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What Is It?

Sebaceous cysts are small lumps that arise within the skin on the face, upper back and upper chest. A sebaceous cyst can form when the opening to a sebaceous gland becomes blocked. The oily substance called sebum continues to be produced but cannot escape to the outer skin surface.

The cyst may remain small for years, or it may continue to get larger. These cysts are rare in children but common in adults. Sebaceous cysts are not cancerous.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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