Have you found a slow-growing bump on your face, neck, or torso? Is this bump painless but filled with liquid? Is it soft to the touch? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may have sebaceous cysts. Sebaceous cysts are typically painless and are non-life-threatening.
Sebaceous cysts are bumps filled with flakes of keratin and other genetic materials. These smooth, round bumps are typically soft to the touch and relatively painless. Sebaceous cysts are slow-growing and are usually non-cancerous. However, there may be some cases in which the cyst is classified by a dermatologist as abnormal. These abnormal cysts are biopsied and tested for cancer. Though normal sebaceous cysts aren’t detrimental to your health, if they are left untreated, they may begin to cause general discomfort.
Sebaceous cysts grow from within your sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for producing your body’s natural oil, also known as sebum and can be found all over your body. Sebaceous glands supply the oil to your skin and hair via ducts that act as a “sebum highway”. When these ducts, or highways become damaged or deformed, a build-up of sebum, keratin, and other semi-liquid materials will block the passageway. Sebaceous glands and ducts can become damaged from a scratch, surgical injury, or acne. Duct deformity could also be the result of a genetic disorder like Gardner’s syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between sebaceous cysts and acne. What makes sebaceous cysts stand out is the fact that it is filled with liquid. When you touch it, it should feel soft and possibly squishy. Sebaceous cysts also differ from acne due to its orientation. These cysts begin its growth from deep within the skin unlike acne which grows on top. Another way to determine if you have sebaceous cysts is to take note of where it is. Cysts, while they can grow on the face like acne, typically grow on the neck, back, chest, and even the scalp. While you can use these characteristics to identify sebaceous cysts, you should visit a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.
Sebaceous cysts aren’t typically a major problem, however, treatment isn’t as simple as one would think. Unlike acne, sebaceous cysts won’t just disappear with a diet change, cosmetic treatments, or facial creams. Cysts can only be treated by way of draining or surgical removal.
In draining, your dermatologist will either use a laser or scalpel to make an incision and drain the fluids inside the cysts. This technique flattens the cysts and leaves little room for it to grow back. Surgical removal, on the other hand, is typically reserved for cysts that have grown to an uncomfortably large size. The procedure often leaves a scar and with the possibility that the cyst may grow back.
The type of treatment you receive will be based on the size and placement of your cysts. To get personalized advice, visit a dermatologist. If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area then you’re in luck. Our experts at The Dermatology Group are here to help you explore treatment options, give you advice, resources, and more. Give us a call today!