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Sebaceous Cyst – What is it ?

Sebaceous cysts are little bumps that arise and develop from the skin glands that produce oily substances. That oily material lubricates the skin and hair. Sebaceous cysts are painless and slow growing that generally appear on the neck, trunk, genital area, and the face. They need no medical treatment as it causes no problems.

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Sebaceous cysts are not cancerous. If it causes any irritation or distress, it can be removed by a simple incision. It is vulnerable to secondary infections when it gets ruptured.

Symptoms of sebaceous cysts

The signs and symptoms of sebaceous cysts are as under:

  • Generally the sebaceous cysts are white or yellow in color, but it may also elicit a blacking or dark pigmented appearance in individuals with dark complexion.
  • Sebaceous cysts are usually the size of a quarter of an inch. However, it can growup to two inches in diameter.
  • Sebaceous cysts are round shaped, painless, noncancerous little bumps that can be removed easily by incision.
  • Continuous use of cosmetics and creams for longer period can also cause sebaceous cysts
  • Sebaceous cysts can occur on any part of the body, but generally it occurs on neck, trunk and face.
  • Sebaceous cysts are identified by the presence of a black closed head, which indicates that they are the remnants of hair follicles. It may also have a central opening.It can be seen that a thick and cheesyfluid comes out when a sebaceous cyst is squeezed. To avoid infection problems,a dermatologist can be consulted.
  • The Milia-Miniature sebaceous cysts do not surface over the skin. They are deep rooted and with micro tiny white heads. It is generally detected amongst aged people.
  • Infected sebaceous cystscan be identified by varied symptoms such as the oozing of yellowish thick fluid with foul smell; swellingand tenderness, along with reddish appearance of the skin around the cysts; and excessive pain.
  • Trichilemmal or pilar cystsare the tiny bumps that occur over the scalp which are different type of cysts that move freely under the skin.
  • Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are caused by sebaceous cysts in rare cases

A few complications caused by sebaceous cysts are as follows:

  • Rupture of sebaceous cysts can cause abscess and infection.
  • Genital sebaceous cysts are painful during urination and during intercourse.
  • Once the swelling is subdued, the sebaceous cysts can be removed.

Causes of sebaceous cysts

Thin layered skin surface cells are shed by the body regularly. Formation of most of the sebaceous cyst occurs over these surface cells. They enter deep inside the skin and spread. Generally these cysts occur over the oil glands and on hair follicles.

Flow of yellow fluids that come out from the cysts are the protein keratin secreted in the interiors by epidermal cells, which form the walls for cysts.

The factors which are responsible for the production of abnormal cells are listed below:

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  • Damage of hair follicles:Dermis is the thin layer of skin, just beneath the epidermis and the hairs grow from the dermis follicle pockets. Any wound or injury or abrasions caused to the hair follicles block the surface over the cells.
  • Rupture of sebaceous glands: Sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which nourishes the health of the hair and skin. Sebaceous cysts are caused by the rupture of these glands due to inflammatory skin disorders.
  • Defects in the growth process:Sebaceous cysts can be caused when a growing baby’s stem cells of skin, nails, and hair get trapped in cells of other tissues.
  • Hereditary:Growths in colon caused by the Gardner’s syndrome, and basal cell nervous syndrome which causes many health disorders are the hereditary diseases. These genetic disorders can cause sebaceous cysts.

The factors that increase the susceptibility to sebaceous cysts are as follows:

  • People with acne history are more prone to sebaceous cysts.
  • Risk of getting sebaceous cysts is more when injuries or abrasions occur.
  • In normal course, sebaceous cysts do not affect people before puberty
  • In comparison to women, men are more prone to sebaceous cysts.
  • Continuous exposure to sun which causes Milia that occurs on face is more common.

Treatment of sebaceous cysts

Sebaceous cysts which do not result in functional or cosmetic damage does not need treatment. Following medications can be provided for treating the infected, inflamed, and ruptured cysts:

  • For uninfected inflammations, triamcinolone or corticosteroids can be given.
  • Sebaceous cysts can be surgically removed forever, but only after controlling the inflammation.
  • Doctors can remove the cyst fluids by incision.
  • Procedure preferred by doctors involves removal of the cyst walls and the fluid by minimal excision,which causes minimum scarring.
  • Cysts that occur on face or on other vital parts can be vaporized, by the help of lasers, which reduce the risk of scars.

Use of oil free care products and avoidance of sun light can prevent Milia. Infection and scarring by the sebaceous cysts can be prevented if the squeezing of cysts is avoided.

Sebaceous Cyst Pictures

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