Cysts smart skin dermatology


Epidermoid cysts, sometimes known as sebaceous cysts (a misnomer), contain a soft “cheesy” material composed of keratin, a protein component of skin, hair, and nails.

  • Epidermoid cysts form when the top layer of skin (epidermis) grows into the middle layer of the skin (dermis). This may occur due to injury or blocked hair follicles.

  • The lesion may be asymptomatic, but rupture of the epidermoid cyst can result in significant discomfort.

Epidermoid cysts are a common lesion that affects people of all ages.

Epidermoid cysts can be located almost anywhere but are most common on the face, neck, scalp, or trunk.

  • A cyst appears as a dome-shaped, skin-colored growth that usually moves when touched and pressed upon. It may have a small opening in the center.

  • The cyst can be well-defined or irregular due to prior rupture, scarring, and regrowth.

  • If manipulated or infected, the cyst can become red and may be tender.

See your primary care physician or a dermatologist if a cyst becomes inflamed or painful.