Nevus Sebaceus

Nevus sebaceus is a common congenital lesion occurring mainly on the face and scalp. They are present at birth or within the first few months of life and become thickened and much more prominent during adolescence, secondary to hormonal influences. Males and females are affected equally. Rarely, nevus sebaceus is seen in association with neurologic, ocular, skeletal, and other internal organ abnormalities and is thus called “nevus sebaceus syndrome”.


Nevus sebaceus is yellowish-orange in color and often has a linear or oval appearance. They are usually on the face or scalp, although they can rarely be present on the neck, trunk, arms, or legs. Lesions on the scalp are often associated with thinned or absent hair in that area.

Treatment of nevus sebaceus is often not necessary, and these growths can be followed by your doctor to monitor for any changes. Surgical excision of nevus sebaceus is sometimes performed for cosmetic reasons or because various other growths can occur within these lesions. Rarely skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, can occur within nevus sebaceous. More commonly, benign growths, such as syringocystadenoma papilliferum and trichoblastoma can occur in a nevus sebaceous.

Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Rapini RP, et al. Benign Epidermal Tumors and Proliferations. In: Dermatology. Edinburgh: Elsevier; 2003: 1711-2.

Gregg Severs, D.O.
Department of Dermatology
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/Frankford Hospital
Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia.