4 Things You Need to Know About Syringomas

Syringomas are benign tumors that affect the sweat glands and can be cosmetically distressing. Here are four things you need to know about syringomas.

What are the signs of syringomas?

If you develop syringomas, you'll notice numerous soft papules (bumps) on your skin. These papules are skin colored and tend to be quite small at only one to two millimeters in diameter, but since they usually form on the eyelids and cheeks, they can be very noticeable.

While syringomas are usually seen on the face, they can form on other parts of the body, too. They are also commonly seen in the armpits, on the thighs, or on the stomach.

Why do they occur?

Syringomas are generally sporadic, which means that they seem to occur randomly and doctors don't know why some people develop them. In rare cases, these tumors can run in families, which suggests that genetics may play a role in some instances. These tumors are also more common in people who have Down Syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, according to NIH.

Are they serious?

Fortunately, these tumors aren't a serious medical problem. Since they tend to develop in highly-visible areas like the face, the main reason for treating them is to address cosmetic concerns. In rare cases, malignant transformation can occur, which means the tumors become cancerous, so you may want to have them removed, even if they aren't posing any cosmetic problems for you.  

How are they treated?

Dermatologists can treat syringomas with a variety of methods, ranging from nonsurgical to surgical. The goal of treatment is to get rid of the tumors without causing scarring.   

Your dermatologist may prescribe a topical tretinoin medication. The medication may come in the form of a cream, gel, or liquid. While tretinoin is an acne medication, it can treat many skin conditions, including syringomas.

Dermabrasion can also be used to remove your syringomas. Your dermatologist will use a dermabrader, a small surgical instrument with a rotating, abrasive attachment, to carefully sand away the top layer of your skin. The treated skin will be sore and raw after the procedure, but when the top layer of your skin grows back, your syringomas will be gone.

Surgical excision can also be used to treat syringomas. This procedure is simple and involves cutting out the syringomas and carefully sewing the surgical sites shut. Like any surgery, this procedure can leave scars, so it's not ideal for treating facial syringomas.

If you have many small bumps on your skin, you may have syringomas and should see a dermatologist, such as Dermatology Associates