What are the symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts?
Sebaceous Cysts will usually cause no additional symptoms beyond the cysts themselves. In some circumstances, they may:
- become infected - causing them to become red, inflamed and painful. In this situation, it is typical to treat them with antibiotics.
- cause discharge - usually indicating that the cyst has been punctured or damaged. This may increase the chances of it becoming infected.
- grow a small horn or spike - often due to an overproduction of keratin, a protein which affects hair growth. This is usually no cause for concern, but it is best to let your doctor know if you experience this or any other change to your cyst.
What are the early signs of Sebaceous Cysts?
Sebaceous Cysts are difficult to spot early since they are caused by damage or blockage of the sebaceous gland (the gland which produces the oil that coats your skin and hair). Scratches, surgical wounds, or skin conditions such as acne can cause trauma which allows Sebaceous Cysts to grow. They grow slowly, so the trigger for their growth may have happened several weeks or months before you start to notice the cyst.
What do Sebaceous Cysts look like?
Sebaceous Cysts occur under the skin and are visible only as soft lumps on the face or body. They are often pea-sized, but can grow to be a few centimetres in diameter. They will usually have a small hole in the middle called a central punctum.
Sebaceous Cysts may occasionally turn red or start to produce discharge. This is a sign that the cyst has become infected. In this circumstance, you should speak to your doctor.
What do Sebaceous Cysts feel like?
Sebaceous Cysts are soft, smooth lumps under the skin which move freely when touched. They are usually painless but may cause some discomfort if they are particularly large.
How long do Sebaceous Cysts last?
Sebaceous Cysts do not usually disappear on their own. Since they are typically harmless, it is quite common to ignore them unless they are causing you discomfort.
Sebaceous Cysts complications
Most Sebaceous Cysts will not develop any complications. If bacteria enter the cyst, then it can become infected, and you may be prescribed a course of antibiotics.
In very rare cases, a cyst can connect to the tissue beneath it and become hard and immovable. In this circumstance, the cyst will normally be surgically removed.
When should I talk to a doctor about my Sebaceous Cysts?
Sebaceous Cysts are usually harmless and do not require attention from a doctor. However, if you do discover any lumps or changes to your skin, you should always speak to a doctor to make sure it’s nothing more serious.
Sometimes sebaceous cysts may become infected or, in rare cases, cause other complications. You should speak to your doctor if your cyst:
- shows signs of infection, such as redness, pain, or discharge
- grows larger than 5cm in diameter
- produces a horn or spike on the surface of the skin
- becomes hard or immovable
- comes back very quickly after being removed