What are Cysts?

Cysts are closed skin growths that are sac-like in nature and are typically filled with some sort of fluid or solid made up of dead skin cells. Most cysts form due to a blockage that has occurred somewhere in the body’s drainage system.

Some of the most common types of cysts are known as epidermoid and pilar cysts. Epidermoid cysts form when oil glands in the skin become plugged. Most form on the face neck and back. This type of cyst forms in the upper layers of the skin and can look yellow and or white. Pilar cysts are usually filled with fluid and commonly found on the scalp forming around a hair follicle.

What Causes Cysts?

Cysts can occur for a variety of reasons, however for epidermoid and pilar cysts typically happen as a result of a blockage of a hair follicle or pore. This can be from the build-up of dead skin cells or sebum. In addition to blockages, cysts can form due to infection, chronic inflammatory conditions.

Treatment Options

If you have a cyst that grows quickly, becomes inflamed, or hurts you should see your dermatologist right away. A cyst that grows quickly can rupture, causing damage to the skin or may even develop into a painful growth that such as a boil. The boil-like growths usually require treatment. Cysts can also be removed surgically prior to rupturing.

A surgical excision is typically recommended to prevent reoccurring cysts by removing the sac in its entirety. This prevents the cyst from forming again because there is no remaining tissue or sac for it to grow upon. This is done by making an incision into the skin and gently separating the cyst’s wall from the tissue for removal.

Frequently Asked Questions About Benign Skin Growths

What do benign skin growths look like?

Benign skin growths can take different forms, but are usually pink or brown in color, as well as scaly or textured. When in doubt, it’s always best to seek the expertise of a board-certified dermatologist.

How common are benign growths?

Benign skin growths are relatively common, especially in the form of moles, cysts, skin tags, lipomas, keloids, or freckles.

Why do I get skin growths?

Skin growths happen when the skin’s cell turnover process changes. The body can sometimes produce extra cells in the form of a growth that does not require any medical intervention.

Do skin tags disappear on their own?

Skin tags can sometimes fall off on their own. In other cases, they may be removed by a dermatologist using specialized procedures.

Can you prevent keratosis?

Unfortunately, keratosis can not be prevented but you can try to avoid dry skin by avoiding harsh, drying soaps, gently removing or exfoliating dead skin with a washcloth, and moisturizing your skin.

Contact Us

If you are concerned about a cyst on your skin, talk with your dermatologist about the what course of treatment you should take for removal. A dermatologist at Seattle Skin & Laser can guide you regarding your best course of treatment.  Seattle Skin and Laser also treats patients from Mercer Island and the Issaquah area.

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