What Causes Syringoma? Understanding Skin Growths

Have you noticed small, flesh-colored bumps around your eyes or neck? These could be syringomas, found in up to 1 in 3 people1. As someone who values glowing skin, I’ve battled these growths. Knowing what syringomas are can help us manage them, boosting our confidence.

Syringomas are tiny, firm skin bumps often yellow, brown, or skin-colored. They form in groups around the eyes, neck, and upper body. Although not harmful, they can cause shame or unease, prompting some to look for treatment.

Syringomas affect women more than men and often start in the third or fourth decade of life. They also run in families, suggesting a genetic link2. People of Asian descent tend to see them more frequently2.

Key Takeaways

  • Syringomas are benign skin growths caused by overactive sweat glands
  • They are more common in women and individuals of Asian descent
  • Syringomas often appear in clusters around the eyes, neck, and upper body
  • Understanding the causes and characteristics of syringomas is the first step in managing this skin condition
  • Seeking professional medical advice can help address any concerns or discomfort associated with syringomas

Introduction to Syringoma

Definition and Characteristics

Syringomas are small bumps on the skin. They aren’t cancerous. These growths form from sweat glands working too hard. They’re firm to the touch and usually 1-3 millimeters wide. You often see them in groups, and they can be yellow, brown, or match your skin color3. Normally, they show up near the eyes, on the neck, and upper body. But, they can also pop up in other spots4.

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Prevalence and Risk Factors

About 1 in 3 people get syringomas5. They’re seen more in women and those with Asian or dark skin4. These bumps might appear anytime but are more common during or after the teen years3. Certain genes, hormones, and health conditions make them more likely54.

“Syringomas are small benign tumors mostly found on the upper cheeks and lower eyelids, with the possibility of occurrence on the chest, abdomen, or genital area.”3

Syringoma Characteristics Details
Size 1-3 millimeters in diameter
Appearance Yellow, brown, or skin-colored bumps
Location Most common on eyes, neck, and upper body
Prevalence Affects up to 1 in 3 people
Risk Factors Gender, skin tone, genetics, hormones, underlying conditions

Anatomy of Sweat Glands

To understand syringomas, let’s look at sweat gland anatomy. These glands, named eccrine, help control body temperature. They transport sweat from the gland through the skin6.

Structure and Function

Sweat glands sit deep in the skin and have key parts. The gland’s secretory area makes sweat. This sweat moves through a duct to the skin’s surface6.

The sweat is a mix of water, salts, and other substances. It’s sterile and helps cool the body. The body can make a lot of this sweat when needed6.

Body Region Sweat Gland Density (per cm²)
Palm 370
Back of Hand 200
Forehead 175
Breast, Abdomen, Forearm 155
Back, Legs 60-80

The number of sweat glands changes across the body. For example, the palms have lots—about 370 per square centimeter7. The back and legs have fewer, about 60 to 80 per square centimeter7.

Different animals have special sweat glands too. For example, dogs and cats have apocrine glands. These release sweat where the hair meets the skin. Their eccrine glands, like ours, spread sweat on the skin7.

Knowing about sweat glands helps us understand syringomas. These are skin growths connected to issues in the sweat glands67.

What Causes Syringoma?

Syringoma is a skin condition where tiny, hard bumps form. It’s mainly due to sweat gland overactivity deep in the skin8. This happens when the sweat gland cells at the skin’s surface grow too much. This overreaction creates the distinct bumps known as syringoma8.

Overactive Sweat Glands

Various reasons can lead to these sweat gland issues. These include your genes and when your body’s hormones change. Some groups, like women of European descent aged 25 to 40 and Japanese heritage, are more likely to get syringomas8910.

Genetic and Hormonal Factors

The main causes of syringoma revolve around genetics and hormones. Genetic traits and changes in hormones play a big part in syringoma growth910. Sometimes, these bumps show up before adulthood, due to inherited genes910. Also, changes in hormones during puberty and as an adult can make these sweat glands work too hard, leading to syringoma9.

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“Syringomas are more common in women, and they are most frequently seen during or after adolescence. They are also more common in Asians and people with darker skin types.”10

Several things may boost the chances of having sweat glands go into overdrive and lead to syringomas. These include working out, feeling stressed, hot weather, having issues such as hyperthyroidism, genetic mutations, and taking certain anti-seizure drugs9.

Types of Syringoma

Syringoma is a well-known skin issue with two main types. These are localized syringoma and eruptive syringoma. Knowing the differences helps people with syringoma understand their condition. It also lets them look at the best treatment options.

Localized Syringoma

Around 1% of people have localized syringoma, making it quite common1. It shows up as little bumps that are flesh-colored or yellowish. These bumps are mostly found around the eyes, neck, and upper body3. They are small, about 1 to 3 millimeters, and don’t itch. They may appear like other skin problems3.

Eruptive Syringoma

Eruptive syringoma is less usual and affects about 20% of those with Down syndrome1. It looks like many small bumps on the skin, usually found on the chest, neck, and abdomen3. These can be itchy, red, and cause some discomfort3. This type is linked more to certain health issues, like Down syndrome5.

Most syringomas are harmless and don’t need to be treated. But, if they bother you or affect your looks, you might want to see a dermatologist. They can suggest treatments like laser removal or surgery. This could help based on your situation3.

“Syringoma is a common skin condition that affects many individuals, with localized and eruptive forms presenting distinct characteristics and potential associations with underlying health conditions.”


Symptoms and Appearance

Syringomas appear as small bumps11. They are firm and usually 1-3 mm wide. These bumps are skin-colored, yellow, or brown, and often come in groups11. They mainly show up near the eyes, on the neck, and the upper part of the body12.

Typically, syringomas don’t have any symptoms and are not harmful. But, those with eruptive syringomas might feel itchy, see redness, and feel pain when they sweat13. Often, they are linked to other health problems such as Down syndrome, Brooke-Spiegler syndrome, and diabetes mellitus11.

There are various types of syringomas. These include eruptive, Down syndrome-related, and those linked to certain mutations11. They are located deep in the skin, which makes them hard to treat. Sometimes, the treatments aren’t fully successful, and syringomas might come back11.

Dealing with syringomas might mean using different treatment options. These can include surgery, special skin treatments, and certain medications11. Healing well after treatment and caring for your skin regularly are important. This can reduce both the look and the return of syringomas12.

If you’re worried about syringomas, talking to a doctor is a good idea. Getting help early can improve the outcome. It can also help address any other health problems that might be linked to the syringomas12.

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Associated Conditions and Risk Factors

Syringomas are often seen as harmless, but some health issues and genes could make someone more likely to get them14. People with Down syndrome might see small bumps that are soft, skin-colored, or a bit yellow. These often pop up on the back, chest, or stomach15. These bumps might make the skin itchy and look red.

Down Syndrome

There is a clear link between Down syndrome and syringomas15. People with Down syndrome tend to get these bumps more than others. We think genes and hormones from Down syndrome might also cause the bumps15.

Brooke-Spiegler Syndrome

Brooke-Spiegler syndrome is a rare condition linked to syringomas15. It makes people grow various skin bumps, including syringomas. Those with it could get many syringomas all over their body.

There aren’t many known risk factors for syringomas14. They often show up in women. People with darker skin or those of Asian background might get them more16. Those having a transplant and taking medicines that suppress the immune system might be at risk for a rare cancer-like syringoma type. Yet, it is not clear if the transplant causes this.

Most times, syringomas are not a big medical worry14. But, those with certain conditions should check their skin often. This helps catch any problems early and treat them well141615.

Diagnosis and Differential Diagnosis

Finding syringomas often starts with a simple check-up. Doctors examine the skin closely to find small, solid bumps. These bumps are usually yellow, brown, or the color of your skin4. Where these bumps are and how they look—often near the eyes, neck, and upper body—helps tell syringomas apart from other skin issues4.

For a sure diagnosis, sometimes a biopsy is needed. This is especially true to make sure it’s not another skin problem4. During a biopsy, doctors take a tiny piece of the affected skin for a closer look. This detailed check can show the special comma-shaped sweat ducts deep in the skin that are a sign of syringomas4.

Physical Examination

Syringomas show up as many tiny bumps. They are often on the lower eyelids but can be on other spots too4. They mostly affect women and can pop up at any point in life. But they usually start showing in puberty or adolescence. They look like small, solid, flesh-colored to yellow, clear 1–3 mm bumps4.


Sometimes, doing a biopsy is the only way to confirm syringomas. This is key to distinguishing them from other skin troubles4. Syringomas are harmless skin growths from sweat ducts. They can be tiny, flat-topped, and yellowish or skin-colored spots. Although syringomas on the vulva are rare, when they occur, they show up as clustered, 5–20 mm bumps on the outer lips4.

In some people, syringomas might be linked to genetic conditions. This is especially true in those with Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Marfan syndrome17. Other potential issues that look like syringomas include milia, angiofibroma, and more. This is particularly true when thinking about eyelid problems17418.

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Treatment Options

People with syringoma have several ways to treat this skin issue9. Treatments include less invasive methods and more heavy-duty options. Each has its perks and things to think about.

Laser Treatment

Laser therapy is a top choice for treating syringoma9. It uses high-energy light to take out the weird, sweaty gland tissue causing the bumps. This method can make syringomas much less visible without much risk of scars. Many patients like this option a lot.

Electrosurgery and Excision

Besides lasers, there’s electrosurgery and cutting out the syringomas8. Electrosurgery uses electricity to zap and take out the bad tissue. Excision is the direct removal of the bumps. Both methods work but leave a higher chance of scars, especially for those with darker skin8. So, they’re used when lasers can’t work well or are off the table.

Cryotherapy and Chemical Peels

Looking for less cutting? Cryotherapy and peels might do the trick for syringoma3. Cryotherapy freezes and kills off the bumps with cold. Chemical peels remove the skin’s surface layers. These are gentler methods, lowering the risk of scarring. They could be right for some patients.

The treatment choice for syringoma depends on several factors983. These include the type and where the growths are, and what the patient and doctor think. Talking openly with the medical team helps find the best plan.

Prevention Strategies

While there is no sure way to avoid syringomas, you can lower the risk if you follow certain habits. These include regular exfoliation, sun protection, and steering clear of irritants19. These are key to keeping syringomas at bay or making them less visible.

Regular Exfoliation

Scrubbing your skin often helps get rid of its top layers. This simple act can stop the excess formation of sweat duct cells that cause syringomas19. Choose products with smooth, round grains or make your own scrubs. They’ll get rid of dead skin gently, preventing irritation.

Sun Protection and Avoiding Irritants

Shielding your skin from UV rays is very important19. Use a sunscreen that’s broad-spectrum and has an SPF of 30 or more. This protects against the sun’s harm and lowers the syringoma risk19. Also, stay away from things that usually make your skin angry. This helps keep your skin healthy, avoiding more serious syringoma issues19.

adding the strategies above to your daily routine can be a game-changer. They help cut down syringoma risk and keep your skin looking good191720.

Prevention Strategies Benefits
Regular Exfoliation Removes dead skin cells, limits overproduction of sweat duct cells
Sun Protection Prevents sun damage and reduces syringoma risk
Avoiding Irritants Maintains healthy skin and prevents worsening of syringomas

“Proactive skincare and lifestyle choices can play a significant role in minimizing the risk and appearance of syringomas.”

By using these methods, you’re actively caring for your skin. You could even lower the chance of getting syringomas191720.

Living with Syringoma

Syringomas are not dangerous, but they can deeply affect how we feel and think21. These small skin growths can lead to feeling shy, ashamed, or worried about being seen22. Talking to doctors, skin specialists, and those close to you can make it easier to handle how these growths make you feel.

To help manage syringomas, it’s good to focus on healthy habits. Try things like gently cleaning your skin often, protecting it from the sun, and staying away from things that upset it22. Eating well and taking care of yourself are also important. Doing these things can help you feel in control and ready to face any problems with your skin.

The Emotional Impact of Syringoma

Syringomas can really bring you down if you let them21. They might make you worry a lot about how you look. This can make you feel embarrassed or less sure about yourself. It’s good to know that many people might feel the same way. Getting support from experts and loved ones can help you handle the emotional side of living with syringomas.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle for Syringoma

Living well is key to dealing with syringoma and keeping your skin healthy. Doing things like gently scrubbing your skin, using sunblock, and avoiding things that irritate it can lower the chance of having syringoma spots22. A good diet and taking care of your stress and sleep is also vital. These actions can boost your overall health, including your skin.

Focusing on being healthy and seeking help when you need it can give you strength to face syringoma’s challenges and stay positive22. You can take steps to manage your skin health and syringoma in ways that suit you best212223.


Syringomas are common and happen when sweat glands work too much. They are small, firm bumps that some find bothersome or upsetting24. A study showed more females get them than males. They often start during a person’s 20s or 30s24. Knowing about the causes, signs, and treatments is key to managing this issue. Doing so can boost your skin health and how you feel about yourself.

These bumps can vary a lot and might show up on your eyelids the most24. Although they usually don’t mean serious health worries, health conditions like Down Syndrome might raise the chances of having syringomas24. It’s smart to get a proper check and think about treatments. Options like laser treatment, electrosurgery, and cryotherapy can help deal with the looks and how they make you feel.

In short, syringomas are something many people face but can deal with well. Knowing what to look out for and how to get the right care can make a big difference. By working with your doctor, you can keep your skin healthy and feel good about how you look242526.,

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What are syringomas?

Syringomas are small, noncancerous growths caused by overactive sweat glands. They show up as firm bumps, measuring 1-3 mm, often in groups. The colors can be yellow, brown, or match the skin tone.

How common are syringomas?

About 1 in 3 people can get syringomas. They are more common in women and those with darker skin.

What causes syringomas?

Overactive eccrine glands cause syringomas by overreacting or overgrowing. This happens in the skin’s deeper layers, leading to their formation.

Are there different types of syringomas?

There are two types of syringomas: localized and eruptive. Localized is more common and found around the eyes, neck, and upper body. Eruptive syringoma is less common, showing up suddenly on the chest, neck, and abdomen.

What are the symptoms of syringomas?

Syringomas look like small, firm bumps, can be skin-colored, yellow, or brown. They’re usually harmless, but in some cases, itching and pain can happen, especially with eruptive syringomas.

What conditions are associated with syringomas?

Down syndrome and Brooke-Spiegler syndrome can make a person more likely to develop eruptive syringomas.

How are syringomas diagnosed?

A medical expert can often see and diagnose syringomas just by looking at the bumps on your skin. They might do a biopsy to be sure and to rule out other health issues.

What are the treatment options for syringomas?

Treatments include laser therapy, electrosurgery, and cutting them out. The choice depends on the syringomas’ type, where they are, and what you prefer along with your doctor’s advice.

Can syringomas be prevented?

There’s no surefire way to prevent syringomas. But, you can lower your risk and make them less noticeable by exfoliating, protecting your skin from the sun, and avoiding irritants.

Source Links

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  5. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1059871-overview
  6. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/sweat-gland-lesions
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweat_gland
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319805
  9. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/syringoma-causes-treatment
  10. https://www.dermcoll.edu.au/atoz/syringoma/
  11. https://contourderm.com/syringoma/
  12. https://conloneyeinstitute.com/syringoma_treatment-options-comprehensive-guide/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092567/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4016058/
  15. https://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Syringoma
  16. https://slclinic.com.sg/syringoma-symptoms-and-removal-treatment-options-in-singapore/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK603740/
  18. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4jt089ht
  19. https://perfectimage.com/blogs/condition/syringoma
  20. https://medium.com/@laserdynamic29/syringoma-removal-methods-that-are-used-by-doctors-415aa93eac67
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9847486/
  22. https://qwarkhealth.com/conditions/syringoma
  23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syringoma
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628001/
  25. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-023-02537-1
  26. https://thejns.org/spine/view/journals/j-neurosurg-spine/22/3/article-p310.xml