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 or 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 even developing into a painful growth, such as a boil. These 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.

If you are concerned about a cyst, please talk with your dermatologist about a course of treatment that is right for you.  Seattle Skin and Laser also treats patients from Mercer Island and the Issaquah area.

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