Sebaceous Cyst Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Pictures
This is a condition where accumulation of a cheese-like substance is found in the outermost layer of the skin, also called the epidermis. They are also referred as epidermal, keratin, and epidermoid cysts.
This is primarily caused by our sebaceous glands which secrete an oily substance for our skin and hair’s lubrication.
If the action of the sebaceous glands is blocked, a cyst can form. The sac is filled with a waxy, oily, or cheesy substance and accompanied with an unpleasant odor.
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Sebaceous cysts are usually found on the face, neck, or trunk of an affected person. Occasionally it can also affect the genitalia.
Cyst formation is usually painless. They can move around and grow slowly. Sometimes they become infected, which can be indicated if the cyst is red, tender, sore, and warm to touch, or if the lump/ bump also includes grayish white, cheesy, foul-smelling drains.
Serious complications such as abscess formation occasionally arise. After a cyst's removal, they may recur, though this is unlikely. A ruptured cyst can lead to abscess formation that is sometime described as boil-like.
Medical professionals can often reach a diagnosis through an examination, though there are instances where a biopsy must be done to rule out other conditions. It is advisable that one should consult a doctor if you find that you have a cyst.
Varying factors are behind the formation of a cyst, which is caused by a blockage of the sebaceous gland.
Some of the causes include:
- High levels of testosterone
- Oily skin
- Skin trauma or a crushing injury
- Swollen hair follicles
- Damaged hair follicles
- Surgical wounds
- Ruptured sebaceous gland
- Developmental defects such as Gardner’s syndrome — this rare condition causes growths on the body that may lead to other serious defects. This condition is more common in caucasians than those of African or Asian descent. It can be aggravated when one uses heavy makeup or inappropriate makeup products. Environmental pollution and exposure to grease-releasing products can cause this condition.
Treatment and Prevention
Medical treatments are rarely necessary for this condition. If the cyst is swollen, your attending physician may recommend injections of corticosteroids or triamcinolone acetonide in order to avoid the progression of the inflammation.
A medical procedure will be done on a case by case basis. It is possible the cyst will be treated by cutting into it and expressing the contents. But the downside of this procedure is that the cyst can come back. Oral antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to avoid development of an infection.
There are some home remedies, like using a heating pad on the cyst directly. Application should be for fifteen to twenty minutes, twice a day for ten days.
Make sure that the heating pad is as clean as possible or, even better, sterilized. Avoid squeezing, scratching, draining, opening or puncturing the lump. This is to avoid rupture and complicating the sebaceous cyst.
Always keep it clean—the use of antibacterial soap is a must. Proper bathing is a must to also prevent this condition— using an antibacterial soap is recommended.
Total prevention is impossible since some risks are unavoidable. However, there are some things you can do. These include:
- Avoiding too much sun exposure and also preventing the use of oil-free skin products.
- Avoid the use of greasy makeup or the use of heavy makeup. Choose a non-comedogenic product that will not clog the pores.
If your doctor chooses to cut the cyst, the incision will be very small to avoid scarring. They will then remove the contents and the cyst wall. Your cyst should heal normally after that.
There could also be a full removal, which is more effective when the cyst is not inflamed or no infection has developed. Once there is inflammation, prior to the procedure, the doctor would treat it first before undergoing total removal.
The area of the cyst will be anesthetized and it will be entirely removed. This procedure may involve sutures. The removal of these sutures may happen four to six weeks after the excision if the cyst is on the face.
It it is anywhere else, the suture would be removed after two weeks. You might have laser treatment to eradicate the effect of scarring. Usually this procedure is done if there is involvement of the highly sensitive areas of the body such as the face and groin area.