Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous Cyst: Causes & Treatment Guide

Part of maintaining optimal health is regularly scanning your skin for anything that seems out of place. The sebaceous cyst is one of the most startling details to find on your body!

When you hear cyst, you likely think of cancer or an unusual growth. As it stands, cysts are not automatically dangerous to your health. Whether or not the cyst is something you should worry about depends on a few factors.

What is a sebaceous cyst and should you be worried? Our treatment guide will steer you on the right track to feel and look your best.

What is a Cyst?

Let’s start off the article with the most common question: what is a cyst, anyway? Many people believe these strange lumps and bumps to be synonymous with cancer, but that’s rarely the case.

A cyst is a growth on the body caused by a buildup of fluid beneath the skin. These bumps are usually not cancerous and are often caused by some sort of damage or trauma to your skin. Sometimes these cysts last for years, while other cysts disappear in a matter of weeks.

What are Examples of Cysts?

You’ve likely experienced a few cysts in your life and didn’t even know it. This health problem is so common that there is an entire list of medical cysts.

Cystic Acne

Do you struggle with hormonal acne that leaves thick, painful bumps beneath the skin? Welcome to cystic acne, one of the most frustrating skin issues of all time.

Cystic acne is named because it sometimes causes a cyst due to the repeated buildup of fluid and oil beneath the skin. Contrary to popular belief, cystic acne affects women nearly as much as teenagers.

Baker’s Cysts

Do you struggle with arthritis or cartilage issues? You can also find a cyst beneath your knee from constant overwork, sometimes called the Baker’s cyst.

Breast Cysts

These cysts are often alarming due to their placement but are generally harmless. These cysts are caused by hormonal changes and fluid gathering beneath the skin.

While these cysts sometimes grow or shrink in size due to hormone changes, they are often painless and don’t turn into cancerous growths.

Related: What Exactly is Skin Brightening?

What is a Sebaceous Cyst?

The sebaceous cyst is one of the most common cysts out there. These bumps usually show up on the back or the face, though they sometimes show on your scalp.

If you’ve ever steamed your face to clear your pores, you already understand how cysts form. Your skin comprises thousands of complex glands that open, close, and expel fluid. When a gland gets clogged, cysts form due to excess oil or fluid having nowhere to go.

What Causes a Sebaceous Cyst?

Frustratingly enough, sebaceous cysts are caused by several factors. Damage to your body’s cells during surgery or genetic conditions are able to cause sebaceous cysts.

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What Does a Sebaceous Cyst Look Like?

You’ll know you have a sebaceous cyst from its appearance. If your bump lingers for weeks or months at a time, you likely have a cyst on your hands.

Cysts are usually quite soft and filled with keratin (the material responsible for your hair and nails). Larger cysts are sometimes painful or sensitive, though that doesn’t automatically make it dangerous.

When Does a Sebaceous Cyst Become Serious?

Do you attempt to remove your cyst with no success? Does it often look reddened, inflamed, or infected? 

These are the cysts you should take to a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will use a blend of technology and hands-on analysis to determine the nature of the cyst, such as:

  • Ultrasounds
  • CT scans
  • Skin samples

Related: How Often Should You Get a Chemical Peel?

How Do You Treat a Sebaceous Cyst?

Even if your sebaceous cyst isn’t serious, you may want to remove it for visual purposes. Cysts are very lumpy and are difficult to cover up with foundation.

Drain the Cyst with Punch Biopsy Excision

Since cysts are filled with fluid, a punch biopsy excision will gradually drain the site with a small hole. If you’ve ever drained a blister, you have some idea of how this process works.

Conventional Wise Incision for Fast Removal

If you’ve attempted to remove your cyst with no success, a doctor will be able to successfully remove it with surgery. Keep in mind that even minimally invasive surgery can cause scarring, so choose this option carefully.

Minimal Excision With More Risk

If you want to avoid a scar, try minimal excision. This treatment is less invasive, but there’s a higher chance your cyst will return.

Salicylic Acid is an Effective Tool

Don’t pick at your cyst! Try using salicylic acid treatment to whittle it down naturally. This useful tool removes dead skin and sucks up excess oil to heal your cyst faster.

However, this treatment is not recommended for anyone with an NSAID allergy.

Related: What Causes Crepey Skin? (How to Get Rid of It)

Never Struggle with Sebaceous Cysts Again! 

The sebaceous cyst is alarming in theory, but often quite mild in practice. Similar to a zit or a blister, the cyst is a particularly stubborn bump filled with fluid.

A doctor is able to diagnose and remove your cyst using a variety of surgeries or draining techniques. If your cyst is particularly large or painful, we highly recommend you seek medical treatment to ensure it’s nothing serious. While the vast majority of cysts are noncancerous, they can occasionally become infected or grow into a tumor.

We want to empower you to bolster your skin health, one home spa session at a time. Contact us today to begin crafting your ultimate skincare routine.

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