Epidermoid cyst

Epidermoid cyst

Epidermoid cysts are lumps under the skin that are not cancerous. These cysts can appear anywhere on the skin, but are more common on the face, neck, head, back, and genital area.

Physically, the epidermoid cyst is yellow-brown in color and contains a thick, odorous fluid. These cysts can be the size of a marble to the size of a ping pong ball.

Epidermoid cysts, also known as atheroma cysts , are benign lumps that rarely cause health problems. However, in some cases,  these cysts  can interfere with appearance, feel painful, rupture, or even cause infection.

Causes of Epidermoid Cysts

Epidermoid cysts grow when dead skin cells get trapped under the skin. This condition can be triggered by an injury to the skin,  HPV infection ,  acne , or excessive sun exposure.

Epidermoid cysts can affect anyone, but people who have gone through puberty and have acne-prone skin are more at risk.

Epidermoid Cyst Symptoms

Symptoms of an epidermoid cyst are the appearance of a lump under the skin on one part of the body, for example on  the wrist . Epidermoid cyst lumps have several characteristics, namely:

  • From the size of a marble to the size of a ping pong ball
  • It usually appears on the face, upper body, or neck
  • Black comedones  appear  at the top of the lump
  • The area around the cyst becomes red and swollen when it becomes inflamed or infected
  • Thick, yellow discharge that smells bad when the cyst bursts

When to see a doctor

Although epidermoid cysts are not  cancer  and rarely cause serious problems, any lump that appears on the body needs to be seen by a doctor.

You also need to consult a doctor if you have an epidermoid cyst:

  • Disturbing appearance
  • Grows on fingers or toes
  • It's growing fast
  • Ruptured, painful, or infected

Diagnosis of Epidermoid Cyst

Doctors can determine epidermoid cysts by looking at the characteristics of the lump. However, if needed,  the dermatologist  will take tissue samples or cyst fluid for examination in the laboratory ( biopsy ). A biopsy can be done at the time of surgical removal of the epidermoid cyst.

Epidermoid Cyst Treatment

Epidermoid cysts can stop growing and even go away on their own without treatment. However, if the cyst causes discomfort or interferes with appearance, the doctor can perform the following treatment methods:

  • Minor surgery, to remove the entire cyst
  • Drug injections, to reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Making a small incision in the cyst, to remove the contents in it
  • Laser therapy , to shrink the cyst

Keep in mind, do not squeeze the cyst, because it can cause infection. If you just squeeze it, the cyst can grow back. If the cyst bursts and releases fluid, cover it with a bandage and then go to the doctor immediately.

Epidermoid cyst complications

A number of complications that can occur due to epidermoid cysts are:

  • Inflammation of the area around the cyst
  • Infection, especially due to squeezing the cyst until it ruptures
  • Cysts grow back, especially if not treated with surgery

Although very rare, epidermoid cysts can also turn into  skin cancer .

Prevention of Epidermoid Cysts

Not yet known how to prevent epidermoid cysts. However, if you have an epidermoid cyst, do not squeeze or pop the cyst to prevent infection.

If the epidermoid cyst is infected or inflamed, immediately go to the doctor to get treatment.

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