Blackheads are something we are all familiar with, but did you know they are also called open comedones? Blackheads are usually caused by a pore that gets clogged with keratin (skin protein) and sebum (oil). Given the black color many believe these spots are clogged with dirt, but really it’s the exposure to air that oxidizes the clogged pore and turns it black. Don’t worry though, most blackheads can be extracted with a trusty comedone extractor!
An epidermoid cyst (epidermal inclusion cyst, infundibular cyst), is a benign growth commonly found on the skin of the face or neck, but can occur anywhere on the body. Epidermoid cysts result from the reproduction of epidermal cells within a confined space which creates a "cheesy” consistency and often a pungent odor! They may have no symptoms and are typically harmless, but people often seek removal because they don't like the appearance of these bumps or because the cyst has ruptured or become inflamed in the past. Rupture is associated with sudden redness, pain, swelling, and local heat, and can lead to abscess formation. A history of inflammation often increases scar tissue in the area, making the cyst more firmly adherent to the surrounding skin, and making it more difficult to remove. Surgical excision is curative, but the entire cyst sac and contents need to be removed to ensure the cyst won't grow back!
An epidermoid cyst is a non-cancerous growth commonly found on the skin of the face or neck, but can occur anywhere on the body. Just as its name suggests, these cysts occur as a result of epidermal cells, cells from the top layer of your skin a.k.a the epidermis, overgrow in a confined space. The buildup of these cells under the skin results in a “cheesy” consistency and often a pungent odor! Epidermoid cysts are typically harmless and have no symptoms, but people often seek removal due to the appearance of the bump or because the cyst has become inflamed or ruptured. If you have a ruptured cyst you may notice, sudden redness, pain, swelling, and heat around the area, all of which can lead to an abscess forming. Surgically removing the cyst can cure the area, but the entire cyst sac and all of its contents need to be removed to ensure the cyst won’t grow back!