A sebaceous cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. Sebaceous cysts are commonly seen on the scalp, labia, scrotum, chest, and back, but can be found anywhere on the body. A foul odor is also often present in the substance called keratin which fills sebaceous cysts. Keratin is a protein that creates the sac of cells called sebaceous cysts. The bumps or lumps you can feel under your skin are actually the sac of cells. Sebaceous cysts are often the result of swollen hair follicles, or skin trauma. The scalp, ears, back, face, and upper arm, are common sites for sebaceous cysts, though they may occur anywhere on the body except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In males a common place for them to develop is the scrotum and chest.
They are more common in hairier areas, where in cases of long duration they could result in hair loss on the skin surface immediately above the cyst. The main symptom is usually a small, non-painful lump beneath the skin. Small lumps or bumps that occur just under the skin of the genitalia, breast, abdomen, face, neck, or elsewhere on the body are the most common symptom of sebaceous cysts. Sebaceous cysts may occasionally become infected and form into painful abscesses. It is important when sebaceous cysts are surgically removed that the entire sac is excised to help prevent a recurrence. large cysts may reappear and may have to be surgically removed. If a cyst becomes infected, treatment may include administering antibiotics and then surgically removing the cyst.
Surgical excision of a sebaceous cyst is a simple procedure to completely remove the sac and its contents. Total excision surgical technique removes the entire cyst and so prevents recurrence. Home treatment of sebaceous (epidermal) cyst, may relieve symptoms but may not make the cyst go away. Apply warm, wet washcloths to the lump for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. Inject an inflamed but uninfected epidermoid cyst with a corticosteroid to help reduce the inflammation. To minimize scarring use a carbon dioxide laser to vaporize an epidermoid cyst on your face or other sensitive area. Avoiding excessive sun exposure and using oil-free skin care products can help prevent milia. To prevent scarring and infection, don't try to squeeze cysts yourself.
Sebaceous Cysts Treatmen and Prevention Tips
1. Do not squeeze, scratch, drain, open (lance), or puncture the lump.
2. Keep the area clean by washing the lump and surrounding skin well with an antibacterial soap.
3. Apply warm, wet washcloths to the lump for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
4. Avoiding excessive sun exposure and using oil-free skin care products can help prevent milia.
5. Prophylactic tetracycline or erythromycin ointment is applied once, 1 hour after delivery.