Sebaceous cysts are also known as epidermoid (skin) and pilar (scalp) cysts

We have all seen sebaceous cysts on family members or friends and whilst they are harmless and range in size from a few millimetres up to about five centimetres. They are more embarrassing than harmful and it is for this reason that most patients choose to have a cosmetic procedure to remove them.

Sebaceous Cyst

By definition, cyst is a closed sac that has two main features:

  • A lining
  • Contents that are liquid or semi-solid

Most everyone at some time will have tried to squeeze or pick at cysts, the result of this action can irritate the cyst, make it painful and in turn may cause an infection. They usually grow in size very slowly and develop underneath the skin surface and that is why squeezing them does not result in getting rid of them.

If you leave behind any of the content or the lining/sac they just redevelop as there is no connection between the cyst and the skin surface.

Patients with large or painful cysts often undergo minor surgery to remove them.

The content of the cyst is usually a mixture of oil secretions, skin cells and hair follicles. They often discharge cheesy foul-smelling pus and many of you will be familiar with Facebook content which shows graphic pictures of large cysts being ‘popped’. To remove the cyst successfully however you need to remove the lining as well as the content of the sac. If you discharge the content and leave the sac it just refills.

Cysts can occur almost anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, neck, scalp and chest and back.


If you need help with a cyst please do get in touch with our team at Harley Street Skin Clinic Surrey on 01737 930400 to book an appointment or use our contact form to schedule your free consultation



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