- Xanthelasma palpebrum is the most common type where soft, white/yellow, flat papules or plaques are found on the upper or lower eyelid (see image below).
- Eruptive xanthomas are crops of small (2–5 mm), red-yellow lumps over the buttocks, elbows, knees and shoulders. They may spread like a rash and can spread further to involve your limbs or mouth. They can be a sign of very high blood lipids and other underlying illness. They may go away on their own, or after treatment for the underlying cause, over a few weeks (see image below).
- Tendinous xanthomas develop in the skin over tendons and ligaments, eg, on the hands, Achilles tendon, elbows or feet. This is also associated with high blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia and/or high LDL levels.)
- Tuberous xanthomas are firm, painless red to yellow coloured lumps that can grow very round and large. They appear over pressure areas, eg, the knees, elbows, heels and buttocks. They are often associated with high cholesterol levels.
- Diffuse plane xanthomatosis involves flat papules or patches occurring anywhere on the body. When they are found around the fingers and toes, this is commonly a sign of familial high blood cholesterol (when it is genetic or runs in the family).
Image credit: DermNet NZ