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HealthInfo Canterbury

Epidermoid & pilar cysts

Epidermoid and pilar cysts (also called sebaceous cysts) are non-cancerous smooth lumps that appear under the skin. They can effect parts or the body with hair. Pilar cysts usually appear on the scalp.

Epidermoid and pilar cysts are usually surrounded by a fibrous capsule under the skin. Inside the capsule is a thick cheese-like substance.

These cysts aren't harmful. They can sometimes rupture under the skin and become inflamed and painful. They can also increase in size over time.

You can talk to your GP about having a cyst removed. This is a minor surgery that can be done using a local anaesthetic.

You have to pay to have these cysts removed and often it isn't necessary.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2018.

Page reference: 125440

Review key: HISEC-125440