Dermatological conditions, at times, are harmless but really discomforting. The inclusion epidermal cyst is one of those typically painless skin conditions that can become bothersome if they appear on the neck or intimate regions of the body. But the first question that comes to mind when we talk about epidermoid cysts is what is the cause for it? Or how can someone identify if it is an epidermoid cyst or other skin condition?
To find the answer to this question, let's begin with a basic overview of what inclusion epidermal cyst is!
What is Inclusion Epidermal Cyst?
Sometimes, people have lumps or lesions on their skin that look like acne but are bigger in size. That small lump that appears on the skin is an epidermal or epidermoid cyst. This is noncancerous in nature and contains keratin or dead skin cells. In other words, it can also be seen as a type of dermoid cyst.
Inclusion epidermal cysts are painless inflammations with keratin debris that don't require a removal process until they create discomfort. These are non-tender lumps that grow with time and generally around the scalp, face, genitalia, back, neck, and hands. When it comes to appearance, these skin growth bumps are pale yellow or pinkish in color.
Besides this, the inclusion epidermal cyst slowly enlarges and grows from a millimeters to a few centimeters. And most importantly, it usually originates around follicles or follicular infundibulum.
What are Epidermal Inclusion Cyst Causes?
The epidermal layer of the skin is made of cells that protect it. And with time, these epidermal cells die and shed off. When the epidermal layer of skin does not shed properly, it might move down the skin surface and accumulate. The different inclusion epidermal cyst causes are:
Genetics is one of the causes of inclusion epidermal cysts. Many people inherit this condition from the genes of their parents. There is a high possibility that anyone who has epidermal cysts gets it from genetic mutations. Even genetic disorders such as pachyonychia congenita (a rare genetic disorder of nails and skin). People who have anyone with a history of epidermal cysts are likely to develop this condition. And the mutation may also pass down the generations.
2. Hormonal Imbalance
Another reason for experiencing benign epidermal inclusion cysts is hormonal problems. As we all know, changes in the hormone cycle can impact the human body in different ways. That's why hormonal imbalances or disorders become a potential risk factor for this condition. For instance, women with serious hormone disorders like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) may develop a skin condition like epidermoid cyst. Even the rise and fall of hormone levels during pregnancy and menopause stages might also increase the risk of this harmless skin condition.
3. Skin Injury
Skin injury or trauma may be a potential cause for the inclusion epidermal cyst. After a wound, cut, or surgery, sometimes a space is left between the epidermal skin cells. And time, dead skin and keratin collect in those spaces. As a consequence, a keratin or epidermoid cyst develops. Even in people who have piercings and skin conditions like chronic acne, the hormonal imbalance is prone to having an epidermal cyst.
4. Follicle Blockage
Hair follicle blockage can cause keratin inclusion cysts, too. Hair follicles are really tiny, and they are prone to blockage because of excess oil production or dead skin cells. Other than that, the accumulation of dust also blocks them, which can further lead to cyst formation. In most cases, the dead skin cells and keratin particles accumulate in the follicles present on the skin and take the shape of epidermoid cysts.
Let's have a closer look at the symptoms of benign epidermal inclusion cysts.
Symptoms of Epidermal or Keratin Inclusion Cyst
Symptoms of inclusion epidermal cysts may differ depending upon the body part they appear on and the size of it. Here is how the signs and symptoms of the inclusion skin cyst look:
1. Dome-Shaped Bumps
As the name says, people with this condition have bumps or small growths under the skin. Like other cysts, the epidermal system also has a cavity that traps skin protein, keratin.
2. Inflammation and Change in Skin Colour
Over time, the epidermal cysts swell up because of the constant accumulation of proteins and dead skin cells. The person who has this type of cyst might experience some kind of tenderness on the lump. Apart from the inflammation, the skin around the cyst becomes pale or darker in color.
3. Rupture and Fluid Discharge
Lastly, a common sign or symptom that makes the epidermoid cyst recognizable is fluid discharge or pus. These cysts are always at risk of rupture and infection. If someone has an epidermoid cyst infection, there is a foul smell in the discharge or rupture fluid.
Because all the symptoms look like that of acne and are very generic other kinds of infections, it is hard to distinguish them, so next up are the diagnosis methods that medical professionals use to identify them.
Diagnosis and Medical Examination
Inclusion epidermal cyst is very common; precisely 6 out of 10 people have or might have to visit a dermatologist for it. And because it is so common, the dermatologist can identify it by basic examination and appearance. However, there are other ways to identify this condition, and they are as follows:
If a person has a cyst that is bigger than a few centimeters, then dermatologists use ultrasound for diagnosis. The process of ultrasound makes things like the structure, size, and condition of the epidermoid cyst. An ultrasound helps the doctor to identify and conclude if it is a cyst or other kind of dermatological growth like nodular acne and lipoma.
Doctors also examine inclusion epidermal cyst with the process of biopsy. They scrape off some tissues or cells as samples from the cyst and observe it under the microscope. This diagnostic method makes it clear if the system is an epidermoid cyst or has a cancerous nature.
Epidermal Inclusion Cyst Treatment and Removal
Generally, there is no need for an epidermal inclusion cyst treatment because they rupture and heal on their own. But in rare cases, when the inclusion epitomizes appear on the genitalia or grow too much, then doctors might suggest epidermal inclusion cyst removal. Some people also invest money in treating epidermoid cysts for cosmetic reasons.
To remove the inclusion epidermal cyst, doctors first make a cut or incision to remove all the fluid and keratin content. After draining the fluid, they remove any excess tissues and clean the wound with disinfectants. Lastly, if there is a need, they might also stitch the incision to initiate healing.
The inclusion epidermal cysts is harmless and does not require treatment. It is usually small, but it does grow in size and causes discomfort. There are antibiotics and treatments to fix the problem. Just make sure that you do not try to rupture or remove the cyst at home because it increases the risk of infection.
It is always better to visit our dermatologist or specialist for treatment because if an epidermal inclusion cyst causes or catches infection, it can change into bigger problems. Found this blog informative? Then check out all the latest blog posts on The Voice of Woman and keep yourself clued up.
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