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Sebaceous cysts are common, noncancerous cysts of the skin. Cysts are atypical growths in your body that may contain liquid or semiliquid material.
Sebaceous cysts are mostly found on your face, neck, or torso. They grow slowly and aren’t life threatening, but they may become uncomfortable if they go unchecked. Doctors usually diagnose a cyst with only a physical examination and your medical history. In some cases, a cyst will be examined more thoroughly for signs of cancer.

Causes of a Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous cysts form out of your sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland produces oil (called sebum) that coats your hair and skin.
Cysts can develop if the gland or its duct (the passage from which the oil is able to leave) becomes damaged or blocked. This usually occurs due to trauma to the area.
The trauma may be a scratch, a surgical wound, or a skin condition, such as acne. Sebaceous cysts grow slowly, so the trauma may have occurred weeks or months before you notice the cyst.

Treatment of a Sebaceous Cyst

Your doctor may use one of the following methods to remove your cyst:

  • Conventional wide excision: This completely removes a cyst but can leave a long scar.
  • Minimal excision: A method that causes minimal scarring but carries a risk that the cyst will return.
  • Laser with punch biopsy excision: This uses a laser to make a small hole to drain the cyst of its contents (the outer walls of the cyst are removed about a month later).
After your cyst is removed, your doctor may give you an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. You should use this until the healing process is complete. You may also be given a scar cream to reduce the appearance of any surgical scars.