Have you ever noticed small, skin-coloured bumps around your eyes or neck and wondered what they were? Syringomas are benign growths that can cause concern for many individuals. In this blog post, we will deeply dive into the world of syringomas, exploring their causes and the various treatment options available. By the end of your journey, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of these seemingly mysterious skin growths and the tools to manage them effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Syringomas are benign growths often found around the eyes and neck, which require accurate diagnosis for proper treatment.
  • Treatment options include laser therapy, surgical excision, electrosurgery, cryotherapy and dermabrasion or chemical peels.
  • Post-treatment care is essential to successful removal with regular checkups recommended to minimize recurrence risk.

Understanding Syringomas

A close-up of a person's face with eruptive syringomas on the upper cheeks

Syringomas are benign growths from overactive sweat glands, most commonly found around the eyes and neck. These harmless growths can also appear on the armpits, genitalia, and abdomen. While syringomas can affect anyone, they are more prevalent among females, young adults, and individuals with certain health conditions such as Down syndrome or diabetes. In some cases, these growths can present as eruptive syringomas, a variant of the condition involving sweat ducts.

A variety of factors may contribute to the development of syringomas, including:

  • stress
  • exercise
  • high temperatures
  • certain medical conditions

Caucasian women and those of Japanese heritage between the ages of 25 and 40 are most likely to develop syringomas. Although syringomas are generally harmless, they can sometimes cause pain and itchiness, particularly when perspiring. It is worth noting that darker skin types may also develop syringomas, but the prevalence is higher among the mentioned demographics.

Identifying Syringomas

A person's face with skin colored bumps on the lower eyelids

Syringomas present as papules of 1-3mm in size. These are usually firm and vary in shade from skin-coloured to yellowish, brown or pink. They are typically found on the lower and upper eyelids, and upper cheeks, and around the mouth, chest, and limbs. Despite their relatively harmless nature, syringomas can be difficult to identify without a proper examination due to their close resemblance to other skin conditions.

Accurate identification of syringomas requires distinguishing them from similar-looking conditions such as milia, skin tags, and acneiform eruptions. For instance, syringomas tend to be flatter and more closely resemble the colour of the skin, whereas milia are typically rounder and paler. Correct identification paves the way for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Syringomas vs. Similar Skin Conditions

A person's face with small bumps on the skin's surface

Syringomas can easily be mistaken for other skin conditions, such as:

  • Sebaceous hyperplasia
  • Eccrine hidrocystoma
  • Eruptive xanthoma
  • Colloid milium
  • Trichoepithelioma

Accurate diagnosis is essential, as misidentification can lead to improper treatment and potentially exacerbate the condition. For example, angiofibroma, non-cancerous tumours that appear as small red bumps around the nose and cheeks, are associated with genetic conditions like tuberous sclerosis and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. Distinguishing syringomas from these conditions is crucial for effective management.

Differentiating syringomas from similar-looking skin conditions calls for a professional examination. In some cases, further tests, such as a skin biopsy or histopathology, may be required for a definitive diagnosis. Once syringomas are accurately identified, healthcare providers can formulate a personalized treatment plan that best suits the individual’s needs.

Diagnosing Syringomas

A person's face with small bumps on the skin

Diagnosing syringomas involves a visual examination and, if necessary, a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. During a biopsy, a specialist will remove a small skin sample and examine it under a microscope. Pathologists look for specific features to confirm a syringoma diagnosis, such as an unremarkable epidermis, the presence of tadpole or comma-shaped structures, and ductal cells with microvilli, desmosomes, luminal tonofilaments, and lysosomes.

Remember that a visual examination alone might not suffice for diagnosing syringomas due to their resemblance to other benign or malignant skin growths. Further tests like skin biopsy or histopathology may be necessary in such cases to verify the diagnosis and ensure proper treatment.

Treatment Options for Syringomas

Treatment options for syringomas vary depending on the severity and location of the growth. Some of the most common treatments include:

  • Laser treatment
  • Surgical excision
  • Electrosurgery
  • Cryotherapy
  • Dermabrasion
  • Chemical peels

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these treatment options, discussing their effectiveness and potential side effects.

Laser Treatment

An image showing the effectiveness of laser treatment for syringomas on the skin.

Laser treatment is preferred for syringoma removal due to its low risk of scarring and infection. Erbium YAG laser, CO2 laser, and fractional lasers are commonly employed in treating syringomas. While laser treatment may not eliminate syringomas in a single session, it can reduce 40% to 95% of syringomas, depending on the depth of the lesions.

Bear in mind that laser treatment, including laser resurfacing and laser surgery, can result in skin colour changes, particularly in Asian patients with darker skin. These changes may last between two to twelve weeks, depending on the depth of treatment. Despite this temporary side effect, laser therapy remains a popular choice for syringoma removal due to its effectiveness and minimal scarring risk.

Surgical Excision and Electrosurgery

Surgical excision, also known as surgical removal, and electrosurgery are effective methods for removing syringomas, but they may come with some risks and potential side effects. Surgical excision involves completely removing the lesion using surgical instruments, such as knives, scissors, or scalpels. Although effective, this method is more invasive and may result in scarring.

On the other hand, electrosurgery uses electrical currents to eliminate abnormal tissues and inhibit blood vessels. While this method is also effective in removing syringomas, potential side effects include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • hyperpigmentation
  • hypopigmentation
  • scarring
  • prolonged erythema
  • changes in the treated skin’s pigment

When selecting the most appropriate treatment option, weighing these risks and potential complications is vital.

Cryotherapy and Dermabrasion

Cryotherapy and dermabrasion are alternative methods for syringoma removal. Cryotherapy uses substances like liquid nitrogen to freeze off syringomas, while dermabrasion involves physically removing and evening out the top layers of the skin using a diamond-encrusted wheel or fine metal wire.

However, these methods may not be suitable for all cases. Dermabrasion, for example, may not be effective for deeper syringomas. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery considers a successful dermabrasion surgery if the targeted skin condition improves by at least 50 percent. This is deemed as a successful outcome of the surgery..

Discussing these alternative options with a healthcare professional is vital to deciding on the best action.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels, such as trichloroacetic acid, can remove syringomas but may not be suitable for all cases. Trichloroacetic acid is a topical medication employed to treat acne and diminish the visibility of syringomas. The chemical is applied to the affected area using a gauze applicator or cotton tips after the skin has been prepped with degreasing and disinfection.

While trichloroacetic acid can effectively treat syringomas, potential side effects include burning and stinging sensations immediately following treatment, however, these effects can be effectively managed, and chemical peels typically do not result in scarring or infection when conducted by a certified nurse or physician.

Post-Treatment Care and Recovery

A person's face after laser treatment for syringoma removal

Proper post-treatment care and recovery play a significant role in the success of syringoma removal. Steps to ensure a smooth healing include treating the area as an open wound, avoiding strenuous activities, and adhering to the healthcare provider’s instructions. Some aftercare products and topical creams can facilitate healing, such as bland moisturizers like Cetaphil cream or Aquaphor ointment, Fusidic acid cream for post-laser management, and topical medications that encourage tissue regeneration.

Typically, recovery after syringoma removal takes around one week.

Preventing Syringoma Recurrence

A person's face with no syringomas

Preventing syringoma recurrence may not be entirely possible due to genetic factors and other potential triggers. However, maintaining good skincare habits and regular check-ups can help manage their appearance and minimize the risk of recurrence. Some effective skincare practices include:

  • wearing sunscreen regularly
  • using natural skin tonics
  • exfoliating the skin regularly
  • ensuring good blood circulation

It is worth noting that there is currently no evidence to suggest that diet plays a direct role in syringoma occurrence or recurrence. Nevertheless, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can contribute to overall skin health and well-being.

When to Seek Professional Help

A person's face with pain on the body

Seeking professional help for syringomas is advisable if you experience discomfort, if they are present in multiple areas of your body, or if a treated area is not healing or oozes yellow liquid. An early intervention from a healthcare professional can alleviate any complications, like scarring or infection, arising from syringoma removal.

Remember, any new skin growth warrants a consultation with a dermatologist or another medical professional. Timely diagnosis and treatment can significantly impact the successful management of syringomas and other skin conditions that affect the skin’s surface.


In conclusion, syringomas are benign growths of sweat glands that can be challenging to identify and manage. Understanding their causes, appearance, and potential risk factors can help individuals make informed decisions about their treatment options. While various treatments are available, such as laser therapy, surgical excision, and chemical peels, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable approach.

By maintaining good skincare habits, seeking professional help when necessary, and following post-treatment care guidelines, individuals can effectively manage syringomas and minimize their impact on their lives. Remember, knowledge is power, and understanding syringomas is the first step towards taking control of your skin’s health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you treat a syringoma?

Treatments for syringomas include cryotherapy, excision, laser therapy, dermabrasion, and electrosurgery. Depending on the individual’s skin type, medications such as topical lotions or oral pills may also be prescribed. In some cases, surgical removal of the area may be the best option.

What triggers syringoma?

Syringoma is caused by an overgrowth of cells in sweat glands, known as the eccrine glands. These glands produce sweat when your body gets warm to cool down, resulting in syringoma.

What is a syringoma derived from?

Syringoma is a benign adnexal tumour derived from intraepidermal eccrine ducts, often found in women in early adulthood. It is believed to arise from either the eccrine or apocrine sweat glands and their tubular structure containing cuboidal epithelial cells active in thermoregulation and emotionally induced sweating.

How do you permanently remove syringoma?

The most effective way to permanently remove syringomas is through laser therapy, dermabrasion or surgical removal with a scalpel. These treatments offer the best chance of removing syringomas and restoring smoother skin.


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Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.

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