Sebaceous Cyst: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments

Sebaceous Cyst: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments post thumbnail image

An abnormal bump that is usually filled with liquid is known as Cyst and this can happen in any part of the body. Sebaceous cysts are common on the face and neck region. Some people even have them on the torso and they are usually not dangerous in any manner. You need to remember that they are not cancerous and they do not cause any long-term damage in most cases. However, they can become uncomfortable and it can also be painful in some cases. The sebaceous gland that produces oil in the skin surface malfunctions and leads to this condition. Even though they are not dangerous, many people resort to removing them through surgery. Without using this method, there is a chance that the cyst will return after a few months. After the surgery is done, there is no risk of the cyst returning to the same area.

Symptoms of Sebaceous Cyst:

– It usually occurs in the facial region or the neck region. Some people also get them frequently behind the ear. In other cases, it can occur in different regions of the body apart from the hands and soles.

– You can easily notice a lump that is circular in shape on the skin surface. This is the first symptom of the sebaceous cyst and you will notice pain only in few cases.

– It looks like any other inflammation or infection of the skin and you can get it confirmed with your doctor.

– The cyst usually has a bad smelling liquid that appears oily and this can grow depending on various factors.

– If you notice any pain or drastic growth in the affected area, it is time to get in touch with your doctor so that you can get the required treatment at the right time.

Causes of Sebaceous Cyst:

The most reason attributed to the development of cysts on the skin is the malfunctioning of the sebaceous gland. This secretes cholesterol and wax esters along with triglycerides. It usually keeps the skin and hair healthy with the oil secretion. However, when it gets damaged due to trauma or when it gets blocked due to any other reason, it can form a cyst in the affected area. It is surprising to note that the cysts will not be formed immediately after the trauma and it may take several weeks to respond to that trauma. Even a wild scratch or another wound can trigger this condition on the affected area. In rare cases, even genetic conditions can also lead to sebaceous cysts in many individuals. You can easily treat this condition and get the cyst removed without any hassles. They rarely cause any trouble and it is only uncomfortable to have them on your body.

Diagnosis of Sebaceous Cyst:

–  Physical examination : The first step in diagnosis begins with a physical examination of the affected area. It is usually clearly visible and you will also have clear symptoms. In this way, your doctor can easily recognize a cyst on your body. However, before choosing the appropriate treatment method, it needs to be verified that the cyst is not cancerous in any manner. Remember that sebaceous cysts are not cancerous and diagnosis is needed to rule out the chance of it being cancerous. For this reason, further tests are conducted.

–  CT scan : This is the best way to identify the nature of cyst and it will clearly display any abnormalities in the scan results. Your doctor will usually recommend this before you need to go for a surgery to remove the cyst from your body. Once they have a clear idea about the cyst, they will be able to suggest the best treatment suited to your situation.

–  Ultrasound test : it is important to know the contents of the cyst before proper treatment can be initiated by the doctors. For this reason, an ultrasound scan is recommended and this will help the doctors to understand the contents of the cyst. It usually contains some liquid or semi-liquid materials like puss and this needs to be verified before beginning the treatment. In this way, it becomes clear that it is a regular cyst and not a cancerous one.

–  Biopsy : The final step in the diagnosis procedure is to remove a portion of the cyst so that it can be tested in the laboratory. This is done to check for any symptoms of cancerous cells in the cyst. In most cases, the normal sebaceous cysts are harmless and they are very much different from cancerous cysts. However, the doctors cannot confirm this condition with just physical examination and they conduct all these tests to be sure about the cyst being non-cancerous in nature.

Prevention of Sebaceous Cyst:

It is possible to prevent the occurrence of cysts on your body when you maintain proper hygiene and have nutritious food on a regular basis. Apart from that, leading a healthy lifestyle will also contribute towards lessening the chances of getting such cysts. Once you have any cysts, it is possible to reduce the symptoms and contain their growth when you choose some preventive measures.

– The basic thing you can do to prevent sebaceous cysts is to consume natural herbs as much as possible as this helps to keep your blood clean and there will be fewer chances of any infection in the future.

– Along with this, you should also make it a point to drink plenty of water on a regular basis as this will help the body to remove waste in a proper manner. It indirectly helps to purify the blood and reduces the likelihood of getting an infection.

– You should also pay attention to your diet and include lots of vitamins and minerals so that the body can function normally without any issues. This goes a long way in keeping your skin in good condition and you will have fewer infections in this manner.

– Some herbs are known to stimulate the lymphatic flow in the body and this will keep your body away from various infections.

– Whenever you are dealing with a cyst that is growing or causing any pain, you should never squeeze them or try to drain the liquid inside the cyst. It will happen on its own and you should wait until that period. It makes sense to keep the area as dry as possible so that the cyst will open up and drain out naturally. When you try to squeeze that cyst, it can become irritated and this will cause infection in some cases.

– You can also try to maintain good hygiene and keep the area as clean as possible. Make sure that you clean the area with an antibacterial liquid and this will help to reduce the symptoms in future. You will also notice that the cyst will go away naturally in quick time when you choose such options.

Treatment of Sebaceous Cyst:

Going for surgical removal is the only option left when you are suffering from this condition. It can be completed in quick time and it is rarely complicated. When you choose the minimal excision method for surgery, the scarring will be very less. However, the only drawback of this situation is that there is a risk of the cyst coming back after a few months. On the other hand, when you choose the wide excision that is usually done in this case, the cyst is removed effectively but it leaves a big scar. The other option is to use laser excision method that will create a small hole to remove the liquid from the lump. After this is done, the wound is allowed to dry naturally and some medication is used to avoid further infection. It is also possible to use some creams to reduce the scars and this will help you to get your natural skin in the long run.

Complications of Sebaceous Cyst:

– While it does not cause any dangerous consequences, it is very uncomfortable to handle sebaceous cyst as they can rupture at any time. If this happens in the facial region, it can become very uncomfortable to stay with it for a long time.

– In many cases, it can start growing and this will lead to large bumps on the face and neck region. It can also happen behind the ears and this is usually painful due to the sensitive nerves in that region. It becomes necessary to get them removed as they can lead to other infections.

– Whenever you are dealing with a painful cyst, you need to approach your doctor immediately and get proper treatment at the right time. Once it is ruled out that the cyst is not cancerous one, you can take your time to decide about the treatment. While applying some creams may give you temporary relief, you will have to choose surgical removal to get long-lasting results.

– It can leave permanent marks on the skin surface when the lump is too large. This can affect the confidence of people when it happens on the face and many people choose surgery to get the lump removed only for cosmetic reasons.

– In other cases, the cyst can become infected and this can affect the normal tissues in the surrounding area. For this reason, you should get the cyst removed as early as possible to avoid complications. When the cysts become too large, there is a chance that it will rupture and spread the puss on the skin surface. This can affect your skin and even cause infection in some cases.

Myths about Sebaceous Cyst:

Myth #1: Sebaceous cysts can turn cancerous

This is completely wrong and they are harmless in most cases. You need to clearly understand that they are not cancerous in nature and they will not become cancerous even in extreme cases. There is no reason to panic when you approach a professional doctor as they will clearly inspect the cyst and ensure that they are only sebaceous cysts and not cancerous ones before beginning the treatment.

Myth #2: Sebaceous cysts are contagious

They are not contagious and you will not catch an infection from another person. It happens when the sebaceous glands are blocked in the skin and they form lumps that contain the oil. It can be smelly and can grow due to various factors. You may get them on any part of your body even though they mainly appear on the face and neck region along with the torso. You will not get them on your hands and soles. They will not spread in your body, unlike other cysts or infection.

Myth #3: Only surgery can cure sebaceous cysts

In most cases, no treatment is needed to get relief from sebaceous cysts. They usually go away on their own within a few weeks and it is not painful in every situation. Only when the lump becomes too large to handle, you need to consider surgery as an option. Even then, you need to understand that surgery is needed only for cosmetic reasons and not because it can cause any complications in the future.


You need not worry about sebaceous cysts as they are very common and millions of people have them at some point in time in their lives. It is not painful in every case and there is no long-term damage that is caused to your body out of this condition. In most cases, they will come and go on their own without causing too much trouble. Only when they happen on the face or neck region, you may find them uncomfortable as this has an oily liquid that smells and it can rupture when it matures. For this reason, you need to take care of your health and ensure that you consume good nutritious food to keep your skin healthy and free from any infection. While using OTC medications or creams can provide relief in some cases, you need to go for surgical removal of cysts to get permanent relief. The good thing is that you will get complete cure after the surgery and there are no complications after this treatment. The only drawback is that surgery may leave a visible scar in most cases and you need to take this into consideration before going for surgery.

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