epidermoid cysts

Some people may notice the appearance of a small ball or hard bump under the skin that can appear in different parts of the body, especially on the neck, behind the ears or even in the back. These bumps, called epidermoid pimples or cysts, are lesions that often appear as a result of localized inflammation of a hair follicle. Focus on this unsightly and troublesome pathology.

Very unattractive, the epidermoid cyst often presents itself in the form of a ball well rounded and painless. It is generally benign and contains a liquid or solid substance due to the enclavement of an epidermis fragment in the subcutaneous layer. It may nevertheless constitute discomfort, infection and may even require surgery.

Zoom on the epidermoid cysts

What is an epidermoid cyst?

These cysts usually result from swelling or inflammation of the hair follicles. They are small in size but can grow or regrow spontaneously. The skin lying above the cyst can often have a normal color, which will become clear when the cyst is superficial or red if the cyst is inflammatory. The epidermoid cyst consists of a stratified squamous epithelium that resembles the epidermis, rich in keratin and sebum. These cysts can become very troublesome or painful and so it is often advisable to remove them.

What are the causes and symptoms of epidermoid cysts?

The symptoms are very recognizable. The small painless bump is the main symptom. But if the cyst is infected or inflamed, other symptoms may appear:

The affected area becomes warm

Sharp and acute pain in the cyst
Squamous cell cysts are usually caused by folliculitis, which is swelling and inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Folliculitis is often formed by ingrown hairs or by blocking the pores of the skin, causing an excess of sebum.

Diagnosis and treatment:

In most cases, an examination of the skin by a specialist doctor is enough to make the diagnosis of a simple cyst. But in case of doubt, the doctor may request a biopsy, ultrasound or radio that may exclude other conditions.

However, treatment depends on the condition of the cyst and the discomfort caused. If it is small and painless, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, either orally or locally, to calm the infection. In the case of a red and painful cyst, surgical treatment is essential. This treatment consists of removal of the cyst, under local anesthesia. An incision is made on the cyst, which can be easily removed. The wound is then stitched and a scar can be seen.

A dressing with an antiseptic or an antibiotic in cream or ointment can then be applied to the wound to avoid infections and to favor the filling of the cavity.

Generally, most cysts that appear on the surface of the skin can be removed as they are unsightly or they are located in a rubbing area.

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