Cysts form from blocked hair follicles. This creates swelling under the surface of the skin. Superficial cysts are classed as epidermoid/sebaceous whilst deeper cysts are classed as ‘pilar’.
Alternative names: Sebaceous cyst, epidermoid cyst, pilar cyst, acne cyst, comedone, nodulocystic acne, steatocystoma multiplex, pilonidal cyst, myxoid cyst, boil, abscess, furuncle.
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What causes Cysts?
There are many variants of cyst in the skin. Most are caused by the same process as acne, a combination of overactive grease-glands, hormones and bacterial infection, and may be recurrent.
What are the symptoms/types of Cysts?
Cysts look different depending in whether they are acutely inflamed/infected or chronic. Acute inflamed cysts look like tender red swellings on the skin, sometimes with a punctum in the centre that ‘leaks’ fluid, occasionally with a white pustular head.
Chronic cysts are soft, smooth spherical swellings under the skin. Pilar cysts are often in the scalp and can be quite large, occasionally causing permanent hair loss over the surface skin.
What Cyst treatments are available?
Inflamed cysts (or acne cysts) tend to respond well to cortisone injections. They shrink and inflammation improves, all within the first 24-48 hours. Larger cysts can be surgically removed by a number of differing techniques. If cysts continue to form, then treatment is the same as for acne with a drug such as oral retinoic acid.
Our Specialist Dermatologists can offer effective treatment to patients to help treat or improve cysts. If cysts are causing you problems, there is no need to suffer further.
Cyst treatments we offer include:
Frequently asked questions
Cysts are generally not a major medical concern, but they may swell up causing disfigurement, pain and every so often discharge their contents. Occasionally they can burst giving rise to sunken scars and scalp cysts can cause hair loss in the area in from which the cyst arises.