What causes palmar pits and what should I do about them?

Symptom Database

Palmar pits are small depressions or indentations that can appear on the palms of the hands. They are often harmless and do not cause any pain or discomfort. However, their presence can sometimes be a cause for concern, leading individuals to wonder about their causes, symptoms, and possible treatment options. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of palmar pits, including their causes, prevalence, diagnosis, and potential treatment methods.

What Causes Palmar Pits?

The exact cause of palmar pits is not fully understood. However, research suggests that they may be associated with certain genetic factors. Studies have shown that palmar pits can be inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, meaning that if one parent has palmar pits, there is a 50% chance of passing the condition on to their children.

Palmar pits are believed to result from a developmental abnormality during the formation of the skin in the womb. The pits are thought to occur due to the incomplete fusion of the skin layers, leading to the formation of small depressions on the palms.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Palmar pits are typically asymptomatic, meaning they do not cause any noticeable symptoms or discomfort. They are usually discovered incidentally during routine physical examinations or when individuals examine their palms closely.

Diagnosing palmar pits is relatively straightforward. A dermatologist or healthcare provider can visually examine the palms and identify the presence of these small indentations. In some cases, additional tests or imaging may be recommended to rule out any underlying conditions or to confirm the diagnosis.

Prevalence and Research

The prevalence of palmar pits in the general population is relatively low. Studies have estimated that palmar pits occur in approximately 1-2% of individuals. However, the prevalence may vary depending on the specific population being studied.

Despite their relatively low prevalence, palmar pits have been the subject of scientific research. Researchers have investigated the genetic basis of palmar pits and have identified specific genes that may be associated with their development. Further research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and potential implications of these genetic factors.

Treatment Options

Palmar pits are generally considered a cosmetic concern rather than a medical issue. As such, treatment is not usually necessary unless the pits cause significant distress or affect an individual’s quality of life.

If treatment is desired, several options may be considered:

  • Topical treatments: Certain creams or ointments may be prescribed to help improve the appearance of the pits. These treatments typically contain ingredients that promote skin regeneration and collagen production.
  • Chemical peels: Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the outer layer to peel off. This can help reduce the visibility of palmar pits.
  • Laser therapy: Laser treatment can be used to resurface the skin and minimize the appearance of palmar pits. This procedure involves the use of a laser to remove the top layer of skin, stimulating the growth of new, smoother skin.
  • Surgical removal: In rare cases where palmar pits are particularly deep or bothersome, surgical removal may be considered. This procedure involves excising the affected skin and suturing the area.

It is important to note that treatment outcomes may vary, and it is advisable to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment option based on individual circumstances.


Palmar pits are small indentations that can appear on the palms of the hands. While their exact cause is not fully understood, they are believed to be associated with genetic factors and result from a developmental abnormality during fetal development. Palmar pits are typically asymptomatic and do not require treatment unless they cause significant distress. Various treatment options, including topical treatments, chemical peels, laser therapy, and surgical removal, may be considered for cosmetic purposes. If you have concerns about palmar pits, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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