What is a Sebaceous Cyst?
A sebaceous cyst is a fluid-filled sack underneath the skin. The sac contains keratin, a form of protein that is a crucial component of skin and nails. Although a cyst of this type does not grow fast, it could result in a small visible lump. These cysts may form when the skin is traumatized or slightly injured. The hair follicles located in the skin may become irritated and may start to swell. Skin cells that are normally found on the surface may find their way into these swollen sections where they continue to increase in number until they form and fill a sac.
Sebaceous Cyst Symptoms
A sebaceous cyst normally does not cause any pain. This is why the only visible sign that you have it is a lump or bump in your skin. In some cases the lump may be so small that it may not be visible but it will be obvious to the touch. A sebaceous cyst is not overly hard and can move freely and painlessly once prodded. Cysts can be found on the face, neck, stomach, scalp, breast and genitals. Occasionally, cysts can be big and may cause some discomfort.
Not every sebaceous cyst stays as a lump. A cyst could become infected especially when it is overly prodded or if it is punctured. In this case, it may become red and inflamed. An abscess will also form and the fluid will start to seep out. The fluid is often yellowish, slightly sticky and has a bad odor.
Treatment of a Sebaceous Cyst
You don’t have to do anything to a sebaceous cyst. It often disappears on its own. In case there is a real need to remove a cyst, a doctor may inject it with antibiotics or steroids. It may also be removed through a minor surgical procedure. If a cyst is not properly removed, it could form again.
In some cases, a cyst will respond well to warm moisture. It may help if you put a warm and damp cloth over a cyst for several days. Keeping the skin area clean and dry is also recommended.
Seeing Your Doctor
It is fairly easy for anyone to detect a sebaceous cyst. Even non-medical practitioners can recognize a cyst upfront. Do remember though that there are other conditions that could cause lumps underneath the skin. Even if a lump closely resembles a cyst, you should rather be safe than sorry. You might need to see your doctor who is the best authority to confirm that it is a cyst. If the lump looks suspicious or is located in a crucial part of the body, fluid from the cyst may have to be taken out for a test or biopsy.
You would truly be fortunate if all you have is a sebaceous cyst. You may just have to wait it out.