Sebaceous Cyst- Removal, Treatment


If the term sebaceous cyst is new to you, its occurrence is certainly not. You could even have experienced it before without knowing its correct medical term. Read on to learn more.

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Sebaceous cyst is also called epidermoid cyst, keratin cyst and epidermal cyst referring to small bumps underneath the skin that contain cheesy or oily fluid which often comes with a very stinky odor. They are visible on the trunk, neck and face as well as on the genital areas. When it is found in the vaginal area, most women think that it is caused by genital herpes. But sebaceous cysts are different from genital herpes which forms a blister kind of sore.

What does a sebaceous cyst look like?

Oftentimes, sebaceous cysts have openings at the center where hair follicles are found with sizes ranging from one-fourth inch to 2 inches in diameter. They are generally smooth, round, with white-yellow color and move freely underneath the skin. While some squeeze them to cast out the pus through the small opening, doing such is strongly discouraged as it makes the cyst vulnerable to infection. Once it is infected, the cyst becomes red, tender, inflamed and painful. Skin temperature where the cyst is located also increases and after three days, the cyst will rupture releasing foul-smelling, thick, cheesy pus.

How do Sebaceous Cysts Develop and Diagnosed?

Epidermal cyst often develops when skin trauma occurs. Damaged hair follicles can also incite cyst to develop. Rupture of sebaceous glands like acne and other skin inflammations can bring about the development of sebaceous cysts. They may also develop in people with genetic disorders such as Gardner’s syndrome and basal cell nevus syndrome. Epidermal cysts are often diagnosed according to their manifestations, though doctors may suggest biopsy to confirm and figure out the underlying cause.

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Are there any complications for Sebaceous cysts?

Yes, sebaceous cysts can lead to serious problems when taken for granted. Infected cysts are difficult to eliminate while ruptured cysts can lead to painful abscesses that need immediate medical treatment. Urination and sexual intercourse can be painful when they occur in the genital areas. Although this rarely happens, but untreated sebaceous cysts could lead to skin cancer.

Sebaceous cyst treatment

Although epidermal cysts are harmless and may disappear even without treatment, treatment is needed when they get inflamed and painful. Some have them removed for cosmetic purposes and when they are big enough to impede daily functioning. Small epidermal cysts are normally treated by administering antibiotics and steroids. However, surgical removal, which should be done by qualified professionals, is necessary for large cysts. Open surgical excision is done to the cyst that has ruptured inside and for recurrent ones; while minimal cutting out is done for non-ruptured cysts. Talk to your trusted dermatologist for the best treatment method.

Can they be prevented?

Yes, there is something you can do to prevent sebaceous cysts from developing. Proper skin care is your finest defense against the development of epidermal cysts. Keep the affected area clean and put warm washcloth for several minutes for several times daily. Don’t use oily products for your skin. Also, don’t squeeze the small lumps which may cause irritation and scarring. Avoid too much sun exposure and apply prescribed medications from your doctor.

If you notice a small growth underneath your skin, do not delay doctor consultation to confirm if it is sebaceous cyst such that treatment may start right away.

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