While most cysts are benign lesions, they may often be problematic if they enlarge, become tender, begin to drain, or are found in a location that begins to interfere with normal everyday activities. To help you get back to the things you enjoy, our team of board-certified dermatologists at The Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington in North Carolina are ready to provide a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan!
Types of Cysts or Lesions That May Appear Similar to Cysts
From your head to your toes, cysts can develop anywhere on the body. There are many different types of cysts, with the majority being harmless and easily treatable. Here are the most common types:
Epidermal Cysts (often nicknamed Sebaceous Cysts)
One of the more common benign skin tumors, an epidermal inclusion forms from an often unidentifiable event, which forces the epidermis (outer layer of skin) to grow inward toward a hair follicle rather than being shed away. The pore gradually swells and enlarges as it fills with these dead skin cells over time.
Epidermal cysts develop in many different areas of the body, with the more common areas being the torso, including the chest and back, as well as the face and neck region. The classic appearance of an epidermal cyst is a lump in the skin with an overlying prominent pore called a punctum.
Dermatofibromas are small firm nodules on the body, which may feel or look like scar tissue. This type of lesion is usually a small, harmless growth (called nodule) that appears on the skin and can be mistaken for a cyst. Though dermatofibromas can be found anywhere on the body, it is most commonly found on arms, lower legs, and upper back.
Dermatofibromas are firm to the touch and very dense, with many saying the lesions feel like a small stone under the skin. Though most dermatofibromas are painless, some people experience itching or irritation at the site of growth.
A ganglion cyst is a round, fluid-filled lump of tissue that usually appears along tendons or joints, especially in the hands, wrists, ankles, and feet. The cause of ganglion cysts is unclear, but fluid accumulation can occur due to injury, trauma, or overuse. Most of the time, ganglion cysts are harmless and painless, but in some cases, they can grow too large and put pressure on joints or other structures.
Also known as trichilemmal cysts, pilar cysts develop within the hair follicle. In most cases, these cysts form on the scalp. This type of cyst is typically filled with keratin, which is what hair and fingernails are made from.