Syringomas are a cluster of bumps on your skin that are either yellow or the same color as your natural skin tone. These bumps form because your sweat glands (eccrine glands) are overworking. These bumps are harmless and don’t need treatment but you can talk to your provider about removal if you don’t like how they look on your skin.
A syringoma is a firm bump that resembles a pimple (papule) on your skin that usually forms in small clusters or groups on your skin, most often on your face. Syringomas are the result of your overgrowth of your sweat glands. These bumps are harmless to your body.
Syringomas and milia have similar symptoms where a group of bumps will form on your skin. Milia are tiny white bumps filled with the skin protein keratin that form most often on a newborn’s skin. Syringomas are small sweat gland growths that look like a yellow or a natural skin tone pimple.
There are four types of syringoma:
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Syringomas can affect anyone but they’re most common among:
Eruptive syringomas, which are a type of generalized syringoma, most often affect people with a darker skin tone.
Syringomas are most common among people diagnosed with Down syndrome, where almost 20% of people diagnosed with the condition have syringomas. Syringomas are rarer among other populations.
Symptoms of syringomas include:
Symptoms of syringoma can affect different parts of your body and usually form near sweat ducts. The most common places on your body where you’ll find symptoms are:
An overgrowth of cells in your sweat glands, also known as the eccrine glands, causes syringoma. Your eccrine glands are sweat glands in your skin. When your body gets warm, your eccrine glands produce sweat to cool your body down.
Several physical and environmental factors can make your eccrine glands overwork and overgrow including:
Some causes of syringoma are hereditary, which means you can inherit the condition from your biological parents during conception. When this happens, the cells you receive from your biological parents don’t copy correctly when the egg and sperm meet or your parents pass a gene that has a trait that makes your sweat glands overwork.
If you have a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, your child inherits an extra copy of chromosome 21. This change to your child’s DNA causes symptoms of syringoma in addition to symptoms of Down syndrome.
Your provider will diagnose syringoma after reviewing your complete medical history and physically examining your symptoms. To confirm a diagnosis or to rule out conditions with similar symptoms, your provider might offer tests that could include a skin biopsy. During this test, your provider will remove a small sample of your skin tissue from the affected area of your skin. Your provider will examine the sample under a microscope. A syringoma looks like a tadpole or a comma under a microscope, which confirms your diagnosis.
Syringomas are harmless and don’t need treatment. If you don’t like how the syringoma looks on your skin, you can choose to have the syringoma removed by:
There are several different types of medicines that your provider might use to treat your syringomas if you don’t like how they look on your skin. The most common medications include:
Before beginning any type of treatment, talk to your provider about the side effects. After treatment to remove the syringomas, you may have scarring on your skin. There is a risk that the syringomas can return after removal.
Your provider will discuss your post-treatment aftercare plan with you before and after your procedure. Your skin will need time to heal after syringoma removal and the timeline could vary from a few days to a few weeks depending on how much of your skin needed treatment. After surgery, be careful not to injure your surgical site and treat it like an open wound to prevent infections. Don’t participate in any strenuous activities until your provider tells you it’s safe to do so.
You shouldn’t remove syringomas at home. Talk to your provider if you’re interested in removing syringomas from your skin.
Over-the-counter creams or moisturizers, especially products that include ingredients designed for acne removal like salicylic acid, may not work to remove syringomas.
While it’s not easy to simply prevent all types of syringomas from forming on your skin, you can reduce your risk by:
Syringomas are harmless cosmetic changes to your skin. They are asymptomatic, which means you shouldn’t feel pain or itchiness associated with the bumps on your skin. If you don’t like how syringomas look on your skin, you can talk to your provider about removal options. There’s a chance that syringomas can return after treatment.
There isn’t a cure for syringomas since they can return after treatment.
It’s safe to apply makeup over your syringomas if you’re trying to cover them up. Make sure you use a cleanser to remove the makeup at the end of the day before you go to bed to avoid clogging your pores.
Visit your healthcare provider if you have changes to your skin, experience pain at the site of your syringomas or if you have widespread syringomas across your body. If your surgical site hurts, isn’t healing or oozes a yellowish fluid (signs of infection), contact your provider.
Syringomas are bumps on your skin caused by overactive sweat glands. Fordyce spots are bumps on your skin caused by sebaceous oil glands in your skin that become too big (enlarge).
A note from Cleveland Clinic
You don’t need to worry about syringomas on your skin since they’re harmless and happen as a result of your sweat glands overworking. You can talk to your provider if you have changes to your skin or if you’re interested in removing the syringomas because you don’t like how they look. Taking care of your skin is the best way to prevent syringomas from forming in the future.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/20/2022.
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