What Are Epidermoid Cysts and How Are They Treated?

Skin cysts occur when dead skin cells block pores. Skin cysts, or epidermoid cysts (also known as a sebaceous cyst) can appear anywhere on the body, with the exception of the palms of the hand and soles of the feet. Skin cysts can often be remedied by draining them; however, these types of cysts may also require the assistance of a skincare professional, or dermatologist.

What is a skin cyst?

A skin cyst is a raised bump on the skin that can be red and irritated. Some epidermoid cysts are painful to touch, while others are not.  These types of cysts usually feel like a lump just under the skin.

What causes a skin cyst?

Since the pore is blocked, the body tries to break down the blockage. As part of the body’s natural response, a white substance forms within the skin cyst. These cysts can be drained by pressing on them, but that’s not always the case. If the cyst is not inflamed or infected, it will heal up after it is drained. If it is inflamed, it may be called an abscess. The cyst may rupture on its own, which will produce a painful bump. If this happens, a dermatologist should look at it.

In some cases, a person may find it difficult or painful to drain the cyst, or it may have become infected. A dermatologist can surgically remove a cyst, which will usually prevent its recurrence. A small scar will result. If the epidermoid cyst was infected, the dermatologist will prescribe medication to prevent the spread of the infection and help the body heal.

Skin cysts are different from pimples or acne in that skin cysts are typically larger. However, severe acne can evolve into cysts. This type of inflammatory acne is more likely to result in scarring. Treating skin lesions early on will lessen the likelihood of further inflammation and scarring, which is why it’s so important to seek the guidance of a dermatologist.

There is a variety of procedures that can be done to treat skin cysts, including surgically removing the cyst or through medicinal treatment of the associated inflammation or infection. Laser treatment cannot only treat skin cysts, but can also help remove acne scars that result in the removal of the cysts.

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