Skin - Nonmelanocytic tumors
Vellus hair cyst

Author: Ghassan Tranesh, M.D. (see Authors page)
Editor: Hong Qu, M.D.

Revised: 4 October 2016, last major update January 2015

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Vellus hair cyst [title]

Cite this page: Vellus hair cyst. website. Accessed October 27th, 2016.
Definition / General
  • Originally reported in children and young adults
  • No gender or racial predilection
  • Occasionally associated with renal failure or various genodermatoses, including pachyonychia congenita, anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, hidrotic ectodermal dysplasia
  • Rarely associated with Lowe syndrome, an oculocerebrorenal syndrome characterized by Fanconi-type renal failure, mental retardation, ocular abnormalities
  • Cases may be inherited (autosomal dominant), which may be manifest at birth, and is more likely to show cysts on extensor aspects of limbs
  • Small, multiple cysts over chest wall and extremities
  • Eruptive vellus hair cysts probably develop due to occlusion of the infundibulum of vellus hairs with resultant cystic dilatation and retention of keratinous debris and vellus hairs
  • The primary cause of the obstruction is unknown
  • They may also represent follicular hamartomas
Clinical Features
  • Patients present with numerous asymptomatic, discrete, soft, flesh-colored or reddish-brown papules, 1 - 5 mm across, particularly over the parasternal area, although the distribution may be quite widespread
Case Reports
  • Local surgery
Clinical Images

Images hosted on other servers:

Brown-grey papules

Yellowish, dome-shaped papules

Hyperpigmented follicular papules

Micro Description
  • Mid-dermal cyst containing laminated keratin and many vellus hairs
  • Epithelial lining consists of several layers of squamous epithelium, often with a granular cell layer
Micro Images

Images hosted on other servers:


Acanthotic epidermis

Dermal cyst

Laminated keratinous material

Keratins 1/10, p63, Ki67

Negative Stains