Sebaceous Cysts and Epidermoid Cysts

Sebaceous Cysts and Epidermoid Cysts are both typically known as Sebaceous cysts

Sebaceous (Epidermoid) cyst

Sebaceous Cysts look like small smooth lumps under the skin surface. They are benign (non-cancerous) and usually cause no harm or problems although they can look unsightly.

The cyst is a sac filled with cheesy-like, white keratin debris. They are typically painless. Although, they can become inflamed and irritated. They don’t require removal unless bothersome or the diagnosis is in question.

Cysts develop in various places on the body and two of the most common types of cyst that occur under the skin surface are epidermoid and pilar cysts, which are more known as sebaceous cysts.

Build-up of trapped keratin usually causes epidermoid cysts.  Keratin is a protein that occurs naturally in skin cells.  Cysts develop when the protein is trapped below the skin because of disruption to the skin or to a hair follicle.

These cysts may develop for a number of reasons, but trauma to the skin is typically thought to be the main cause. When there are numerous cysts, an underlying genetic disorder such as Gardner syndrome may be the cause..

What do these cysts look like and what are their symptoms?

Both epidermoid and pilar cysts are smooth round lumps which you can see and feel just beneath the skin surface. They are very common.  Often they are small (pea size) but sometimes they slowly get bigger over many months.

Epidermoid cysts can affect anyone but are most common in young and middle-aged adults. They can appear anywhere on the skin but develop most commonly on the face, neck, chest, and upper back.

Pilar cysts can affect anyone but are most common in middle-aged women. They can appear anywhere on the skin but develop most commonly on the scalp. It is common for several to develop at the same time on the scalp.


Traditional treatment for sebaceous cysts is to surgically remove the sac by cutting open the sac, removing/extracting the protein and then removing the sac.  In most cases this will remove the cyst but will leave a long scar and can be a costly treatment

Treatment at Inskin for Sebaceous Cysts

This is with specialist advanced procedures with diathermy.  It involves inserting a tiny probe into the sac of the cyst and emitting a diathermy heat current to break down the contents of the sac.  The contents of the sac are released via the tiny pinprick hole that the probe makes, this may be released easily in some cases by applying pressure to the surrounding of the cyst or the contents may drain away slowly.

Diathermy and radiofrequency form the current, the radiofrequency can  also help to break down the sac.

The plus side of this treatment is that there is minimal or no scarring from the treatment and it is a much less expensive treatment.  The downside of this treatment is that is prone to infection if not managed carefully following treatment and antibiotics may be required.  There may also be some skin damage with pressure applied.  For this reason we prefer not to treat sebaceous cysts on the face.

As we are not removing the sac, more than one treatment may be required.


  • 1 Treatment £150
  • Any Additional Treatments £100