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.


What is a syringoma?

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.

What’s the difference between syringoma and milia?

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.

What are the types of syringoma?

There are four types of syringoma:

  • Localized: Bumps only appear on one area of your body. This is the most common type of syringoma and isn't associated with any other medical condition.
  • Associated with Down syndrome: Bumps are the result of genetic changes that happen to your body if you’re diagnosed with Down syndrome.
  • Generalized (eruptive syringomas): Bumps can appear on multiple different parts of your body and are common among adults.
  • Familial: You can inherit this type of syringoma from your biological parents.

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Who does syringoma affect?

Syringomas can affect anyone but they’re most common among:

  • Women and people assigned female at birth.
  • People diagnosed with Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome or diabetes.
  • People who have a fair skin tone.
  • Adolescents going through puberty.
  • Adults between the ages of 40 and 60.

Eruptive syringomas, which are a type of generalized syringoma, most often affect people with a darker skin tone.

How common is syringoma?

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 and Causes

What are the symptoms of a syringoma?

Symptoms of syringomas include:

  • A round bump (papule) that’s 1 to 3 millimeters in diameter.
  • The papule is firm.
  • The papule is yellow, translucent or the same color as your natural skin tone.
  • The papule is part of a group or cluster of papules of a similar size, shape and color.

Where do symptoms of syringoma affect my body?

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:

  • Around or under your eyes or on your eyelids.
  • On your face.
  • On your chest.
  • In your armpits.
  • On or around your genitals (vulvar, vaginal, penile).

What causes syringoma?

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:

  • Stress.
  • Exercise or physical activity.
  • High temperatures.
  • Genetic changes or mutations.
  • A symptom of a medical condition.

Is syringoma hereditary?

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.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is syringoma diagnosed?

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.

Management and Treatment

How is syringoma treated?

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:

  • Diathermy (electrosurgery): Diathermy, or “deep heating,” uses electric currents from radio or sound waves to generate heat beneath your skin to remove skin blemishes.
  • Laser therapy: Powerful beams of light focus on affected areas of your skin to reduce the appearance of syringomas.
  • Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion scrapes imperfections off of your skin’s surface to reveal new layers of skin.
  • Excision: Your provider uses surgical tools like a scalpel to remove syringomas from your skin.
  • Taking medicine: Medicines could be topical, which you can apply to your skin like a lotion, or oral in pill form. Your provider will prescribe medicines specific to your skin and your symptoms.

What medications treat syringomas?

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:

  • Trichloroacetic acid: Trichloroacetic acid is an acne treatment that can lessen the appearance of syringomas. Your provider will apply this treatment to your skin in the same way as a chemical peel where the chemical sets on your skin for a short amount of time before your provider removes it to reveal healthy skin.
  • Isotretinoin: Oral isotretinoin is a common treatment for cystic acne but can reduce the appearance of syringomas.
  • Acitretin: Oral acitretin is a treatment for psoriasis that can minimize syringomas on your skin.

Are there side effects of the treatment?

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.

How to take care of myself after treatment?

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.

Are there home remedies for syringoma removal?

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.


How can I prevent syringomas?

While it’s not easy to simply prevent all types of syringomas from forming on your skin, you can reduce your risk by:

  • Reducing stress on your body.
  • Protecting your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen.
  • Using a cleanser or exfoliating product to clean your skin at the end of each day.
  • Talking to your provider about treatment options for your overworking sweat glands.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have syringoma?

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.

Is there a cure for syringomas?

There isn’t a cure for syringomas since they can return after treatment.

Living With

Can I apply makeup over a syringoma?

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.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

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.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

  • What caused my syringomas?
  • What treatment option is right for my skin?
  • How do I prevent syringomas from returning after removal?
  • How do I prevent scarring after surgery?

Additional Common Questions

What is the difference between a syringoma and Fordyce spots?

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.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/20/2022.

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