Cysts are sac-like structures in the skin that can be filled with fluid, semisolid, or gaseous substances and occur on the face, body, or scalp. While some cysts are microscopic, others are large and very noticeable. Although cysts do not always indicate a medical issue, they can be uncomfortable and take away your confidence. Fortunately, cysts do not typically cause any pain unless they are inflamed, infected, or have ruptured.
Types of Cysts
There are three main types of cysts as outlined below:
- Milia. Milia are very small cysts that resemble whiteheads and almost always occur on the face.
- Epidermoid. Epidermoid or sebaceous cysts are the most common types of cysts that can be found on any part of the body. These cysts are mobile and soft and can range in size from a half inch to several inches.
- Pilar. The firm, rubbery type of cysts that are genetic and typically seen on the scalp are referred to as pilar cysts.
Causes of Cysts
Some of the most common causes of cysts include:
- Clogged sebaceous or oil glands
- Genetic or environmental conditions
- Blockages of ducts that cause a buildup of fluids
- Impact injuries that lead to broken blood vessels
The Importance of Medical Evaluation of Cysts
If you notice a cyst that has developed on your skin, you should visit our office to get it properly diagnosed and ensure that it is benign rather than the sign of an underlying medical condition. In the event that we suspect that your cyst is problematic, a biopsy may be recommended.
How are Cysts Treated
The treatment of cysts depend on their size, location, and severity. At Blue Ridge Dermatology, we offer several treatment options for cysts including:
- Cortisone injections that will shrink the targeted tissue
- Drainage which involves squeezing out the contents of cysts with a sharp tool
- Surgical removal which is when the cysts are entirely excised and local anesthesia is administered
Prior to prescribing a treatment, we’ll take a look at your medical history as well as the severity of your cyst. It’s important to note that you should never attempt to remove your cyst on your own. Although it may be tempting, squeezing or popping a cyst may cause its regrowth, spread infection, or injure healthy tissue. You should also avoid using over-the-counter medications intended to remove warts in order to treat your cyst.