’s surface in the eyelid area characterized by yellowish-brown distinct areas that are soft and flat and elliptical in shape. A xanthelasma usually ranges in size from 5-30 mm in length. The lesions are symmetrical and bilateral (around both eyes) and tend to increase in number and size. Xanthelasma are permanent and are benign lesions that usually have no symptoms but are cosmetically unappealing. They typically appear after the age of 40 but are sometimes apparent even in teenagers. They usually occur in the inner canthus area (on the eyelids, upper and lower, nearest the nose).
The yellowish plaques represent lipids and cholesterol under the skin. These may be hereditary but in about 50-60% of patients there is high cholesterol and/or other lipids such as triglycerides.