Cysts are small, usually painless lumps under the skin that can occur in patients of any age. They are relatively common and almost always treatable.

Sebaceous cysts affect the sebaceous glands, or the glands that produce oil to moisturize and lubricate the skin. When the gland’s passageway becomes blocked, it is engorged with bacteria or other foreign agents that can cause inflammation and can cause a swollen, more painful cyst to form. Sebaceous cysts are made up of an abundance of keratin and fat and most commonly occur on the face, neck, and upper body. These cysts contain a liquid or semisolid substance.

Another type of cyst typically formed in the scalp are Pilar cysts, which are formed due to swelling around hair follicles, causing inflammation. A cyst that forms on the eyelid is known as a chalazion, or meibomian cyst.

There are a few ways to treat cysts. One way is to make a very small incision into the cysts and squeeze to relieve pressure and drain its contents. Another way is to cut around the cyst to remove the entire sac wall. Whichever way cysts are treated, it is important to remove them as soon as they are noticed as they may occasionally change into malignant growths, become infected and cause an abcess, or cause an obstruction to other vital functions.

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