What is Sebaceous cyst?

Every so often labeled as an epidermal cyst, a sebaceous cyst is a sac below the skin which is filled with a fatty, cheesy-like, greasy substance.

Different factors predispose the person to develop sebaceous cyst. It could be a hereditary factor, high levels of testosterone, skin trauma or plugged sebaceous glands. Most often, it crops up from swollen hair follicles.

The major clinical manifestation is typically a minor, slow-growing, non-painful, freely movable nodule underneath the skin. Sebaceous cysts are most common to appear on the face, neck, chest and back. Yet, when infected, inflammation of the skin over the area occurs. The cyst may drain a cheesy, grayish-white and offensive smelling matter. These mobile bumps contain fibrous tissues, viscous, serosanguinous fluid, and a keratinous substance which gives off the characteristic foot odor smell.

It is best to ignore them because most often, sebaceous cysts disappear over time and are not dangerous. However these cysts may become inflamed and painful when attempted to squeeze. They may grow large enough and when this occurs, surgery may be compulsory for it to be excised. If they remain small, they can be treated with a steroid injection to reduce swelling. Another familiar and effective approach to help the cyst drain and heal is the placement of a warm compress directly over the area for about 15 minutes, two times a day for a duration of 10 days.

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