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Last updated Jan. 6, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH


Microscopic pathology image showing a benign Trichofolliculoma of skin on a punch biopsy.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Folliculoma
  • Trichofolliculoma of Hair Follicles

What is Trichofolliculoma? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Trichofolliculoma is a rare and benign tumor of the hair follicles on skin. It is also known as Folliculoma
  • Trichofolliculoma is a slow-growing and usually solitary tumor that occurs as a painless nodule. The central portion of the nodule may have a tuft of fine hair
  • It can occur in children and young adults, and is typically present in the head and neck region. The cause and risk factors for Trichofolliculoma are generally unknown
  • In a majority of cases, no treatment in necessary, unless it causes worrisome symptoms or presents cosmetic concerns in the individual
  • A simple surgical excision of the tumor is considered curative. The prognosis for Trichofolliculoma is excellent with suitable treatment

Who gets Trichofolliculoma? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Trichofolliculoma can occur at any age, but is common during pubertal stage, adolescence, and early adulthood
  • Both males and females may be affected with equal frequency
  • Individuals of all racial and ethnic background may be affected. Worldwide, no geographical localization of Trichofolliculoma has been reported

What are the Risk Factors for Trichofolliculoma? (Predisposing Factors)

  • Currently, no risk factors have been identified for Trichofolliculoma
  • However, vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia is a known risk factor in women

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Trichofolliculoma? (Etiology)

  • The cause of development of Trichofolliculoma is unknown
  • Research is currently being undertaken to identify the relevant causal factors

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Trichofolliculoma?

The signs and symptoms of Trichofolliculoma include:

  • It usually occurs as a single, raised nodule on the skin. In some cases, multiple nodules may be observed
  • It is a slow-growing tumor with an average size of 0.5 cm
  • The skin over the nodules may have a reddish discoloration. Also, at the center of the nodule, there may be a tuft of fine hair
  • The nodule is usually painless and non-itchy. They are mostly well-demarcated and firm to touch
  • These nodules can occur all over the body, but they are commonly observed in the head and neck region (in the face)
  • Trichofolliculomas can be sometimes confused with basal cell carcinomas

How is Trichofolliculoma Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Trichofolliculoma may involve the following:

  • A thorough medical history and physical examination
  • Dermoscopy: It is a diagnostic tool where a dermatologist examines the skin using a special magnified lens
  • Wood’s lamp examination: In this procedure, the healthcare provider examines the skin using ultraviolet light. It is performed to examine the change in skin pigmentation
  • Skin biopsy: A skin biopsy is performed and sent to a laboratory for a pathological examination. The pathologist examines the biopsy under a microscope. After putting together clinical findings, special studies on tissues (if needed) and with microscope findings, the pathologist arrives at a definitive diagnosis
  • Differential diagnosis of other tumors, such as basal cell carcinoma, should be ruled out; hence, biopsy is an important diagnostic tool

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Trichofolliculoma?

Trichofolliculoma is an uncommon tumor and it does not cause any significant complications. However, some individuals may have concerns regarding their cosmetic appearance.

How is Trichofolliculoma Treated?

The treatment of Trichofolliculoma may involve the following:

  • In a majority of cases, removal of the tumor is not necessary, unless it causes bothersome signs and symptoms such as cosmetic issues
  • The treatment is a complete surgical excision, which results in a cure
  • Once the nodule is completely removed, it usually does not recur. An incomplete removal may result in its recurrence
  • Cauterization (burning-off) of the nodule can be performed using a CO2 laser

How can Trichofolliculoma be Prevented?

Currently, there are no known methods to prevent Trichofolliculoma occurrence.

What is the Prognosis of Trichofolliculoma? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

The prognosis for Trichofolliculoma is excellent with appropriate treatment, since it is a benign tumor.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Trichofolliculoma:

  • There is no evidence to prove that oily foods and chocolate-based products have an influence on Trichofolliculoma formation
  • Cleaning the skin too hard with strong chemicals or soaps may aggravate the skin condition. Care must be taken avoid strong soaps and chemicals that could potentially worsen the condition
  • The presence of dirt on the body is not a causative factor for the condition. However, it helps to be clean and hygienic, which may help the condition from getting worse

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Nov. 18, 2015
Last updated: Jan. 6, 2019