How Can Sebaceous Bumps Under Skin Be Removed?

I had nodular acne three years ago. After treatment with Accutane and a follow up treatment with Retin-A, my acne is now under control. However, under my skin there are what I believe to be sebaceous bumps.

My acne started like this: bumps under my skin, some reached the surface (I had minor surgery to remove that) and those that didn't reach to the outer layer of the skin but are now underneath. It seems as if my body hasn't been able to absorb them. They're like hard, large-sized lumps. There's nothing on the surface of the skin, but when I touch, I can feel them right there.

Doctor Answers 1

???Sebaceous Cysts

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I am not sure what you mean since there is no dermatologic condition called sebaceous bumps that I am aware of. I am assuming you mean the erroneously termed sebaceous cysts. I say erroneous since their contents are made of keratin and not sebum, and sebaceous glands have nothing to do with their origin and, in fact, are not even present. There are plenty of terms instead which will fit including epidermal inclusion cyst, infundibular cyst, keratinaceous cyst or even "wen" which while a layman term is at least not a misnomer.

If you do mean a "sebaceous cyst" surgery is the best means of treatment. My suggestion would be to consult someone who is very experienced in their removal: either a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. These unsightly lesions can be excised through a rather small excision. Do not manipulate or squeeze them. They are prone to rupture, creating a cosmetic mess. This brings up another misconception regarding their nature. When they rupture many people, including some physicians, think they are infected. They usully are not. The contents as mentioned above consist of keratin. When outside the follicle, keratin can act like a foreign body. Thus, what you are seeing when they rupture is a massive foreign body and not a true infection.

Injecting these lesions with steroids may also work. However, each injection can cause fibrosis or scarring making it more difficult to perform the excsion.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist

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