By Dr Jacques Labrèche Skin cysts are commonplace in the practice of any general practitioner. They are easily recognized: they are subcutaneous nodules, more or less voluminous, firm, which can be disseminated all over the body. They are often called sebaceous cysts. However, this term is incorrect, as the content of these cysts is most often keratin and not sebum. There are several forms of skin cysts, despite their similar appearance in the clinic. All these cysts are subcutaneous and create a more or less marked protuberance on the surface of the skin. They consist of an envelope (or shell) filled with a variable amount of whitish and often smelly substance. The envelope consists of a layer of epidermis facing the internal cavity of the cyst, with deeper layers extending out towards the periphery. It is in the composition of the deeper layers that the different kinds of cysts are distinguished. Source: Le Médecin du Québec, volume 40, number 2, February 2005.
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