Center for Advanced Wound Care

The Complete Guide to Sebaceous Cysts: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Cysts in general are quite uncomfortable and unhealthy for our body, but when it comes to sebaceous cysts, these are like the benign growths under the skin’s surface that frequently originate from clogged sebaceous glands that produce keratin and sebum. Now, even though they are usually benign, if left untreated, they can cause discomfort and consequences. 


Regardless of whether the cysts are benign or not, it is advised to get treatment to avoid even the slightest possibility of any future issues. This article is perfect for you if you want to know more about sebaceous cysts. Scroll down and learn about this prevalent dermatological issue so that you may make wise choices regarding your well-being and we will give you more details on sebaceous cyst wound care.

Understanding Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are closed, noncancerous sacs under the skin that are filled with sebum—a sticky, greasy material. They frequently develop on the face, neck, chest, or back and are usually caused by damaged sebaceous glands or clogged hair follicles. These cysts are often painless, but if they are agitated, they may become sensitive, infectious, or inflammatory. 


Even though they are usually safe, if they are uncomfortable or creating cosmetic problems, you should see a doctor. Drainage, corticosteroid injections, or surgical excision are available treatment options, especially if the condition is severe or recurring. For the best possible results and to avoid problems, a healthcare professional’s proper diagnosis and management are essential.

Differences Between Sebaceous Cysts, Epidermoid Cysts, And Other Types Of Skin Cysts


Epidermoid cysts form from an accumulation of skin cells and keratin; sebaceous cysts are the result of blocked sebaceous glands, which produce sebum. While epidermoid cysts can grow anywhere on the body, sebaceous cysts are more common in places rich in sebaceous glands, such as the face, neck, or back. 


Some skin cysts, such as pilar cysts, are made of keratinized cells and originate from hair follicles. While epidermoid and sebaceous cysts are benign, other forms could point to underlying medical issues. The location and kind of cyst will determine the best course of action for draining or excision. A health professional’s expertise is necessary for a precise diagnosis and suitable treatment.

Symptoms and Signs

Typical symptoms of sebaceous cysts 


  • Visible Bumps: The most obvious symptom is the appearance of a smooth, spherical lump on the skin that is visible.
  • Skin Discoloration: If the cyst becomes irritating or infected, the surrounding skin may seem reddish or inflamed.
  • Tenderness or Pain: Around the cyst, there may be tenderness or pain due to inflammation or infection.
  • Drainage: Sebum, a viscous, pungent-smelling material, may come out of the cyst if it bursts or is otherwise disturbed.
  • Expanded Dimensions: Sebaceous cyst wounds have the potential to expand over time.


Possible side effects and warning indicators


  • Infection:Bacteria can invade the cyst and cause greater discomfort, redness, warmth, and potentially even infection or fever.
  • Inflammation: Reactions involving inflammation may result in the cyst being bigger, more sensitive, or resembling a whitehead.
  • Rupture: The cyst may burst due to trauma or manipulation, allowing its contents to seep into the surrounding tissues and perhaps inciting an inflammatory reaction.
  • Recurrence: Sebaceous cysts may return if they are not completely eliminated or if the underlying cause—blocked glands, for example—does not go away.


Severe pain, bleeding outside the cyst, rapid changes in size, fever, pus leakage, and redness beyond the cyst are warning indications that should be taken seriously.

Risk Factors and Causes

There are numerous factors that easily influence the formation of sebaceous cysts. One of the main reasons is the blockage of sebaceous gland ducts, which results in sebum buildup. Now let’s learn the other reasons.

Genetic predispositions

Do you know that you can inherit cyst-causing genes? Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to the development of sebaceous cysts.

Excessive sebum production

When sebum, a natural waxy oil produced by glands, is overproduced, it leads to the formation of sebaceous cysts. 

Inflammatory skin conditions 

If your skin has inflammation that appears in acne or other skin conditions, it can lead to the formation of sebaceous cysts.

Hormonal changes

Variations in hormone levels can impact how much sebum is produced by the skin’s glands. This is why sebaceous cyst formation is high during menopause, pregnancy, or puberty.

Trauma or injury


When your skin experiences any physical trauma or injury, it can stop or disturb the normal functioning of sebaceous glands, leading to cyst development.



If you see any strange growths or lumps on your skin, especially if they are painful, swollen, or increasing in size quickly, you should consult a doctor at a wound treatment center.


General practitioners, dermatologists, and primary care physicians may be involved in the diagnosis of sebaceous cysts. These experts can evaluate the symptoms, location, and appearance of the cyst to decide on the best course of action.

Diagnostic procedures and tests


A physical examination of the afflicted region is usually necessary for the diagnosis of sebaceous cysts. In certain situations, medical professionals could carry out further testing, including ultrasound imaging, to confirm the diagnosis or assess the location and size of the cyst.


Sebaceous cysts may sometimes mimic lipomas, abscesses, or epidermoid cysts, among other skin diseases. So, differential diagnosis, a process of separating sebaceous cysts from other disorders by evaluating characteristics such as the cyst’s consistency, location, and appearance, is done. Healthcare practitioners can distinguish between distinct skin lesions and choose the best course of action for therapy by using biopsy samples, imaging tests, and clinical evaluation.

Treatment Options


When it comes to treatment options, there are different kinds of treatment and advanced wound care options that you might seek, depending on a subjective case to case basis. On an overall general idea, here is some information to help you understand it better.

What are the medical interventions?


  • Antibiotics for infected cysts: In order to battle bacterial overgrowth and stop additional problems, antibiotics are administered to treat infected sebaceous cysts. They aid in decreasing inflammation and limiting the transmission of infections.


  • Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroid injections into the cyst have the potential to lower inflammation and decrease cyst size. For big or inflammatory cysts that are not suited for surgical excision, this therapy is very helpful.


  • Incision and drainage: To relieve pressure and discomfort, a little incision is made in the cyst to allow its contents to be drained. Cysts that are sick or uncomfortable are usually the targets of this procedure.


What are the surgical treatments?


  • Excision techniques: Under local or general anesthesia, the whole cyst and its capsule are removed during a surgical excision. This approach lowers the chance of recurrence and guarantees total removal.


  • Minimal excision: This type of excision entails cutting a small opening in the skin, removing the cyst wall first, and then extracting the contents of the cyst. In comparison to standard excision, it leaves fewer scars and requires less time to recover from.


  • Laser therapy: The cyst lining can be destroyed and the contents can be vaporized using laser therapy. It provides a less intrusive choice that heals more quickly and leaves fewer scars.


  • Benefits and drawbacks of surgical options: Surgical procedures provide the benefit of completely removing cysts, which lowers the likelihood of recurrence. They might, however, come with hazards, including infection, scarring, and difficulties with anesthesia.


Alternative Therapies And At-Home Care


  • Suggested home treatment methods for tiny, non-infected cysts: Warm compresses should be used to encourage drainage and lessen inflammation while caring for tiny, non-infected cysts at home.


  • When to avoid home treatments: Cysts that are infectious or producing excruciating pain or inflammation shouldn’t be treated at home. In these situations, getting medical help is crucial to avoiding problems.


  • Complementary therapies: The effectiveness of complementary therapies includes their ability to reduce inflammation and accelerate healing. Examples of complementary therapies include tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and topical lotions. Though their effectiveness varies, they need to be used cautiously and under a doctor’s supervision.

Prevention and Management

A change in lifestyle as basic as making the routine healthier in terms of sleep and food can be good enough to prevent such cysts. The cysts can also be avoided by taking good care of the skin. Use good skin care products to exfoliate and cleanse your skin, which can prevent irritation and cysts instantly. Try using these basic methods to avoid medical procedures for the removal of cysts overall.

Living with Sebaceous Cysts

Living with sebaceous cysts can be tough sometimes, as even though these are benign cysts, they do end up causing discomfort, which is also psychologically related. People get affected in terms of stress, anxiety, and more. To avoid such problems, keep talking to people around you, choose to effectively use your coping mechanisms. Create an open communication space and also talk to someone professional if you need to.

Future Directions

The cyst removal post care and the management of sebaceous cysts will move forward in light of current research trends and newly developed therapies that seek to enhance therapeutic results and diagnostic precision. Personalized medicine techniques may be made possible by genetic research that sheds light on the characteristics that predispose someone to produce cysts. Technological developments like minimally invasive treatments and imaging techniques have the potential to improve treatment outcomes and diagnosis. 


So, the management and results of sebaceous cysts can only be improved by the joint efforts of researchers, doctors, and technology developers.


To conclude, now that you know the important information about the sebaceous cysts, you understand that the treatment is also quite important for them. Moreover, if you have already suffered from these cysts, you should also avoid the risk of their development again with the help of appropriate skin care practices. Long-term care is quite crucial for coping with these after-effects of sebaceous cysts. So, ensure that you make the care a part of your daily routine to avoid missing it out.


We hope that the article was helpful, but apart from that, we highly advise you to seek proper consultation and treatment from top wound care treatment centers like the Center for Advanced Wound Care. If you are looking for expert treatment and care, get in touch with us. 



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