A syringoma is a benign tumor of the sweat gland that most commonly appears in clusters on the eyelids but may also appear elsewhere on the face, armpits, upper chest, navel and genitals. It occurs more commonly on women than on men and has a higher incidence in Asian populations.
They are characterized by small size (1-3 millimeters) and a skin-colored to yellow color. There are usually no associated symptoms, but in some individuals these lesions may be itchy. The mechanism behind the formation of these lesions in unknown.
There are four forms of syringomas: a localized form, an eruptive form in which many lesions appear simultaneously, a form associated with down syndrome, and a familial form caused by mutation of a specific chromosome (16q22). Syrigoma can be idiopathic or may represent a symptom of internal disease processes such as Hailey-Hailey disease and syndromes such as diabetes mellitus, Brooke-Spiegler, down syndrome, and Nicolau-Balus.
In any case, syringomas may safely be left untreated but can become cosmetically concerning for afflicted individuals. Unfortunately, due to their position deep in the dermis, treatment of syringomas is almost always only partially successful. Many different therapies have been utilized but no single method has been established as the most superior.
Treatment options include surgical excision, electrodessication, carbon dioxide laser ablation, pule-dye laser therapy, cryosurgery, dermabrasion, isotretinoin, topical retinoids, topical atropine, and chemical peels. Multiple therapies are often combined to increase efficiency, though most methods carry some risk of scarring or pigmentation.
Additionally, these lesions may recur after treatment or require multiple rounds of treatment. Contact your dermatologist if you have syringomas to find out what treatment options are available to you.