Epidermal Cysts – A Primer

Epiderma Cysts of the Skin

Few things are Googled as often as “bump on the head”, “genital bumps” and other search terms to that effect. People get very concerned when they start feeling bumps on their skin – especially because of common misconceptions about these epidermal cysts.

The real problem here is that when people have these bumps, they tend to go to one of two places – either their friends or the internet. Friends and family with no medical information are a cesspool of bad and worrisome information. Because people aren’t as informed about these cysts as one would hope, everyone instantly starts to worry that it’s cancer or genital warts or an STI depending on the location of the inclusion cyst. On the internet, unless you know specifically where to look, bad information is also everywhere. So let’s see what these bothersome epidermal cysts are all about.

An epidermal cyst will often look like a sore, but a completely different kind of sore than the genital warts would produce or the kinds of blisters and lumps that we’re used to. These skin cysts are very common and shouldn’t hurt – if they are hurting, it’s recommended that you visit your dermatologist or a specialized doctor depending on the location of the actual cyst itself.

These epidermal cysts are moveable, so if you touch the one in question and you can feel it moving around under your skin, don’t be alarmed! It’s perfectly normal. What you need to look out for are the abnormalities, such as the size of the epidermal cyst being too large and the occurrence of inflammation. Also, don’t be alarmed by the presence of leaking, cheese-like fluid that is unpleasant to the senses, this too can be a normal part of the cyst-removal process.

As for treatments for epidermal cysts, the best recourse is to wait it out (much like the subconjunctival hemorrhage). The epidermal cysts have inside them a substance that’s a derivative of the keratin normally found in your skin and will often be reabsorbed back into the body. In the event that they do not, surgical intervention may be necessary, but the cases in which an operation becomes necessary are very rare.

Now, if your epidermal cyst becomes infected, then you definitely need to consult your dermatologist or other specialized doctor. In those cases, a simple outpatient surgery can be performed to remove the entire epidermal cyst and prevent re-occurrence. Also, a routine exam will be performed on you to ensure that the lump or bump in question isn’t skin cancer, as treatment for that will be far different from the above mentioned surgery.

As usual, if you feel that something is very out of the ordinary and doesn’t match with the information presented here, don’t be afraid to present it to your healthcare professional. Believe me, even if the bumps are in an “embarrassing” place, it is your doctor’s job to ensure your good health and he will not ever mind taking a look.

Sources

https://womenshealth.about.com/cs/dermatology/a/sebaceouscyst.htm

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000842.htm

https://www.google.com/health/ref/Epidermal+inclusion+cyst