Effective treatments for xanthelasma deposits around the eyes

Effective treatments for xanthelasma (deposits around the eyes)

By Dr Fatima Ahmed

Xanthelasma is not dangerous, but if you have them, you probably wish you didn’t. As many patients say to me: ‘People don’t look at me, they look at my xanthelasma’. Although there is no cure, we can remove them, simply and effectively.


What is xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma is yellowish lumps; normally found around the eyes, they are collisions of lipids or fat deposits. Mostly made up of cholesterol, they can be a sign of excessive cholesterol, but not always, although one study in 2011 [source] did find a correlation between xanthelasma and subsequent heart disease. They are occasionally a sign of liver issues, which I why I always recommend that patients with xanthelasma get their blood tested to check there is no underlying complication.


What are the issues arising from xanthelasma?

In themselves, xanthelasma is not medically dangerous, even if they are under your eyes and cause bags as a result. They are only an aesthetic issue, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an impact on people who have them, especially as they are difficult to disguise with makeup. One patient who came to me wore sunglasses all the time, even indoors, because they made her very self-conscious. Unfortunately, once you have a xanthelasma, you can’t get rid of it, unless you have it removed.


What are the options for removing xanthelasma?

You can have them surgically removed, but it is impossible to do this without creating scars. The alternative is laser treatment, which creates no scars. As this is a cosmetic procedure, rather than one that it is medically necessary, it is not normally available on the NHS.

Laser removal is a simple procedure done with local anaesthetic. It’s also quick, but we take it slowly because it is normally near to the eyes – generally around an hour.

There will be a superficial wound initially, which will be exactly the same size as the lesion. We give you antibiotics to take for one week afterwards and you need to keep the site clean. After one to two weeks, it will develop a scab – it’s important to let it drop off naturally. The site takes about a month to heal in total, with further improvements after that.


Laser removal is a one-off treatment (unless the xanthelasma is very large, in which case we may remove it in two or more sessions).

It can return, but we will be able to get rid of whatever is there using the same technique.


Patients who have their xanthelasma removed by laser say it makes a huge difference to their confidence. If your xanthelasma is making you self-conscious, rest assured that there is a simple, effective procedure that will give you the confidence to look people in the eye again – without any scarring.

Book a no-obligation consultation to discuss xanthelasma treatment and other dermatology procedures with Dr Fatima Ahmed

Call 01892 22 22 22

Dr. Fatima Ahmed


Meet the expert

Dr Fatima Ahmed is a speciality doctor in dermatology and aesthetics, with special interests in acne, mole and skin lesion diagnosis.  With medical qualifications from Pakistan, Canada, the UK and USA, she achieved academic distinction at Cardiff University and received the Chancellor International Scholarship award at the University of Hertfordshire.  She has worked in South Asia, the Middle East and the UK