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Does Diet Cause Sebaceous Cysts?

by
author image Barb Nefer
Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."
Does Diet Cause Sebaceous Cysts?
Close-up of a male face. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Sebaceous cysts are little bumps on your face, neck, body and sometimes even the genital area. These cysts are not dangerous or painful, although they ca get infected. Most of the time they need no treatment. These cysts have several potential causes, but none involve diet. You cannot cause, treat or prevent sebaceous cysts by eating certain food items.

Cause

Sebaceous cysts have no relationship to your diet, so you do not get them because of your food choices, lack of proper nutrition, a food allergy or anything else related to eating. These cysts happen when you damage a hair follicle or rupture one of the glands that produces skin oil, according to MayoClinic.com. Some sebaceous cysts happen in the womb, when certain cells form improperly, and this condition sometimes runs in families. People who inherit a genetic disorder called Gardner's syndrome are also at higher risk for the cysts.

Description

Sebaceous cysts are small, although they are sometimes noticeable if they grow in visible areas like your face or neck. The cysts are slow-growing, fluid-filled sacs under your skin. You can move them freely by pushing them with your fingers. The lumps fill with oily or cheesy liquid that usually stays contained inside the cyst, although it may sometimes leak out due to infection, according to MedlinePlus. These cysts are not dangerous and need no treatment unless they get inflamed, infected or painful. The condition does not change based on what you eat.

Complications

Some sebaceous cysts get infected, exhibiting pain, redness, warmth and swelling. Dietary changes will not improve or worsen the problem, but minor infections are treatable by placing a cloth over them after first saturating it with warm water. This compress helps it drain and heal. Infected cysts may swell badly enough to need a steroid injection from your doctor, MedlinePlus advises. The infection sometimes requires oral antibiotics. Extremely severe cases require surgical removal, although the cysts sometimes grow back.

Considerations

Although your diet does not cause sebaceous cysts, and they are not preventable, certain factors put you at higher risk of developing these skin bumps. They are more common on men than women and do not generally appear until adulthood, according to MayoClinic.com. You are more likely to develop them if you previously had acne. Sun exposure also contributes to their formation, especially on the face. Crushing injuries or trauma, like slamming a vehicle door on your hand, also raises your risk of cyst formation.

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