Sebaceous cysts are common fluid-filled small bumps that occur beneath the skin. They can arise anywhere but they are usually found on the trunk of the body, neck, face and scalp. Although they can appear in people of all ages, they are more common in teenagers and adults, sometimes causing embarrassment or discomfort. Cysts are characterised by the glands from which they arise – the sebaceous glands which secrete the oily substance that lubricates hair and skin are referred to as sebaceous cysts.
Sebaceous cysts can vary in size from smaller than a pea to a few centimetres across. Cysts can slowly grow over time. In most cases sebaceous cysts are not painful. However, if they become red, tender to touch or painful, this can be a sign that the sebaceous cyst has become infected. Another telling sign of an infected sebaceous cyst is the presence of a foul-smelling pus coming out of the cyst itself.
The epidermis is made up of a fine layer of skin cells that the body usually sheds, but sometimes these cells move deeper under the skin and multiply forming a sac, causing sebaceous cysts. This abnormal development of cells may be caused by a blocked oil gland or hair follicle in the skin.
Some people are more susceptible to getting sebaceous cysts. Those who have been through puberty, or are prone to acne or have injured skin are more susceptible to getting sebaceous cysts. Sebaceous cysts are uncommon in children but occur frequently in adults. There are some rare genetic disorders such as Gardner’s syndrome that can also lead to the occurrence of these lumps on the skin. Thankfully, these can be quickly treated and removed. Sebaceous cysts are not contagious to others.
Although sebaceous cysts usually present no medical threat, removal is often sought for cosmetic reasons or even to prevent complications that can arise from an inflamed or swollen cyst. These can cause pain and will sometimes get in the way of work, sports activities and have a negative effect on lifestyle. Some cysts grow over time, in which case you may want to have them removed before they worsen. If a blackhead or foul smelling yellow liquid is present on the cyst, removal can help to avoid irritation and rupture. Although some cysts can disappear on their own, many will remain if they are not treated. With genital epidermoid cysts, discomfort as well as pain during intercourse and urination can be experienced. These are best removed early on before symptoms worsen.
Sebaceous cyst removal is a practical and safe choice for people who experience any form of discomfort from the skin condition, and at The London Dermatology CentreTM, we present a range of treatment options.
Since there are some rare cases in which sebaceous cysts have been known to become cancerous, our dermatologists will always perform a thorough analysis of the lumps during the consultation stage. If anything abnormal is found during examination, then a biopsy can be performed to promptly remove the cyst and prevent progression.
If you have a ruptured or infected cyst, then the inflammation will need to be treated before you can have the cyst removed. It is understandable to want such cysts removed quickly from the face, and our dermatologists will offer a choice of therapies for achieving this swiftly, leaving skin smooth and healthy.
Our dermatological experts treat infected and swollen cysts with a choice of steroid injections or drainage, although the latter is usually considered less effective since the cyst wall is left behind and will usually fill will fluid again. Once one of our specialists has removed the inflammation, a minor surgical procedure can then be carried out to remove the entire sebaceous cyst. If sebaceous cysts occur regularly on your skin, our dermatologists can also provide advice on skin care and preventative measures so that you can avoid getting these blemishes in the future.
At our cyst removal clinic, we employ some of the best dermatologists in the country, who are able to perform your choice of therapy to the highest standard. In the consultation stage, your specialist will assess your cyst and discuss your options, including treatment for any inflammation and removal of the sebaceous cyst.
At The London Dermatology Centre, when removing a cyst, we ensure that the whole cyst is removed so that it cannot come back some months along the line. Instead of squeezing the contents of a cyst out like some clinics advocate, we adopt a total excision method that presents an extremely low rate of recurrence. This is because the cyst wall as well as all of its contents are removed. This is chaieved through making only a small incision thereby causing minimal scarring. This method is effective for removing cysts for both cosmetic and medical reasons, and although invasive, can leave you with the peace of mind that the problem will not return.
For sebaceous cysts that are not inflamed or infected, our clinic offers a same-day removal service which can free you of your blemish in just hours. A small incision enables the removal of the entire cyst so that any concerns about it returning are also eliminated. You will be left with a small incision which will fade over time to leave a very faint scar.
If you have an infected or problematic sebaceous cyst for which you require fast and effective treatment, call our clinic in central London on 0207 467 3720 to arrange a consultation. A dermatologist will assess your skin and help you to come to a decision on a treatment option based on the cyst’s location on your body and its condition. Our goal is to leave you feeling satisfied with your final result and more comfortable in your skin.
Content by Dr Sunil Chopra and Dr Rebecca Perris.