Sebaceous cysts are small lumps or bumps just under the skin arising from the sweat glands/sebaceous glands. To be more specific, they are closed sacs that contain keratin - a "pasty" or "cheesy" looking protein that often has a foul odor.
Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of your skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles. A hair follicle is a small hole in your skin that an individual hair grows out of. The purpose of sebaceous glands is to lubricate the hair and the skin in order to stop it drying out. The glands do this by producing an oily substance called sebum. In acne, the glands begin to produce too much sebum. The excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and both substances form a plug in the follicle.
Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles, resulting in papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
What Causes Sebaceous Cysts?
Sebaceous cysts are often the result of swollen hair follicles or skin trauma.
Symptoms and Signs/Symptoms of Infection
Sebaceous cysts are usually painless, slow-growing, small bumps or lumps that move freely under the skin. It's important not to touch or try to remove the substance inside to prevent tenderness, swelling, and infection of a sebaceous cyst.
Occasionally, infections may occur. Signs or symptoms that may indicate infection of sebaceous cysts include:
- Increased temperature of the skin over the bumps or lumps
- Greyish white, cheesy, foul-smelling material draining from the bump or lump
How Are Sebaceous Cysts Diagnosed?
Sebaceous cysts, to the trained eye, are usually easily diagnosed by their appearance. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other conditions with a similar appearance. You should see your doctor to get a formal diagnosis if you suspect that you have a sebaceous cyst.
Treatments for Sebaceous Cysts
Sebaceous cysts are not dangerous. As stated, however, they may become inflamed and tender. Sometimes sebaceous cysts grow large enough that they may interfere with
your everyday life. When this happens, surgical removal may be necessary. Small inflamed cysts can often be treated with antibiotics.
Complications of Sebaceous Cysts
If sebaceous cysts become infected, they can form into painful abscess