What is a sebaceous cyst?

A cyst usually is a slow-growing lump that can move easily under the skin. The term “sebaceous cyst” refers to either an epidermoid cyst, which originates from the skin, or a pilar cyst, which comes from hair follicles.

These cysts are closed sacs that can be found under the skin of the entire body (except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet). A foul odor may be noticed from the overlying skin.

What causes sebaceous cysts?

Sebaceous cysts may be caused by blocked glands or swollen hair follicles in the skin. Trauma to skin has been reported, as well. Cysts sometimes are inherited.

What are the symptoms of sebaceous cysts?

The main symptom of a sebaceous cyst is a small lump under the skin. The lump is usually not painful. In some cases, however, cysts can get inflamed and become tender to the touch. The skin on the area of the cyst may be red and/or warm. Drainage from the cyst will appear grayish-white and cheese-like, and will have a foul smell.

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