What is a sebaceous cyst?

A sebaceous cyst is a type of cyst that forms in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. A sebaceous cyst is also sometimes called an epidermal cyst. It forms when a sebaceous gland, an oil-producing gland in the skin, becomes blocked. This creates a sac that fills with a fatty yellow substance that can resemble cottage cheese.

Skin Problems Spotlight

Sebaceous cysts can be caused by skin trauma, swollen hair follicles, and high levels of testosterone. The primary symptom of a sebaceous cyst is a painless nodule or pale lump in the skin. Sebaceous cysts are very common. They are not cancerous and are generally not a serious condition.

In some cases, a sebaceous cyst can become infected. Seek prompt medical careif you have a sebaceous cyst or a lump on the skin that becomes tender, painful, red, or warm to the touch.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of a sebaceous cyst?

A sebaceous cyst appears as a painless round bump in the skin. Sebaceous cysts vary in size, are generally pale colored, and are movable under the skin. Sebaceous cysts can occur anywhere on the body except on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. They tend to arise in places that are hairy, such as the scalp and the scrotum and chest in men. They are also common on the face, ears and arms.... Read more about sebaceous cystsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes a sebaceous cyst?

A sebaceous cyst occurs when an oil-secreting gland (sebaceous gland) in the skin becomes blocked. This creates a sac that fills with a fatty yellow substance. Sebaceous cysts are more likely to occur if you have the following risk factors:... Read more about sebaceous cystcauses

TREATMENTS

How is a sebaceous cyst treated?

Because sebaceous cysts are generally harmless and cause no pain, they may require no treatment. Sebaceous cysts may also go away without any treatment or by simply applying a warm compress a couple of times a day to help the cyst to drain or reabsorb into the body.... Read more about sebaceous cysttreatments

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian MD Last Annual Review Date: Apr 18, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails


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