Dermatology
& Plastic Surgery
Epidemoid and Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are small sac-like bumps filled with a yellow, thick skin protein called keratin.

Description

Sebaceous cysts are small sac-like bumps filled with a yellow, thick skin protein called keratin. They usually form beneath the skin, mostly on the face, neck and torso, and occur when the skin’s surface cells do not slough off, but instead enter into the deeper skin layers. These cysts occur due to damaged and/or blocked sebaceous glands or hair follicles. Larger cysts can become infected. Once infected, they can be difficult to adequately treat.


Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of the cysts include:

  • Small cysts that may be painless, but larger ones may cause pain and pressure
  • Small tender red coloured lumps
  • Tiny blackhead plugging the cyst’s opening
  • Inflammation of the affected skin
  • Oozing of a foul-smelling fluid from the cyst if they become infected

Diagnosis

  • Sebaceous cysts can be diagnosed by clinical examination. Larger cysts should be removed.

Treatment

Sebaceous cysts are commonly excised under local anaesthetic and will leave a small scar. The cyst is sent for pathological examination to confirm the diagnosis.


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