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What is Syringoma?

Syringoma are harmless sweat duct benign growth, typically found clustered on eyelids, although they may also be found in the armpits, umbilicus (belly button), and other parts of the body. When these benign lesions are not located in on the periorbital region they are referred to as Eruptive Siringomas.  The name syringoma is derived from the Greek word syrinx, which means pipe or tube. The name suggests the extact problem of the condition which ia a benign orvergrowing of the sweat tubes cells on the epidermal part of the skin.

It is important to enphasize that Syringomas are benign lesions and to not pose any threat to health. Therefore they can be left untreated and they are only removed for cosmetic reasons. Normally people seek to have only periorbital Syringomas removed because they are the most visible and the most difficult to conceal with make up.

Skin Cross Section Labeled

Skin Cross Section Labeled

The picture above is used to illustrate in which layer of the skin Syringoma are developed. As mentioned above, Syringomas are found on the epidermis and are small benign growths of the final part of the sweat duct tubes on the epidermis.

Syringomas come in many different shapes and colors, they can be oval, dome shaped or round. Their size can vary from syringoma to syringoma. Periorbital Syringomas can be both clustered unvenly in one region only or quite well distributed thoughtout the area of the skin around the eyes or the eyelids.

The word Syringoma is normally associated with the small plaques around the eyes . However it has to be remebered that the often appear on any other part of the body (Eruptive Syringomas). The reason for the association of Syringoma to a periorbital skin condition (which means a condition developed “around the eyes”) is due to the fact that people seek help to have them removed especially when they develop around the eyes.

Periorbital Yellow Syringoma

Periorbital Yellow Syringoma easily mistaken for Xanthelasma

Periorbital Syringoma are skin-colored or yellowish firm rounded bumps, 1-3 mm in diameter, and they are often confused with xanthelasma, because of their color as well as their presence around the eyes.

Syringoma can appear at any age, though they usually occur after puberty. Syringoma can develop in people of any race and gender,  females seem to be more affected than males. This may not be due to the condition actualy affecting more women than men, rather because women are generally more self concious than men and seek help more often.


Syringomas around the eyes or Periorbital Syringomas

In the above picture you can see the classic periorbital Syringoma. In this case these lesions are easily recognised as Syringoma given their skin like colour and their custered formation.

Syringoma are believed to be of familial origin. Around 18% of people with Down syndrome have syringoma. People with diabetes are more likely to have a syringoma type known as clear cell syringomas.

Periorbital syringoma

Periorbital Syringoma


Eruptive syringomas appear abruptly in adult life, as a crop of multiple lesions typically on the chest or lower abdomen. Most people with eruptive syringoma are Asian or dark skinned.


The skin biopsy appearance under a microscope is characteristic. There are small ducts with comma-like tails, looking like tadpoles in the skin.