Fordyce Spots or Genital Warts? How To Tell The Difference

Fordyce spots (also called “sabaceous glands”) are often mistaken for genital warts by guys who wake up one morning and suddenly discover some little bumps on their penis that weren’t there before.

First of all, don’t freak out. A guy can not have fordyce spots for many years and then all of a sudden wake up and have some. It happens very often to guys all over the world, except it’s not something most people talk about (for obvious reasons.) About 30% of guys will get fordyce spots in their lifetime.

Every month, I get at least several emails from guys who have mistaken fordyce spots for genital warts and it’s really messing with their mind.

Usually all it takes are some simple picture comparisons with what you have to determine the facts. So below I’m going to post some fordyce spots pictures for men and also give you some guidelines for how fordyce spots behave.

fordyce spots along the penis shaft
Fordyce spots typically form in a pattern similar to the photo above – along the underside and side of the penis.

Closeup view of fordyce spots along the shaft
This and the photo below are great examples of how fordyce spots look like little skin-colored goose bumps

Fordyce spots look like little goose bumps

Fordyce spots on the penis head
Although it is pretty rare, fordyce spots CAN form on the head of the penis.

Here are the general “rules” about fordyce spots that might help you narrow it down:

  • the most common area they form is on the penis shaft (or rarely, the head or scrotum area) and usually kind of on the underside moreso than the top
  • they look like goose bumps (small and skin colored) and maybe a little whiteish if you stretch the skin
  • about 30% of all guys have them and you can get them later in life like what you may have just experienced (I’ve had them since I was very young and they’ve gotten less noticeable in recent years)
  • there’s not much you can do about fordyce spots – I think there is a laser procedure for extremely bad ones but for the normal guy this is not a smart thing to do
  • usually only the guy who has them can even notice them – most girls and other people who might look down there aren’t going to notice them
  • It is also possible for women to get little fordyce spot bumps around the vulva area (they look similar to male spots but I do not have any photos of them at this time)
  • Fordyce spots can also appear around the mouth or even in the pocket of skin underneath the eye

Having these things does not mean anything is wrong with you. It just means some glands under the skin have sortof “poked up” a little higher than usual, causing bumps to be visible on the skin.

Realizing what these things on you really are will take the stress and pressure off of thinking you have an STD when in fact this is really harmless. Bottom line is if you have a normal case of fordyce spots, just don’t worry about it.

For more comparisons and to see what REAL genital warts look like, check out my page of genital warts pictures.

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120 Responses to Fordyce Spots or Genital Warts? How To Tell The Difference

  1. Scott says:

    One of the major differences among genital warts and Fordyce spots is the size issue. Fordyce spots are tiny bumps that are roughly the size of a pen head while genital warts, are much larger, and they take on a round shape on the surface of the skin.

    • Greg says:

      That’s true to an extent, but genital warts can ALSO be pretty small, especially in the beginning stages of growth. Fordyce spots can also vary in size too, which confuses guys even more. But yes fordyce spots are generally round in shape whereas genital warts can look a lot less “neat” and “orderly”

  2. Mike says:

    Good read thanks!
    I have these it’s not a big deal, very rarely I get a single large spot I pop them and it goes down in size next day.

    • alan says:

      @ Mike.. same here sometimes i will pop one of them and white stuff comes out, not liquid and not alot of it, kind of like paste? i dont know, but im glad to know is not std… right is not? cuase its normal they can be popped ?

      • Greg says:

        I’ve never talked to anyone who tried to pop fordyce spots before, so I’m not sure. I’ve never tried to do anything to mine except maybe when I was very young I remember poking at one with a needle or something. It hurt a little bit, but I never did it with enough force to do any damage. I suspect it would bleed a little if I tried.

      • Eman says:

        Yeah thats what i do to mine
        Its normal

  3. Christian says:

    I have the spots on the underneath part of my penis to but I also have a little group of them on the bottom of my foreskin when I pull it back (uncircumcised) is that the same or something different I’m freaking out!

    • Greg says:

      That’s probably the same. Fordyce spots can also cause some little spots/bumps/discolorations to appear under the penis head when you pull back the foreskin. If it’s what I’m thinking about, I have those too but they appear as very tiny, lightly colored spots. Barely noticeable unless someone knows what they’re looking at.

  4. Vishal says:

    Yes, i know these fordyce spots are harmless but they can be reduced. i had them 10 years ago. Best home remedy to remove it is to use the combination of oils found in himalaya anti dandruff hair oil (price 120 indian rupees) contains these ingredients. Mine were gone in a week.

  5. nick says:

    how long can you have them for cuz ive had them for maybe 2 years but not really noticible but im 17 now and they are a little more noticible. like they dont bother me physically. but they just piss me off cuz girls nowadays will freak out and say you have an std. and ive actually never had sex. so how long and is there a way to make them go away

    • Greg says:

      I’ve had a mild case of fordyce spots ever since I was very young. It’s never really been a big deal and no one has ever noticed it. I think the idea that girls will freak out and think you have an STD is more in our heads as guys than actual reality. Most girls have not seen enough guys to really know what things are “supposed” to look like. And since about 30% of guys have fordyce spots, then that’s enough to make it normal enough, in my opinion.

      • jake says:

        man thanks alot i noticed them about 2 months ago 1m 17 and didnt rele think muck of them at first untell i started thinking about them …i started trippin out ..thanks so much now i dont have to worry so much lol thanks !

  6. Justin says:

    I have them about halfway up my shaft and around must of my scrotum… Is that bad? I’ve never had sex and only 15

    • Greg says:

      Fordyce spots are not related to sex, they’re just little glans under the skin that have decided to poke through and make little bump areas. If it’s fordyce spots there’s nothing bad about them.

    • mikey says:

      dude im 15 and noticed them awhile ago and was freaking out think i had like herpes or somthin then i researcher and found this..this takes a big load of my back

  7. Jesse says:

    I popped one fordyce spot on the base of my penis a long time ago and some scar tissue had formed over it and it became quite large. The worst part is, is that there is a hair follicle within it and its almost like a ball underneath my skin. It doesn’t like bother me or cause irritation. Just makes me self concious and want to pick at it. Any suggestions besides doctor? lol

  8. John says:

    Hey Jesse, i did that to mine to man, like maybe when i was 16, im 20 now and and its left a scar, and the one that i did it to is significantly larger than the rest, and i can always pop it, i know i shouldn’t, but right before i have sex i pop it, since it goes down in size, next day shes back up bigger than ever aha, im not even worried about these anymore, ive had sex alot in my time with them, girls have given me head and not a single person has ever realized, ive now had a girlfriend for the past 9 months and she has never noticed. I then mentioned it to her one time just in case she did notice, i searched it online with her, and she looked closely and said, wow i didnt even see those, and shrugged it off. I mean if girls were more educated that this happens to 30% – 50% of guys, and its not a disease, i think us guys would be alot more confident and not embaressed about them. haha but bottom line is guys, dont worry.

    • Jesse says:

      The Thing is, is that im worried because it seems that there is like a cluster now of them, 4 larger ones that dont even really have puss in them. Its just raised skin. But im worried about the reaction i would get from a girl over them because im pretty sure they would resemble herpes. and Im pretty positive they arent.

  9. Michael Gordol says:

    Can some fordyce spots be more raised and slightly harder or dryer than others? Possibly from constant squeezing of them? I have a couple only about 1mm amongst all the others which seem abit bigger and bit confused they are same size and shape so i think i may be worrying abit too much but not sure? Going to go doctors when i get time anyway

    • Greg says:

      Hi Michael,

      To the best of my knowledge yes, some fordyce spots can be raised/harder more than others. I don’t really know the long term effects of squeezing them.

  10. Michael Gordol says:

    Thanks Greg, yeah it seems almost kind of like a Pearly Penile Papule but you can’t get them on the outter skin only on glands I heard? it’s the same size as all the others fordyce spots though, maybe a tiny sebaceous cyst? but its’ impossible to pop anyway. It literally is 1mm big and is the same shape and size as the other fordyce spot just a little bit more raised, prob abit of scar tissue over it and like i said it has been there a while not sure quite how long and never been a problem so I think I just need to chill out a bit.

  11. Mitch mugling says:

    oh man thanks for this ! aha i was freaking out thinking I had an STI I am 15 and have had sex with a couple different partners and i was loosing my mind thank you soo much

  12. luke says:

    I’ve been reading these comments and have cheered me up abit as I was worried about them. I’m 14 and I’ve had fordyce spots quite a while now , I’ve squeezed 1 and it hasn’t popped and is only getting abit bigger :(. Its the biggest one I’ve got and the rest are under the head of my penis as I pull back my foreskin. Has anyone got anyways to cover these up cause I’m embarrassed or any ways to reduce them? Comment back asap please and also I haven’t had sexual intercourse yet

    • Mano says:

      Hey guys.. I’ve had these for as long at least 5-7 years, before I was sexually active.. I’m 20 now and I’ve had sexual intercourse with 10 partners. Recently I’ve found out that a past partner has genital warts and I’m scared to death. Our sexual encounter occurred 8 months ago and I used protection with her. This makes me very happy that other guys experience this… I’m probably going to get tested later today.. Is there anyway genital warts could look like these? I’m so nervous guys, because I’ve had sex with a new partner and I will feel awful if I passed it to her. Thanks.

  13. Nickk says:

    Can they be yellowish? Like a light color? Mine are all small and don’t hurt or anything and I also don’t have many but I’ve had them for a while now like years they just started to get a little worse here within the past month and it freaked me out a bit, it’s mostly just the base and a little towards the middle, and they are all on the side of my penis! It’s killin me I need answers

    • Greg says:

      Yes fordyce spots can be a light color especially if you’re stretching the skin to one side in order to examine the area better.

  14. Todd says:

    every now and than i freak about it,normally after sex lol (which would be to late) i went to a doctor once(reallly awkward)but he said the sam,theres tiny ones forming like around (the mushroom lip) guess thats ok? i hope

    • Greg says:

      Yeah they can form around that area, and especially penile papules too. Penile papules can form on the underside of the head, usually in little groups of 2 or 3 on each side.

  15. Dan says:

    Yeah, I’ve had Fordyce Spots ever since I went through puberty when I was around 11 or 12, maybe? I’m 21 now and I’ve noticed that a few more have formed around the base and up the sides a bit. I was very self conscious at first and scared girls would be grossed out by it. But in most cases you’re the only one that’s going to notice you have them. I have had sex and have gotten head and the girls have never noticed. Also, keep in mind, if the girl cares enough about you they won’t care, especially if they’re not that noticeable in the first place. It’s mostly in our heads like people have stated above. I’m trying to be as optimistic as I can about these things because I’ve been very self conscious about them for the past year. Hopefully they lessen as time goes on. Good luck to all you guys, I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.

  16. Joseph says:

    Mine have gotten a bit worse this past year. They started to form more around the sides and up the underside of my penis. Is this normal? Can they just all of the sudden start popping up different places like HPV or something? I’m just really scared it’s an STD. Can stress or depression trigger more fordyce spots or anything like that? Help.

    • Greg says:

      Yes they usually form around the sides and up the underside of the penis. People like Dan (commenter on this post) and myself have had them since we were very young, but there are some guys who get them all of a sudden later in life.

  17. Stan says:

    i have a few small clusters on my foreskin when i pull it back and i noticed them when i was 12, im now 20, is it normal for fordyce spots to be in clusters? could i have been born with warts if they are?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Stan,

      Yes fordyce spots can form in clusters but they aren’t really like the same kinds of clusters as genital warts can form. The genital warts clusters often appear grouped together tightly and touching each other, whereas fordyce spot clusters are close together but not necessarily touching (kindof in little rows like how your hair follicles are aligned.)

      • Stan says:

        I can only see the bumps when I pull my foreskin back and are really small, my questions are 1, can you be born or develop warts without any intimate contact? And 2, can fordyce spots grow just on the foreskin?

        • Greg says:

          Yes skin colored bumps can form on the foreskin, but if you’re really unsure what it is the best thing is to go to a dermatologist. People can get warts without intimate contact, but those kind are not classified under what most people consider “genital warts” even if they happen to be around the right area. There many types of HPV and some are spread in different ways. From what you said, I really doubt you have warts.

  18. D says:

    I’ve had fordyce spots since i was 16 and I’m 23 now. i was always self-conscious about them. i never knew where they came from or what they really were until i did some research on them. still to this day i am embarrassed by them. i don’t want girls to get the wrong idea and think i have an STD. At first i was scared to go to the doctor and see what they really were. Over time I’ve build up enough courage and when to the doctor to see what they were. i was so relieved when she said that they were fordyce spots and not an STD, and that some males just randomly get fordyce spots. but still i am kind of embarrassed for the simple fact that if a girl do see them, i’m going to have to go in detail and try to convince her that its not an STD.

  19. Kelsey says:

    I just recently had sex with my boyfriend & he had these bumps on his testicles. They were yellowish/ whiteish. They were a little big but there were not many. Also, there was one that was probably the size of two of them right below his tip. Maybe a count of twenty altogether. Should I be worried as if they are genital herpes or just fordyce bumps?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Kelsey,

      Keep in mind that genital herpes and genital warts are two totally different things. Herpes usually appear as painful red blisters. Warts are like the many photos I have here on my site’s picture page. And fordyce bumps are like these photos – skin colored bumps that kinda look like goose pimples. Bumps can form on the testicles that are harmless, but I would be a little more concerned with the one you said was below the tip.

  20. Robert says:

    I think I have fordyce spots. They grow much is the way described, and look exactly like the pictures. There has always been a small cluster near the tip, but still on the skin on the underside of the shaft. But today I recently noticed a second, smaller cluster on the top side of the shaft.

    Is that normal behavior? Sort of just popping up? In clusters that is.
    They’re very small currently, and can barely be seen, but Im sure they will grow.

    The ones on the bottom are not quite uniform, but they have not changed since I remember having them. Thank you for any help.

  21. Melissa says:

    Was told by a lady at a clinic(was being treated for yeast) that I had what looked suspicious of GW around the anus. I’m 31 and a married mother of 3. I’ve had paps done in 06, 08, and just recently this yr, I had 2 since I switched dr’s during in my preg. and all paps came back normal. I dont understand these “bumps” I dont know how long they have been there seeing as I do not look down yonder. Anyway I started freaking out, looking all over the internet at GW pictures and I have yet to find any pics that resemble what I have. I know everyone can be different but the ONLY thing I have seen that looks like what I have is here on this site:

    I have an app with my gyno soon an I’m hoping he’ll look at these spots good before just saying yes, its GW, which I;m hoping its not. What scares me the most is HPV of course. I keep thinking, if this is GW then I haven’t kicked the HPV and now I’m in my 30’s! πŸ™ I’ve read and tried informing myself about GW and HPV and at times I feel at ease then at others I start freaking out pretty bad.

  22. Ryan says:

    I have really noticed some spots around my shaft and a little bit on the top side of my penis since about april. never really noticed anything before that…i got worried that it was an std but im thinking it is for sure fordyce. the bumps i have are exactly as they are described here and i do not worry that its herpes because people say that its super painful. although i do have the occasional itching down there im concerned. is itching part of fordyce? and my bumps come and go…is that normal too? thanks and im glad this site exists.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Ryan,

      No, itching is not part of having fordyce spots, although a lot of guys (including myself) sometimes have itching down there for no real reason. Its just a little itch and then it goes away when you scratch it, nothing serious. If you have a more serious itch it could be a sign of something else. And fordyce spots, to the best of my knowledge, do not come and go. The ones I have came, and have never gone away although they are a lot less noticeable nowadays than they used to be.

  23. Rashid says:

    I have fordyce spots till now. I think it is quite easy to differentiate genital warts from fordyce spots. The latter look like mere goosebumps on the underside skin of my penis while from what I have read on some comments on a forum, genital warts look like a cauliflower when they start appearing near each other. Since I really wanted to be sure if what I have are genital warts or fordyce spots, my wife told me to go ahead and get your report. For me your treatment turned the genital warts into whitish bumps and eventually into black. Then they went away. So I was the happiest husband on earth when no change of color happened to the little ‘goosebumps’ on my penis’ skin!

  24. Greg says:

    I have alot of very tiny bumps all over my foreskin of my penis shaft and 3 of them a little bigger than the rest. With reading all this comments im really praying it would be fordyce spots and not something real serious. I also have them on my left and right corner of my lips. Can i get some advice please?

  25. Kayrom says:

    Hey guys, I’ve had fordyce spots as long as I can remember and was always freaking out about what a girl would think if she saw them. I was always too embarrassed to go to my parents about it so I had no idea what they were until about a week ago. And now that I think back about how relieved I was after everytime I got laid that the girl didnt say anything, I feel dumb cuz girls actually don’t notice at all. I’m 18 now and just wanted to let younger guys now that they have nothing to worry about. Even if a girl does ask, tell them to go fuckin google it, girls doubt themselves enough as it is haha. Cheers guys

  26. Jed says:

    You all have just saved my life! I have noticed in the last yr the spots and was worried they were worts!! So i did to checking on the web and found all the pics and info that matches mine! Thank you all soo very much!

  27. David says:

    will this pass on to my partner when we have sex? i need to no, i was freaking out last year when i had no idea what fordyce was tell i looked it up.

  28. James Liang says:

    Im 17 and never had any sexual contact before and a few days ago i realized i had a small white itchy thing on the bottom of my penis, it looks like a pimple zit except its not red around it and doesn’t look pop able it kind of looks like a shape of a sesame on a big mac. When i touch it, it just itches. Is this normal and will go away what can it possibly be?thanks

    • Greg says:

      Hi James,

      That is a penile papule. They only itch when they’re first forming and then after that you don’t feel anything at all. Penile papules are normal in a lot of guys, so don’t worry too much about it.

  29. James Liang says:

    TY for the reply. The thing is when i search up pictures of penile Papule its usually on the head of the penis and thers alot but mine is only one on the bottom of the penis?

    • Greg says:

      Yes you’re right, they usually form around the rim of the head. I have pictures of that on my picture page but I was not able to find any good pictures (so far) of how they can form on the underside. They don’t tend to form in great number there, but it is certainly possible. I have 4 (two on each side) and they’re spaced kinda symmetrically.

  30. andrew says:

    Hi Greg is it normal to have a tiny black spot on my penis that’s not a bump and i can not feel it?

  31. Adam says:

    For as long as I can remember I’ve had Fordyce on my outer foreskin and on my lips. But about a year ago I started to develop them under my foreskin (only visible when I pull the foreskin all the way back, and only one cluster). The ones on the outer foreskin don’t bug me because they are the same color as my skin but the cluster on the inner foreskin REALLY makes me self-conscious because it’s much more apparent. What I have looks like this but not as severe, just one cluster and then smaller barely noticeable bumps on the bottom:

    My question is, will it get bigger and bigger and spread all over like on that photo? I’m already extremely self-conscious as it is and if it gets worse it’ll just be devastating. I’ve only had one sexual partner (only oral sex) and have pretty much avoided dating/sex because of it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Adam,

      Wow, I’ve never seen fordyce spots look quite that extreme in a picture before. I’ve not known them to cluster up like that – most of the ones I’ve seen (on myself and finding photos for research) are where they are spaced out and neatly arranged in rows similar to how hair follicles are. So to answer your question, in a more severe case like that I’m not sure how they would behave. On most people they seem to reach a certain point pretty fast and then just stop growing.

    • Justin says:

      Hi greg and hi adam who posted on September. 23 2011. Hope to get in contact with adam if u can help me greg ?so I can share my story with him and find out stuff about it.for a couple of months I’ve been dealing with the same situation one in particular with the odd look of fordyce on that are like in pic but less amount not as much but looks very similar and also located under foreskin wen pulled down. Many tiny bumps . I went to urologist and to dermatologist urologist suspected bacterial cream and pills didn’t work dermatologist said it was not warts but pearly penile papules .still not convinced since bumps were located underneath foreskin unusual for ppp when searched through internet pics etc I asked on another visit to same dermatologist for a biopsy so he sent to pathologist results came back as normal fordyce spot normal. So I assume that’s the right diagnosis I hope so. but yea I looked deep into pics and there are a couple pages describing fordyce spot similar to this over the internet but at first I couldn’t find any nor did I ever found pics that look like this sayin it was warts. So I hope I finally have right diagnosis. I’m still in doubt idk if I can ever have peace of mind I wish there was 100% test. What do u think about this pic that adam showed u do u know anyone who can confirm this .and please see if I can get in touch with adam since he’s the only one to seem to have similar thing I wanna know how he confirmed it and if he also got biopsy. Besides this I also noticed tinier dots salt like dots during this same time when I saw the bigger ones I showed to doc but said it the same but we did not remove biopsy from there just the more visible ones. I’m so confused and lost I feel ill never have peace of mind. I never remember seeing these I only checked myself thoroughly next day after possible exposure with a sexual encounter that’s why I’m so worried even after been checked and still doubtful about diagnosis. should I be

      • Greg says:

        As the owner of the site, I have to protect people’s privacy who post comments so that others will feel safe posting here in the future. That’s also why I changed your name as you requested to me privately because you didn’t want your real name on the post. Some people are OK with that and some are not, so I do my best to make sure we can talk about this stuff without making anyone uncomfortable.

        As for your diagnosis, it sounds like you’ve already been through a lot and everyone is basically telling you that is OK. I’d be inclined to believe that, especially since you’ve had multiple exams.

        • justin says:

          Thanks for your reply Greg. Yea these past few months have been so hard for me. Every since I had sex with someone I shouldn’t have that idk if they have stds or not,cause let’s just say they sleep around so idk if they do or ever since I’ve been so wooried and the day after I checked down there and saw these tine bumps when I pulled my foreskin down and I would have sworn I never saw those before I even think I checked myself the same day of encounter and saw nothin.u see this I why I’m so stressed so doubtfull and negative. πŸ™ althought these exams or checks I’ve done said I don’t. And since I read so much on the internet I’m so without peace. I just wana know for sure. I think I should go to a second dermatologist just to be sure but then again wat if they are all wrong and missdiagnose u see I really believe I didn’t have that prior to the encounter with that person. It was the wrong choice ,I. Only slept with two people before that I was just so meessed up in the head with dealing with a current relationship that was bad and I acted stupedly in vengence and also need . That’s besides the point but wat do u recomend I do to be at peace is there anywere I can go any 100% method? Or can I just try gw product solutions or ur solution just to see if they go away and if they do would that prove they were warts all along? And if I don’t have gw is there a harm in trying gw remedies that can hamr me if I don’treally have gw. Thanks in advance

          • Greg says:

            Hi Justin,

            Wow sorry about that, I really don’t know how this comment got lost for so long – I get a lot of junk on here so its hard for me to keep everything sorted out between “good, real” comments and fake ones. Anyway, I can’t speak for other treatments in general, but I do know there are a lot of people who get my report just to use the methods as a test to see if their bumps go away or not. If they are warts, there should be a reaction within 10 days or so. But if you put the treatments on normal skin (like on your arm or something) it doesn’t do anything except dry up and wipe off. So it can be useful as a test and most likely they will go away if they’re warts or wart-related.

            Thank you,

  32. Adam says:

    Yeah, I’m hoping it’s just a really severe/extreme and rare case. Like I said I only have one small cluster (and it is Fordyce, I have been diagnosed) that hasn’t changed in over a year and was just stressed looking at these photos thinking I might end up like that in due time. I guess searching for images on Google can do quite a number on your psyche. Thanks for your reply.

  33. Tim says:

    I have had these since 15 myself, and im 24 now. Not until just now, seeing the pictures have i come to realize the circumstances of the situation, i thought for a long time that i had an s.t.i. or something. Glad to know that it wasnt after being tested and reading these posts and viewing these pictures. However, one thing that i havent seen mentioned is how annoying it really is…I myself have had to always tip toe around the oral sex situations my whole life. I know for a fact that if i ever let a girl go down there with her mouth, she would sure to freak out, instantly thinking i have genital warts or something.
    I would like to know if there is anything that can be done, or at least slightly help the situation? Or am i forever doomed to being oblivious on what orall sex would ever feel like?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Tim,

      I don’t think you’re “doomed” or anything close to that. I get emails from time to time from guys who thank me for this page showing the difference and some of those guys mention how girls never know the difference anyway. My experience has been the same. One time I even explained them to a girl and she just said “Oh ok” and that was that. If they really have a problem with it (which would be silly) then tell them to look it up for themselves and they’ll see the truth.

  34. Will says:

    Hi there Greg, I think you’re doing a brilliant job.
    When reading through your replies to people, I am partly relieved, though also still very unsure as to what I have as it doesn’t quite sound like anything described- I’m worried I may have GW- they are how PPP are described, being little light coloured lumps- though these are grouped in a cluster and are just under the head- NOT on the crown in rows as often described as PPP.
    Theres a cluster of perhaps 5 on each side near the front of the penis, under the foreskin and close to the ‘groove’ just below the crown. There’s also a couple of single faint ones further around, below the head.
    They seem to be at their worst now, with more in the clusters than before, however they sometimes seem to fade and come back every now and then.
    Along with that (these sometime completely vanish), I have some tiny red dots all over the head, which don’t seem to be raised.
    I would love to go and see a doctor about it, though unfortunately the country I’m in at the moment won’t allow it, I hope you understand.
    Is there any way of taking a photo to send, would it be appropriate?
    Many thanks- I’m early 20s, and have had regular protected sex with multiple partners in the past year. I also got the all clear from a clinic check about 2 months ago.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks Will, I appreciate the feedback. I think I know what you’re talking about when you mention these PPP-like bumps under the head, 5 on each side. This sounds a lot like what I have in the same location, except I have 2 small ones on each side. They seem to be rather symmetrical with each other, which is why it never really bothered me when I was younger. Later on I found out these were just papules in a different location. They might be the same for you, but if you want to know for certain, it would be a good idea to get it checked out anyway.

      As for the red spots, I’m not sure about that. In the few cases I’ve gotten red spots it was because the area needed to be washed more thoroughly (like if I was out of town and didn’t have access to shower or bathe like I would normally)

  35. Matt says:

    I have some white spots around my foreskin, their white and are all different shapes but realitvly the same size (size of a ball of a pen) and go up in lines vertically with lots in a line, when i try to pop one it hurts like hell and there is a layer of skin in front rather then it poking out like a pimple. I’v had them for a long time and i am only 15 and a virgin. Do you know what it might be? Im freaken out!

    • Greg says:

      Hi Matt,

      Don’t pop those – that’s only hurting yourself needlessly. If they happen to be penile papules (which can form in a few areas other than the rim of the head) then they’re just glans that have poked through the skin and you shouldn’t mess with them. Since you said you haven’t had any sexual contact, it’s even more likely this may be what they are. Of course I can’t say for certain, but this is just my personal opinion based on what you said.

  36. Drew says:

    Iv had them for a few months now and im 18 going on 19, they poped up out of nowhere and i was like wtf!!!! i just said owell cause they didnt really look like genetal warts but its been on my mind and i was looking at pics of genetal warts and saw fordyce spots and they look exactly like what i have. They are on the shaft sides and top, im not to worried about it but iv been kinda scared to have sex or anything like that because i dont want to freak any girls out. So im in a screwed up situaion because i dont want to point them out to girls and try to explain to them what they are. But i want to thank you greg! your information helped take alot off of my mind. Have a good one.

  37. joe says:

    Hey greg , ive had fordyce since a year ago im 20 now, it looks like i have a little fordyce on my stomach and a little bit on my chest not a lot just a few clusters can thiis be possible?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Joe,

      I’ve heard of fordyce bumps forming around the eyes and mouth, but the stomach and chest would be new to me. That doesn’t mean its not possible, it just means I’ve not seen any photos of it in those locations.

  38. Jamie says:

    I’ve got these, had them since I was about 12. BUT at the moment I have 1 that’s really hard and about 3 times the size as the others. And the same as other people I’ve popped some from time to time. Also, I seem to have them on my sack aswell, does anyone else? And the ones around the rim on your helmet are called papules if I’m right? Unfortunately from my own diagnosis I have both, but hey could be wrong just haven’t got no one to show and find out. Could be warts for all I know. I’ve had 3 sexual active partners luckily they were all virgins before I came along but only my recent girlfriend who I’m with now has noticed these and it’s conpletley put me off sex and masturbation. Help anyone? lol

    • Greg says:

      Hi Jamie,

      Yes fordyce bumps can form in the scrotum area too. And yes the little white bumps around the head of the penis are called penile papules or pearly penile papules (some people say PPP for short)

  39. Matt says:

    You seem really educated about these things. I’m 16 and I’ve had sex with 2 different people, one was almost a year ago and the other has been recent. I have had these “fordyce bumps” ever since I can remember, but just tonight I discovered a few larger bumps around the middle of my penis I’m not really quite sure how many or whether it was just one larger one. When I found it I got scared and wasn’t sure whether it was the same thing or not. I tried popping it and a little bit of clear liquid came out but otherwise it just got bigger. I’m still scared of what it could be so if you could respond with some good news that might help?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Matt,

      It wasn’t fordyce bumps because as far as I know, if you try to pop those, there will be pain and some blood (and for anyone else reading, it is definitely NOT a good idea to pop your fordyce spots) Since you said clear liquid came out, that’s more difficult. Usually warts are “dry” and don’t have that sort of thing in them, but in a few cases where they look like pimples I’ve heard of something coming out, but no one ever told me if it was clear. Bottom line is I can’t say for sure. Other than a visual exam or tissue sample at a dermatologist, or comparing photos online, the only other way I know of to test is to soak the area in some white vinegar for a few minutes and see if anything turns white. Either the bump itself or a patch of skin. This isn’t foolproof but sometimes it can detect warts.

  40. Mark says:

    Prettu sure it’s just fodyce spot, I have them for sure but maybe I was 16 sexually active already and I had a what seemed like a pimple on the base of my shaft. I popped it and it was an awkward white paste maybe? Didn’t really want to come off. Ive had it maybe 5 or 6 times since then and I’m 22 now. Can they become bigge like a pimple?

  41. Ryan says:

    I am curious if Forcyde bumps will turn white with vinegar? Reason I ask is because the area I was worried about did not turn any color. However the forcyde spots turned white, I know there not warts being they have been there for way before I could remember and my gf gets screened annually and never had any issues. Just curious if any has had this happen too? I know vinegar isn’t a full proof test, and I’ve been told that not just warts will show up white.

  42. mike says:

    these are ectopic subaciouse glands. one way to know the difference is, fordyce spots usually appear around puberty and it is also on your lips.

  43. John says:

    I’ve had fordyce bumps since the age of 15, I’m now 24. Does anyone know of a natural remedy or clinical remedy that can make them go away. I know they are glands on my penis, but they pretty much resemble a pimple because when you squeeze them, sometimes a pus like substance or hard blackhead type thing comes out from them. Has anyone else noticed this? Has anyone had success getting rid of them?

  44. Brad says:

    nice site, i remember when i first researched into fordyce spots and the relief i felt when i realised it was normal, that was a couple of years ago and i still have them. i did have a sexual partner a few months ago and she never noticed. but 3 or 4 individual spots have since got bigger ( noticably) and a couple have scarred, albeit down to me popping them (regrettbly!!)

    one spot in particular is considerably larger than the rest, appears to be almost a white ball-bearing under the skin that i cannot budge, i know i shouldnt but i do pop it every couple of days, which makes absolutely no differance but curiosity gets the better of me every time.

    i recently bought this anti-sebum cleanser for about Β£10 from boots and have been using it, havent noticed a differance yet, but i havent really been applying it often enough.

    just wondering if anyone else has popped or messed about with the same spot causing it to enlarge and has actually managed to get rid of it? if so help ?

  45. Joe says:

    Hi personally i found this as a great relief i was just woundering is it not common to get it round the scrotum area? and quite large amounts on the skin near the head?

    • Joe says:

      never mind. I didn’t see the comment some one else wrote of basically the same thing sorry. by the way thanks this has been a great confidence boost in my self not having too worry.

  46. stan says:

    ive had what i think is fordyce there all what everyone desribes but i have what looks kinda like little holes on the underside of my penis wen i stretch it back the only thing i casn think of is scars that havee been left behind. it looks like a round area of missing skin. and then directly behind all of these or most of them is a fordyce spot. almost as if the spot has been pulling at the skin. also it appears to have created strech marks

    • Greg says:

      Hi Stan,

      Yes I think I know what you’re referring to when you say “stretch marks” – some of my own fordyce spots have this look to them in certain places and it is completely normal.

  47. Larry says:

    I was wondering because a couple days ago I had like a puffy skin spot on my penis now it’s still puffy but now it’s red with like 4 or 5 tiny white spots on the red puffy skin and I know it’s no form or pimple. Is this at all normal or no?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Larry,

      No, that is not normal in my opinion. Fordyce spots can appear as “goose bump” looking things, or kinda like grooves in the skin, but I’ve not heard of red puffy areas like that.

  48. Kurt says:

    I think i have fordyce spots but ive had sex with a girl that swears she caught something from me? are they transferrable or is it possible i have something like hpv with no visible symptoms?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Kurt,

      If they’re fordyce spots (and everything I’m saying here assumes you are right), then you definitely didn’t give them to her. They’re basically just bumps from raised glans under the skin and cannot be spread. Even if she had female fordyce spots, it’s just a coincidence that she notices them now, because they don’t spread from person to person like that.

  49. Kyle Ben says:

    Hey Greg, thanks for all of the good information. I can tell this is a message board filled with people feeling relief. Ive had fordyce spots since i was probably 12 yrs old. I have been in numerous relationships and have had open conversations about them. None of the girls ive dated noticed them, even during oral and close contact until recently. I was fooling around with a new girl I started dating and I asked her if everything was ok, and she said “No, I can feel bumps on your penis?” It was the most akward explanation and I don’t think she believed me. The embarrasment leads me to ask, is there anything I can do about them?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Kyle,

      The best solution I know to her not believing you is to tell her to Google it, or just take her to this page and show her the pictures. They’re quite common.

  50. EV62 says:

    Hey, I’ve had fordyce spots for quite a while and never been really worried about them since I knew what they were. But some have been growing and turning zit/pimple looking, which is really worrying me. I haven’t read anywhere that this is possible. I’m a 16 year old virgin male. Please help. :S

    • Greg says:

      Unless those are ingrown hairs causing the pimple-look, I don’t know. Since fordyce spots are often right with the hair follicle, it would be easy for an ingrown hair to cause them to look like this for awhile.

  51. Brian says:

    I occasionally have a spot that will dry out and almost unavoidably need to be popped. It will then turn red and inflame, it gets sore, but I do not believe it is an std because they are supposed to come in outbreaks and I have consistently had the white-ish goose-bump looking spots since the beginning of summer, approximately 6 months. the rest will be painless and no bid deal and they look like the pictures and I’m fine with those, but every once in awhile I will get one that will turn into that.

  52. jack says:

    can you have fordyce spots half way up your shaft and on your balls and im 15 and will they spread any more or just stay were they are

  53. nate says:

    hey there was reading all these posts and it sounds like what i got but im not sure. I have alot of goosebump like skin colored bumps on the shaft and on the head of my penis. I have only had sex with one girl and she has been tested and doenst have nothing. just wondering if you could give me some info. they have been there for awhile but have not gotten better or worse.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Nate,

      It sounds like fordyce spots the way you describe it, but also keep in mind that regular STD tests (like the kind they give at Planned Parenthood) don’t detect HPV – they will detect just about everything else except that because HPV lives in the skin, not the blood or fluids.

  54. Victor says:

    I have fordyce spots on my penis as well. I have one that has got bigger on the lower part of my penis. It has been that way for almost 2 weeks. I have way more spots on my testicles. Is that normal? I am 24 and was with the same women for 4 years. We recently broke up because she was having sex with another man. I am freaking out and will be getting checked out real soon. I was wondering if they are normal to be on my testicles as well. PLEASE get back with me. Thanks

    • Greg says:

      Yes, it is normal for fordyce bumps to form on the testicles. There are often more of them there than on the underside of the shaft.

  55. Will says:

    I have never been so glad to see a picture of a penis! I DON’T HAVE WARTS!

  56. Connor jones says:

    Hey this is very helpful as I have been worried about this for a little bit thankyou! But do they eventually go?

    • Greg says:

      Fordyce spots can reduce in size over time, but I’ve not heard of them ever clearing up completely. Mine are barely noticeable anymore but they’re still there.

  57. Mark says:

    Greg..Does fordyce spots always have to be by a hair follicle? I have about ten of them on my shaft more towards the middle not close to my hair.. Is this fordyce spots or something else

    • Greg says:

      Hi Mark,

      Be careful not to confuse fordyce spots with skin-colored warts that are forming in a cluster. I can’t say what you have, but I know that fordyce spots don’t have for form near hair follicles, it’s just that they normally appear to. But it’s also odd to have them form in a cluster in one spot and no where else – usually they are kindof evenly distributed along the shaft or on the testicles.

  58. ace says:

    Hey guys,

    two summers ago I went to the clinic n the doctor told me it was a yeast infection. 6 weeks ago I had oral sex performed on me. With a condom of course. I noticed a spot when I pulled on my foreskin. It doesn’t hurt. Doesn’t itch. Not irritated. It looks like my skin color. Its near a vein also. Is it just me or am I losing my mind?

    • Greg says:

      Male yeast infection is rare but when you get it, it can keep coming back at odd times until its treated (oddly enough, method 1 in my report is effective on male yeast infection). If this new spot doesn’t look anything like that, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. We guys get things that come and go down there quite often that have nothing to do with STD’s.

  59. Kelly says:

    I’m a girl and I do notice my boyfriends fordyce spots. Most penises I’ve seen have these. I have a few on my vulva. Fordyce spots are annoying and I hope one day my boyfriends will leave. He’s 20.

  60. ashok says:

    Hi Greg,

    I have some fordyce spots on my scrotum.. there are also some similar spots on the fore skin.. when i stretch my fore skin back i can see them clearly as some “clusters of spots” usually around 10 to 15 in a cluster…. but nothing on my penis… is it normal to have such clusters?

  61. R. S. says:

    Hi Greg. I am really happy you have this site up, because I have been worrying about these stupid things for so long. I have had them for a long time, and, I am a 16 year old male and I have not had intercourse. I was masturbating just a little while ago, and I have one that I have never noticed before that sticks out farther than the rest, and it makes me nervous, because me and my girlfriend are going to become sexually active soon. Please respond back? I’m freaking out!

    • Greg says:

      If you’ve never had sex before, then chances are you’re getting fordyce spots. Some guys get them really early on (like 12 or 13) but some guys get them later in their teens or sometimes throughout their 20’s. Fordyce spots and penile papules are two of the most common things guys mistake for warts and they freak out over needlessly πŸ™‚

  62. neal says:

    Can there just be one? I have a bump that doesn’t look at all lik a wart. Its flesh colored and painless. Its about the size of a pen tip.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Neal,

      Those tend to be generally OK – I’d just keep an eye on it and only get concerned if it changes or multiplies into a tight cluster. Fordyce bumps usually form in evenly spread out areas.

  63. Bill D. says:

    I’m worried that I may have a genital wart, but I’m hoping I have a fordyce spot(s)?? It’s a very small -whitish- bumps section on the top side of the shaft of my penis, very slightly raised and sort of looks like two bumps. It is very hard to distinguish, but sort of ‘flashes’ in the light and is noticeable when I look down at my penis. I started noticing it about 6-8 weeks ago. I’m SUPER freaked out about it possibly being the start of a genital wart, and the implications of spreading HPV/warts to my girlfriend. I wouldn’t be so concerned but I’ve been frequently getting “happy ending” hand jobs at massage parlors (stupid, I know). And it seems possible to get it that way. I saw a dermatologist last week, but he wanted me to wait until the redness (caused by my stressed out over-probing) goes away, which it has. Any thoughts?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Bill,

      In cases like this it’s really hard to tell. You did the right thing by going to the dermatologist – they should be able to tell now that the redness is down.

      • Bill D. says:

        Thanks Greg,
        I actually have since had a biopsy of that spot and the test was negative for high and low risk HPV. Which of course is really good news.

        However, my dermatologist said that it could have been a wart and that I might have squeezed the virus out of it. He also said the test is 90% accurate, and that I may have gotten it from my long term girlfriend because HPV can be dormant in men and women and may go undetected. Of course of all this is very disconcerting. Any thoughts about that? I’m looking to continue having unprotected sex with my long term partner, but I want to protect her health as well. Thx, Bill

  64. Ryan says:

    I have had fordyce spots for quite awhile now but recently there was one that looked a little inflamed and was red. Just one though. I am a little concerned that it could be HPV as I have had unprotected sex before. I’ve had it for about two weeks but its not spreading any where. I thought if it was warts, then I would have seen another one by now. Any thoughts? Can a fordyce spot become infected or irritated and do this?

  65. Tim says:

    i found this fordyce spot treatment Greg, what do you think?

    • Greg says:

      Hi Tim,

      I don’t know if that will work or not but if you’d like to try it and let me know that would be helpful!

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