An epidermoid cyst starts out small, with a barely noticeable bump under your skin. As it gradually grows in size, you might wonder if you’re dealing with something serious. And it’s easy to feel self-conscious, especially if the cyst appears somewhere obvious, like your face.
While they aren’t cancerous, the lumps and bumps of epidermoid cysts can be stressful. And in some cases, ignoring one might lead to bothersome complications.
There’s no known way to prevent such a cyst from forming, but you can take steps to lower your risk for related problems.
At Northstar Dermatology in North Richland Hills, Texas, our expert team of board-certified dermatologists diagnoses and treats epidermoid cysts using effective tools and technologies.
Here, we explore more about these growths, including ways to guard against complications.
Your skin is made up of several layers. The top layer, known as the epidermis, is made up of cells that your skin gradually sheds and then replaces with new ones. Epidermoid cysts usually form when your skin cells move below the surface instead of shedding.
As the cells multiply like normal, they then create a wall around themselves and release normal skin fluids. That’s when you have a cyst.
Typically harmless, the slow-growing bumps often show up around hair follicles on your face, groin area, trunk, upper back, or scalp. And they range in size from a half inch to a few inches across.
The fluids released, called keratin, may drain from your cyst on their own. Most often, though, drainage happens when you bump the cyst against something. So in addition to a lump beneath your skin, the cyst may smell bad, grow red and inflamed, or leak that yellowish fluid.
If you have an epidermoid cyst, you can prevent potential infections and scarring by avoiding poking, popping, squeezing, or cutting it. If you try to fix it yourself by popping it with a needle, for example, you raise your risk for infection and scarring.
You can avoid further growth of your cyst by getting it treated in our office. Epidermoid cyst treatment depends on its location and size, as well as your symptoms. We can create a customized plan to suit your needs.
If cyst removal seems ideal, we perform a surgical excision in our office using local anesthesia. We drain the cyst and then remove the sac to keep it from filling up again. In most cases, we send a sample of the tissue to a lab to confirm the diagnosis and ensure that nothing more serious is going on.
To learn more about epidermoid cysts or get the care you need, call our office or request an appointment through our website link today.