Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous cysts appear on the skin as small lumps or bumps just under the skin which move freely. They are generally painless and slow growing, however if they become infected they can become problematic causing inflammation and pain. Cysts are enclosed encapulations of wastes which contain sebum (oil) and keratin (dead skin cells and proteins). They may cause a discharge of a semi-solid pasty material and the smell omitted is generally cheesy and foul.

They are commonly caused as a result of swollen hair follicles or skin trauma. Sebaceous cysts most often disappear on their own and are not dangerous and complications arise if they become infected and cause abcesses . If the cyst is squeezed or irritated this may result in infection, pain, tenderness and inflammation. They are most commonly found around the facial area, neck, upper arms, ears, shoulders, back and occassionally the genital area, these are all areas which have hair growth.

Some common causes of sebaceous cysts:

  • Blocked sebaceous glands (oil glands)
  • Swollen hair follicles
  • Increased production of sebum (oil) on the skin
  • Excessive testosterone production

Although sebaceous cysts are not dangerous please speak to your GP concerning them, in some cases they can be lanced and drained however often they can reoccur.

Diet tips for sebaceous cysts

  • Reduce lymphatic congestive foods such as dairy, red meats, saturated fats and fatty foods
  • Increase water intake to help the kidneys to flush lymphatic wastes
  • Increase your consumption of healthy oils to promote healthy skin and reduce sebum stagnation in the hair shafts. Foods which contain healthy oils are nuts and seeds, avocadoes, fish, flaxseed oil, Evening primrose oil and fish oil
  • For healthier skin increase water, fruits and vegetables in the diet
  • Consume alkalising foods to reduce inflammation

Lifestyle factors for sebaceous cysts

  • Hot compresses may help to break down any inflammation and promote lymphatic waste removal
  • Cleanse the area well and use topical and diluted Tea Tree or Lavender essential oil on the area. It is recommended to dilute tea tree oil in water or a base carrier oil such as Jojoba, Almond or Wheatgerm oil as using essential oils directly onto the skin can be harmful. The general amount for normal skin is 1 part tea tree oil to 9 parts water or carrier oil (less if your skin is sensitive). Applying this at least 3-4 times daily may help the cyst to heal, reduce bacteria build up, clean the area and provide antiseptic qualities to reduce chances of infection. When purchasing essential oils it is recommended to buy 100% essential oils, not synthetic oils as these are inferior in quality and may have harsh chemicals added to them
  • Improve kidney, liver and lymphatic function by beginning a detoxification and cleansing program

Natural remedies for sebaceous cysts

  • Use a topical cream to reduce inflammation, risk of infection and promote lymphatic circulation such as Golden seal, Calendula, Thuja and Poke Root
  • Antibiotic herbs such as Garlic, Colloidal silver, Golden Seal, Olive leaf and Barberry as these are potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant in effect to reduce risk of infection, improve immunity and stimulate lymphatic flow
  • Increase antioxidant status with nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitmain E, Selenium and Vitamin A.
  • Herbs which help to cleanse the blood such as Rhubarb, Rheumannia, Barberry, Red Clover, Pau D’arco, Garlic, Yellow Dock, Burdock and Dandelion