What are Sebaceous Cysts?

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A sebaceous cyst, also known as an epidermoid cyst, is a common noncancerous growth that forms beneath the skin. These cysts develop when the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing oil to lubricate the skin and hair, become blocked. When the gland’s duct becomes blocked, the oil (sebum) backs up and forms a cyst.

These cysts typically appear as small, round bumps beneath the skin’s surface. They are usually smooth to the touch and may vary in size from a pea to a marble. Sebaceous cysts are most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, and back, but can also occur in other areas of the body where sebaceous glands are present.

Sebaceous cysts are usually harmless and painless unless they become infected or inflamed. When this happens, the cyst may become red, swollen, tender, and filled with pus. In some cases, an infected cyst may rupture, leading to drainage of foul-smelling fluid. Infections can occur if the cyst is squeezed or punctured, allowing bacteria from the skin’s surface to enter the cyst.

Treatment for sebaceous cysts is typically not necessary unless they become infected, cause discomfort, or are cosmetically bothersome. In cases of infection, treatment may involve antibiotics or drainage of the cyst by a healthcare professional. Surgical removal of the cyst may be recommended if it recurs, becomes painful, or is cosmetically undesirable. During the removal procedure, the cyst and its surrounding tissue are excised to prevent recurrence.

It’s important not to attempt to pop or squeeze a sebaceous cyst at home, as this can lead to infection or further complications. If you notice a growth on your skin that you suspect may be a sebaceous cyst, it’s best to have it evaluated by a healthcare provider such as Mr Andrew Clarke, for proper diagnosis and treatment. Regular hygiene and keeping the skin clean can help prevent the development of sebaceous cysts.