​Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are small bumps or sacs beneath the skin, which are non-cancerous. These sacs are formed when the cells, that form the surface of the skin (epidermis), multiply abnormally due to damaged hair follicles or oil glands in your skin. They can appear anywhere on the body, except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Mostly they appear on the face, neck and trunk. These are often painless, slow growing and harmless in general. Normally anyone can develop sebaceous cysts but some factors can make you more susceptible, including:

  • Having a history of acne

  • Skin injury

  • Genetic disorders

  • Being past puberty

Symptoms caused by sebaceous cysts include:

  • A small around bump under the skin that is often painless but can be tender to touch in case of inflammation

  • Thick, yellow, foul-smelling material that drains from the cyst

  • Redness and/or increased temperature on the skin above the cyst​

It most cases you will not need to visit a doctor but you should see a doctor at the Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if the cyst grows rapidly, raptures, be​comes painful or infected, or bothers you because of its unsightliness​
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started. ​
Your doctor can offer a diagnosis by simply examining the cyst. In few cases you may need to go for biopsy.

Sebaceous cysts are only treated if they are causing you discomfort or cosmetic concerns, otherwise they are left alone. Your doctor at the Teeth and Skin Service Lineat The Aga Khan University Hospital may offer you the following options:

  • Injecting the cyst with a steroid drug to reduce swelling and inflammation

  • Incision and drainage in which your doctor will make a small precise cut in the cyst, that is large, tender and inflamed, to drain out its content. This procedure is not recommended because the cyst may recur after this procedure

  • Minor surgery to eliminate the cyst completely to avoid the chances of the cyst coming back

  • Use of carbon dioxide laser to vaporize the cyst. This procedure causes minimal scarring​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.