EPIDERMOID CYSTS

epidermoid cysts

Epidermoid cysts are noncancerous small bumps beneath the skin. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but are often found on the head, neck, back, or genitals. They range in size from very small (millimeters) to inches across. They look like a small bump, and the overlying skin can be skin-colored, whitish, or yellowish in color.

Epidermoid cysts are slow-growing and often painless, so they rarely cause problems. One might choose to have a cyst removed by a doctor if its appearance bothers or if it’s painful, ruptured, or infected.

Many people refer to epidermoid cysts as sebaceous cysts, but they’re different. True sebaceous cysts are less common. They arise from the glands that secrete oily matter that lubricates hair and skin (sebaceous glands).

Frequently Asked Questions

The buildup of trapped keratin usually causes epidermoid cysts. Keratin is a protein that occurs naturally in skin cells. Cysts develop when the protein is trapped below the skin because of disruption to the skin or to a hair follicle.

These cysts may develop for a number of reasons, but trauma to the skin is typically thought to be the main cause.

Most cysts don’t cause problems or need treatment. But if a cyst is a concern to you for any reason, then it can be treated by simple surgery (excision) with removal of the cyst and cyst wall.

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