Eruptive Vellus Hair Cysts Medication

Updated: Jul 29, 2019
  • Author: Stephanie Juliet Campbell, DO; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy for eruptive vellus hair cysts (EVHCs) are to reduce morbidity and to prevent complications.


Topical Skin Products

Class Summary

These agents modulate keratinocyte differentiation and decrease oil production.

Ammonium lactate (Am Lactin, Lac-Hydrin, Geri-Hydrolac)

Ammonium lactate contains lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that has keratolytic action, thus facilitating release of comedones. Alpha-hydroxy acids cause disadhesion of corneocytes and thin the stratum corneum. Use 12% cream or lotion.

Urea (Carmol, Keralac, Kerafoam, Umecta, Aluvea)

Urea is a topical humectant. It promotes hydration and removal of excess keratin. Urea is a small molecule that osmotically binds water. Use 10% or 20% cream.


Retinoid-like Agents

Class Summary

These agents stimulate cellular retinoid receptors and help normalize keratinocyte differentiation and are comedolytic. In addition, they have anti-inflammatory properties.

Tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage)

Tazarotene is a retinoid prodrug whose active metabolite modulates differentiation and proliferation of epithelial tissue; it may also have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Tazarotene is available as 0.05% and 0.1% cream and gel.

Tretinoin topical (Retin-A, Renova, Avita)

Tretinoin topical is a topical retinoid that significantly alters the differentiation of keratinocytes. It inhibits microcomedo formation and eliminates lesions. It makes keratinocytes in sebaceous follicles less adherent and easier to remove. Tretinoin topical is available as 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1% creams and as 0.01% and 0.025% gels.