Sebaceous cysts can become very large. They form when the sebaceous gland gets blocked. Depending on their size and where they’re located, they can be very uncomfortable. Read on to learn what causes sebaceous cysts, and how we treat them at Discovery Laser.
Our sebaceous glands are the glands responsible for producing sebum – the oil that keeps human skin lubricated. The sebaceous glands are connected to the hair follicle via a duct through which oil seeps out onto the skin’s surface.
If the sebaceous gland or the duct gets clogged, it will start to fill up with skin protein called keratin – the same material that our hair and nails are made of. This can happen when the skin experiences trauma or if there is a problem with the shape of the duct.
This process is very slow, so you may only notice a sebaceous cyst once it reaches a large size.
A sebaceous cyst can show up anywhere on the body where we have sebaceous glands. In other words, the only parts of your body where you can’t develop a sebaceous cyst are the palms of your hand and the soles of your feet.
The more sebaceous glands in an area, the likelier the chance of a cyst developing. At Discovery Laser, we often see patients with cysts on the face, neck, or torso.
The only way to get rid of a sebaceous cyst is by excision, which means removing the entirety of the cyst.
Doctors will often just make a small cut in the skin, and then squeeze out the cyst. The problem is that this can leave behind a scar, and if the cyst isn’t drained completely, it can build up again.
At Discovery Laser, we remove sebaceous cysts safely and with minimal pain using a machine called Lamprobe. Lamprobe allows us to extract the sebaceous cyst completely. Once we remove the cyst, we use Lamprobe to treat the area with radiofrequency that cauterizes the skin.
This guarantees better healing with a significantly smaller chance of scarring or of your cyst rearing its ugly head again!
If you’re not a medical professional, you shouldn’t attempt to squeeze out a sebaceous cyst. Sebaceous cysts are located deep in the skin, so it’s very difficult to extract them safely at home. There’s a serious risk of developing an infection or scarring. In a medical setting, lancing and extracting a sebaceous cyst without risk of infection is possible, but there’s still a chance of scarring.
Sebaceous cysts are filled with keratin, which is the protein human skin produces. Sometimes, the keratin can harden, which makes the bump feel firmer to the touch.
Occasionally, your sebaceous cyst can fade on its own, especially if it hasn’t had the chance to grow too large. In most cases, however, sebaceous cysts stick around until they’re removed.
Sebaceous cysts are often mistaken for epidermoid cysts. The main difference is that epidermoid cysts form closer to the surface of the skin, near the top of the hair follicle. A doctor will be able to tell the difference between the two, but the treatments are very similar.