A cyst is a lump or sac that is filled with fluid, jelly-like material or gas. There are many different kinds of cysts. The most common kinds of skin cysts are:
A Dermoid Cyst is a lump that is made up of the cells that grow to be skin. These cells did not grow properly and form a bag or sac that may contain sweat, oil, hair or skin particles. These lumps are commonly found on the head and neck area. This kind of lump can get bigger over time. Sometimes the fluid inside can become infected and the lump becomes red, swells quickly and is painful.
A Sebaceous or Epidermal Cyst is a lump caused by a blocked oil gland. It is filled with oil and the cells that make oil for the hair shaft. This lump is commonly found on the head but can occur anywhere. This kind of lump can get bigger over time and can become infected.
A Ganglion Cyst is a lump that is made up of the skin and fluid that covers joints. They are commonly found on the wrist. These lumps frequently change in size. They may be large one day and gone several days later.
A mass is a lump that is caused by an overgrowth of tissue.
A Pilomatrixoma is a lump caused by an overgrowth of cells that grow into skin and hair. It is similar to an epidermal cyst but it is solid.
A Haemangioma is a mass caused by abnormal growth or formation of blood vessels. Capillary Hemangiomas are bundles of abnormal blood vessels that are close to the top layer of the skin. They may be red or purple in colour. A Cavernous Haemangioma is found in the deeper layers of the skin and may have a faint purple or blue colour. Hemangiomas are often present at birth or shortly after. They may get bigger over the first 6 months. They gradually get smaller, often disappearing completely during the school age years.
A Lipoma is a lump caused by an overgrowth of fat cells. These lumps generally do not change in size; they are not painful and are not harmful. They are unusual in children.
A Haematoma is a lump caused by a collection of old blood. If the blood is trapped under the skin it may take a while for the blood to be absorbed by the body. Sometimes the blood crystallizes and becomes hard.
An Abscess is a lump caused by a collection of infected fluid or pus.
A Granuloma is a lump caused by an overgrowth of inflamed tissue. This tissue may grow if there is something under the skin the body is trying to get rid of like a foreign body.
A Lymph node is a collection of cells that are part of the lymphatic system. They are found throughout the body and get larger in size in response to infection or irritation i that area of the body. The swelling will be down over time as the irritation or infection gets better. They are a normal part of the body and are not generally removed unless they have become infected.