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Skin Treatment

General Skin Treatment

HOW TO DEAL WITH SKIN TAGS, WARTS, SEBACEOUS CYSTS, ABSCESS & BOILS?

The skin, being our body's largest organ, can present a variety of issues, whether due to inadequate cleansing, environmental influences, or other factors. Despite our resilience, the skin remains a sensitive organ, and it's common for individuals to contend with various skin conditions such as skin tags, warts, sebaceous cysts, abscess & boils.  At Amaris B. Clinic, treatments are available to address these issues effectively.

WHAT ARE SEBACEOUS CYSTS?

A sebaceous cyst is a small non-cancerous lump or bump on the skin. It is usually found on the face, neck, upper chest and upper back but can also appear on other body parts. It develops gradually develops beneath the skin and is dome-shaped and smooth in appearance and there is no pain.

However, a sebaceous cyst can become infected and emit a foul odour, sometimes with an accompanying discharge of a cheese-like substance. An inflammed and infected cyst can cause tenderness and pain. 

What causes sebaceous cysts?

Abscess

The sebaceous gland produces sebum, an oil-like substance that coats hair and skin. A cyst usually develops if the gland or its duct is blocked or damaged. The damage or blockage to the gland or its duct is typically the result of trauma to the area.

The trauma may be in the form of a scratch, surgical wound, or even a skin condition like acne. As a sebaceous cyst develops slowly, an individual may not realise its presence because the trauma caused to the area may have occurred some time ago.

A sebaceous cyst may also be caused due to:

  • misshapen or deformed ducts
  • damage to the cells as a result of surgery
  • genetic conditions, such as Gardner’s syndrome or Basal Cell Nevus syndrome

How is a sebaceous cyst removed by a doctor?

A sebaceous cyst can be removed by drainage or surgery. Surgery is a practical, safe, and effective method of sebaceous cyst removal. It reduces the chance of the cyst recurring. A cyst can cause discomfort and pain. Without treatment, like surgical removal, it can potentially lead to other complications.

Wide excision

A conventional wide excision as this completely removes a cyst but can leave a long scar

Minimal excision

Minimal excision where there is minimal scarring but does not guarantee that the cyst will not reappear

Laser with punch biopsy excision

Using a laser to make a small hole drain the cyst. Its outer walls are removed about a month later

Antibiotics & Scar cream

After a sebaceous cyst removal, an antibiotic ointment may be given to prevent infection. It is advisable to use it as directed until healing is complete. A scar cream may also be dispensed to help reduce the appearance of surgical scars (if any).

Wide Excision

A conventional wide excision as this completely removes a cyst but can leave a long scar

Minimal Excision

Minimal excision where there is minimal scarring but does not guarantee that the cyst will not reappear

Laser With Punch Biopsy Excision

Using a laser to make a small hole drain the cyst. Its outer walls are removed about a month later

Antibiotics & Scar Cream

After a sebaceous cyst removal, an antibiotic ointment may be given to prevent infection. It is advisable to use it as directed until healing is complete. A scar cream may also be dispensed to help reduce the appearance of surgical scars (if any).

WHAT IS A SKIN ABSCESS?

A skin abscess often results from bacterial infection or can develop from an infected sebaceous cyst. This condition is characterised by the accumulation of pus and can occur in different body areas, including the armpits, peri-anal or peri-vaginal regions, and the groin.

WHAT DOES A SKIN ABSCESS LOOK LIKE?

Abscess surgery

A skin abscess typically manifests as a red, swollen, and warm area under the skin, often filled with white or yellow pus. This condition may resemble an unhealed wound or pimple on the skin, occasionally forming a painful bump. In the case of a buttock abscess, which is also referred to as a perianal abscess, it commonly appears as a painful boil near the anus.

Deeper tissue abscesses are less common and may not be readily visible. In severe instances, the infection can extend into deeper tissues or potentially enter the bloodstream.

SKIN ABSCESS REMOVAL PROCEDURE

Abscess surgery

Skin abscess removal procedure is usually done under local anaesthetic. A small cut is made on the affected area during the procedure to drain the pus out. Once all the pus has been removed, sterile saline will be used to clean the area. 

The area will be left opened but covered with a wound dressing to ease the draining of any excess pus. An antiseptic dressing may be placed to keep the wound open in cases where the abscess is deep.

WHAT ARE SKIN TAGS?

Skin tags, also known as acrochordons, cutaneous papilloma, or cutaneous tags, are small, benign skin growths connected to the inner layer of the skin through a narrow stalk called a "peduncle." These growths vary in size, ranging from a few millimetres to as wide as 5cm.

Skin tags are typically encountered during midlife and can develop over a person's lifetime. They are more prevalent among overweight individuals and pregnant women.

While skin tags can appear anywhere on the body, they are commonly found in skin folds, areas prone to skin friction, or where the skin rubs against clothing. Common areas where skin tags can appear include: eyelids, armpits, under the breasts, groin, upper chest and neck.

Characteristics of Skin Tags

Skin tags often start small, some remaining that way while others grow larger. They typically have a soft texture, appear flattened, and vary in size.

Skin tags may resemble other skin conditions, such as benign melanocytic nevi, molluscum contagiosum, or seborrheic keratosis.

Causes of Skin Tag Growth

The enlargement of skin tags is usually attributed to hormonal changes and increased levels of growth factors. Hormonal imbalances or endocrine issues can result in multiple skin tags, with those at risk often including individuals with insulin resistance.

SKIN TAG REMOVAL

Skin tags can be safely removed by a doctor using several methods. Depending on the size, location and patient preference, the doctor will recommend the most suitable approach to remove skin tag safely. DIY methods are discouraged as they lead to infection or scarring.

Skin tags

WHAT ARE SKIN WARTS?

Warts, unlike skin tags, are infectious skin growths known for their rough texture and irregular surface.  They can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, affecting different body parts or passing from person to person. Proper personal hygiene is crucial to prevent their transmission.

Warts are unpredictable, often residing beneath the skin's surface before becoming visible.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SKIN WARTS?

In their initial stages, warts may appear as small, noncancerous growths. The virus responsible for warts prompts excessive cell growth, leading to the thickening of the skin's outer layer. Warts can manifest with either a rough, irregular surface or a flat, smooth texture.  

Despite their appearance, warts are typically painless.

Common warts

Common Warts

These are skin-coloured and mostly found on areas such as the backs of hands, the fingers, the skin around nails, and the feet. They are usually small in size and feel like hard bumps or rough to the touch. They may contain tiny blood clots which appear as black dots.

Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts

They appear on the sole of the feet. This is caused by the pressure from walking and standing. As they are also rough and hard in nature, they may be confused with calluses. One telltale sign is the presence of tiny black dots on the surface, which are blood clots.

Flat Warts

Flat Warts

They are tiny in size but tend to grow in large numbers. The most common areas where they can be found are on a woman's legs, the area of the face where a man's beard grows, and also on children's faces.

Filiform Warts

Filiform Warts

These grow fast and appear thread-like and spiky. They tend to develop around the mouth, eyes, and nose. Although they do not hurt, they are annoying, considering the areas where they can be found.

GENERAL SKIN TREATMENT IN SINGAPORE BY Dr Ivan Puah

Dr Ivan Puah

Dr. Ivan Puah, the Medical Director of Amaris B. Clinic, holds a Graduate Diploma in Family Dermatology from NUS and boasts over 17 years of clinical experience in addressing various dermatological concerns. His proficiency encompasses the treatment of skin laxity, wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, and more.

Dr Puah's knowledge and skill are further acknowledged through his appointment as a trainer-to-doctor by Merz Singapore and Allergan Singapore.

Dr Ivan Puah

Our Awards

GENERAL SKIN TREATMENT FAQS

How does an abscess happen?

An abscess occurs when there is a bacterial infection. It can also happen if the oil or sweat gland in the skin becomes blocked. The most common areas of the body where an abscess is found are the underarms, hands and feet, genitals, trunk and buttock area.

When an infection occurs, the body's immune system goes into action in the form of white blood cells that are sent to the affected area to fight the bacteria. As this battle is taking place, some tissues lying nearby die, which leaves a hole filled with pus-forming an abscess. The pus contains bacteria, white blood cells and dead tissues.

What causes abscess in the pubic area?

An abscess in the pubic area is caused by Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as staph). This bacteria infects the sac containing the roots of the hair and the oil glands.

How to prevent a skin abscess?

As a result of a cut or graze, a minor skin wound is enough to cause the formation of an abscess, as does blocked oil and sweat glands. Be mindful when shaving, especially on the face, legs, underarm areas, and bikini areas. Avoid sharing items such as shavers and toothbrushes.

The risk of bacteria spread can be further reduced by upkeeping healthy personal grooming and hygiene habits like:

  • washing hands regularly and encouraging family members to do the same
  • using separate towels and toothbrushes as well as avoid sharing baths
  • disposing of tissues that have been used to wipe pus away properly

If one is affected by a skin abscess, ensure that it is fully healed before using communal equipment such as saunas, swimming pools and gym equipment. It is essential to ensure that one DOES NOT attempt to squeeze the pus out of an abscess on one's own, as this can cause the bacteria to spread to other parts of the skin.

Additionally, a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced and healthy diet and not smoking, among others, can help reduce the likelihood of skin abscesses.

What is the main cause of abscess?

The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus is the common cause. As a defence, the body's immune system sends white blood cells to fight infection when bacteria enter the body. Swelling or inflammation occurs when this happens.

Are abscesses serious?

If left untreated, an abscess can set off a series of infections in other body parts and can even be life-threatening. It is best to seek professional help immediately.

What happens if an infected skin cyst is untreated?

An untreated infected sebaceous cyst can potentially lead to complications like an abscess.

Will an infected cyst go away with antibiotics?

An infected cyst can be treated with antibiotics in the form of oral medication, topical cream, or both. If this fails, the issue can be addressed by drainage or surgery.

How long does an infected cyst take to heal?

An infected sebaceous cyst will not heal until it is removed by drainage or surgery. Without treatment, it can be present for a long time and may even cause discomfort or pain.

What are the sebaceous glands?

The sebaceous gland is located all over the body and produces sebum, an oil-like substance that coats hair and skin.

It is made up of a lobe connected by ducts. The lifespan of each gland is about ONE week, and the sebum it produces as it breaks down at the end of its lifespan has several functions, and these include:

  • Reducing water loss from the surface of the skin
  • Protecting skin from infection by bacteria and fungi
  • Regulating the immune system

A cyst usually develops if the gland or its duct is blocked or damaged. The damage or blockage to the gland or its duct is typically the result of trauma to the area.

Are sebaceous cysts common?

A sebaceous cyst usually develops if the gland or its duct is blocked or damaged. The damage or blockage to the gland or its duct is typically the result of trauma to the area. It is less common compared to an epidermoid cyst and pilar cyst.

Are sebaceous cysts painful?

A sebaceous cyst is typically not painful. This is dependent on its size. Large ones can cause discomfort and even pain, particularly those found on the face and neck. Most sebaceous cysts feel soft, and they contain keratin, which is a component that makes up skin and nails.

What's the difference between a cyst and a boil?

A sebaceous cyst can become infected and develop into a boil, a collection of pus. Bacterial infection is a common cause of a boil.

Do skin tags grow back once removed?

In general, skin tags do not grow back after removal. If skin tags develop in the same areas again, it could mean that the areas are prone to their growth.

Cost of skin tag removal in Singapore

Depending on the patient's clinical condition, the cost of skin tag removal will be further advised during the consultation and assessment.

Do skin tags grow bigger?

A person may have anywhere from one to hundreds of skin tags. Removing a skin tag does not cause more to grow.

Why am I getting skin tags in my 40s?

Ageing is one of the most common causes of skin tags, especially when one hits 40. In women, the reason can also be due to pregnancy due to hormones and weight gain. Being overweight for both men and women is also a potential cause.

Why do warts form?

Common warts are caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. When the virus enters the skin (usually through a tiny scratch), it causes rapid cell growth on the outer layer of the skin, creating the wart.

Cost of wart removal in Singapore

Depending on the patient's clinical condition, the cost of wart removal will be further advised during the consultation and assessment.

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