Syringoma: Causes and Several Medical Approaches to Treat It

Syringoma: Causes and Several Medical Approaches to Treat It
Syringoma - Photo by Ed Uthman from Flickr
SHARE - Syringoma is a small benign tumor. It's easy to notice this existence since it is usually found on the upper cheeks or lower eyelids. Uncommonly, it may also occur on your chest, abdomen, or genitals.

These harmless growths result when the cells from your sweat glands are overactive. Syringoma usually develops in young and adult people but can also occur at any age.

Syringoma is relatively easy to treat but it often recurs after the treatment. The causes, how syringoma looks like, the diagnosis, and medical treatment will be explained completely in this article.

1. What causes Syringoma?

Syringomas can occur because of any activities that can increase sweat gland productivity. It may lead to the growth of the tumor.

Moreover, several circumstances can affect the sweat glands and the potential to develop the syringomas. Below are some conditions that can lead to the growth of syringomas

  • Genetics. You will likely experience syringomas if your parents or any relatives have them.
  • Down syndrome. A condition where people born with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome or called trisomy 21. This may cause physical or mental disabilities.
  • Diabetes Mellitus. a metabolic disease that can cause high blood sugar. The hormone insulin brings sugar from the blood into cells and is used for energy or to be stored.
  • Marfan syndrome. an inherited connective tissue disorder that affects normal body growth. Some obvious physical characteristics include having loose joints, large and flat feet, long fingers, being tall and lanky. People with down syndrome can have eruptive syringoma.
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It is also an inherited condition affecting connective tissue. The connective tissue itself is working to help to structure the skin, blood vessel, bones, and organ.

2. What Does Syringoma Look Like?

Syringoma - Photo by Andri Juliana from Flickr

Syringoma has 1 to 3 millimeters in diameter. It's normally small lumps with multiple skin colors. In some people with pigmented or dark skin, the syringoma may appear as a yellowish or pale bump.

People usually do not feel itchy or painful when they have syringoma. In addition, the syringoma is more likely to occur in women and frequently appear during or after their adolescence.

Commonly, it's located around the eye area. While chest and abdominal areas are also involved in the eruptive forms of syringoma.

3. Syringoma Diagnosis

Syringoma - Photo by Ed Uthman from Flickr

The diagnosis of syringoma can be done by people's appearance. The doctor will do a biopsy, examination of tissue remove from the living body.

It needs to exclude other possible similar kinds of tumors like trichodiscomas, trichoepitheliomas, basal cell cancers, as well as milia. Biopsies of syringomas detect comma-shaped swat ducts in the deep layers of people's skin.

4. Treatment of Syringoma

Syringoma - Photo by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Though syringoma is benign that do need to require treatment, it may be treated if it's disfiguring. Some people also do medical treatment because of cosmetics or appearance reasons.

The treatment aims to reduce the visibility of the tumor rather than remove it completely. It is reducing the risk of scarring. While the upper treatment of syringoma is reducing its size. But if the tissue removal is done deeply, it may result in scarring.

Moreover, people with darker skin types will have a greater risk of scarring. Thus, it is suggested to do small are treatments first before going to the larger area.

There are two options for syringoma treatment which are medication or surgery.


For this treatment, you can apply small drops of trichloroacetic acid to the area of syringoma. It can make the syringoma shrivel and fall off after several days.

In some conditions, the doctor also prescribed isotretinoin to be taken orally. They may suggest creams and ointments which you can find over the counter.

This used to increase the skin around the syringomas area. However, these treatment methods do not significantly affect the syringoma and not as effective as surgery.


Here are several different surgical methods to treat syringoma.

a. Laser treatment

This is the most common treatment preferred by many doctors since it lowers the risk of scarring. Fully ablative or fractional ablative devices including CO2 and erbium are used in this method. For people who have darker skin types, doctors may recommend erbium laser. 

While dermatologists prefer to combine fully ablative with fractional laser treatment and allow treatment to the deeper elements of syringoma. The fractional laser is usually used to treat the entire area around the eye.

If fractional laser treatment is used without a combination of a fully ablative laser, doctors need to do several treatments for the best result.

The healing ranges from 5 to 14 days. But in darker skin types, the hypo-pigmentation may happen and last for a few months.

b. Electrosurgery

This also commonly called diathermy. The treatment can be successful for very small lesions or those containing milia.

c. Cryotherapy

It is used to freeze the tumors. The treatment uses liquid nitrogen as the most common chemical procedure.

d. Excision

Excision is an excellent method for syringoma that localized to a small area. But, this treatment is not recommended for darker skin types because the pigment changes will occur and take months to resolve. While in fair skin types, scissor excision is working for protuberant lesions.


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