Fatty deposits, also called xanthomas, are spots in which cholesterol has built up under your skin. Though the high blood cholesterol levels that have led to the development of the fatty deposits put you at risk for health problems, including heart disease, the deposits themselves are harmless. Xanthomas that cause you pain due to their location on your body or that cause you distress due to their appearance may be removable.
Treat underlying conditions that cause your blood cholesterol level to increase, including diabetes, gastric cancer and cirrhosis. According to the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, your xanthomas may resolve themselves once your cholesterol levels are back to normal.
Remove fatty deposits under your skin with topical acid solutions. The New Zealand Dermatological Society’s Dermnet NZ service explains that applying creams that contain trichloroacetic acid to the specified areas—under your doctor’s care only—can essentially burn off the fat that’s accumulated.
Get rid of xanthomas with laser treatments. The November 2001 issue of “Archives of Dermatology” reports that YAG lasers can be effective in removing large cholesterol bumps that alter your facial features. Frequent treatments over a period of months may be required.
Ask your doctor if you are an appropriate candidate for surgical excision to remove your fatty deposits. Surgery, as well as laser treatments, can be short-term solutions, as xanthomas have a tendency to grow back.
Follow a low-fat diet and participate in regular exercise in an effort to control your cholesterol levels. Fatty deposits may dissolve as your cholesterol decreases; readings in an acceptable range can also prevent new spots from forming. Your doctor may also prescribe statin medications to control your cholesterol levels.