Epidermoid cysts (eh-peh-DER-moyd sists) are small bumps that develop beneath the skin on your face, neck, trunk and sometimes your genital area. Slow-growing and often painless, they rarely cause problems or need treatment.
Although many people refer to epidermoid cysts as sebaceous cysts, they’re different. True sebaceous cysts are less common, and they arise from the glands that secrete oily matter that lubricates hair and skin (sebaceous glands). Epidermoid glands arise from the cells that make up the outer layers of skin (epidermal).
If the appearance of an epidermoid cyst bothers you, or if the cyst ruptures or becomes infected, it can be surgically removed. Epidermoid cysts are almost always noncancerous, but in rare cases, they can lead to skin cancers.
Jun. 07, 2011
- Epidermal cysts. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch127/ch127c.html. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Overview of benign lesions of the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 18, 2011.
- Penneys NS, et al. Common benign cutaneous growths: Seborrheic keratoses, cherry hemangiomas, and epidermoid cysts. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/education/students/benign_cutan_growths.htm. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Thomas VD, et al. Benign epithelial tumors, hamartomas, and hyperplasias. In Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2981819. Accessed March 3, 2011.
- Habif TP. Benign skin tumors. In: Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 3, 2011.