The sebum glands are small skin glands that produce the fatty sebum. This forms a kind of protective layer on our skin and is therefore very important for an intact complexion. However, for various reasons, a sebum gland may need to be removed. This can be, for example, a disruptive inflammation, blockages or a sebum cyst.

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The sebum is cut out in a small surgical operation and thus removed. Another option is professional skin peeling. Strictly speaking, however, the sebum gland is not removed in this case, only its contents emptied. A sebum gland can also be lasered away using a CO2 laser. Ultimately, the goal is to remove sebum glands that are causing discomfort or cosmetic problems.

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Read more on this topic: Blocked sebum gland - what to do?

Causes of sebum glands

For the health and protection of the skin, sebum glands are very important. They produce the high-fat sebum, which is also called Sebum and thus form a kind of protective barrier on the skin. However, various causes can lead to the sebum glands not functioning properly or being diseased. One possible cause is the overproduction of sebum, which Seborrhea. It is an important mechanism in acne formation. The excessive production of sebum clog the small glands. Such blockages are often the starting point for bacterial infections, inflammation or the development of painful barley grains on the edge of the eyelid. Also a sebum cyst, which in technical terms is called Atheroma is a possible cause of the removal of a sebum gland. A distinction is made between different types of benign sebum cysts. The sebum gland can also be removed in the case of sebum hyperplasia, i.e. benign growth. They are usually a cosmetic problem and do not lead directly to discomfort. Very rarely, malignant tumors can develop from sebum glands. In this case, removal is essential.

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Whether a sebum gland should be removed depends on a number of factors. Most causes for sebum removal are benign in nature. It is mostly cosmetic problems that lead to sebum removal. There is rarely a medical need for removal.

The specialist in diseases of the sebum glands is the dermatologist, as the sebum gland is a so-called skin appendage. First, the affected sebum is examined. Important symptoms of inflammation, such as redness, painfulness, purulent coatings, an unpleasant smell or overheating of the gland can already be determined. Based on the appearance, the doctor can also determine whether it is more of a benign cyst or blockage, or a malignant sebum cancer. The latter must be removed in any case, as a malignant disease in its advanced stages can be life-threatening.

Concomitant symptoms

Most sebum glands do not cause any complaints or symptoms, even if they are "pathologically" changed. Blocked sebum glands, for example, are mostly a purely cosmetic problem. However, they can also become bacterially infected and in this case be very painful. A kind of throbbing pain is very typical of such inflammation. Redness or a purulent secretion are typical accompanying symptoms of bacterial sebum inflammation. General symptoms such as fever, on the other hand, are rather untypical.

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Read more on this topic at: Inflammation of the sebum - this must be observed!

Barley grains on the edge of the eyelid lead to a painful, reddened lump on the edge of the eyelid, which has a small pus point in the middle. This can burst open spontaneously and drain pus.

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The removal of a sebum gland does not usually lead to discomfort. A slight pain at the interface, for example when touching it, is normal. Very rarely, the complication of the removal is inflammation or bacterial infection with pain and fever. However, this is a general risk in any operation and is very rare with such an operation. After laser removal of a sebum gland, slight reddening of the skin is normal. You should therefore avoid the blazing sun for a few days.

How can you remove sebum glands?

Various methods are available for removing sebum glands. One common method is surgical removal. The affected sebum is removed from the skin with a small incision. This can then be sewn shut to achieve a cosmetically pleasing result. The incision is very small and therefore leaves at most a tiny scar.

Another way to remove sebum glands is through laser treatment. This method is also very popular because it gives very good results from a cosmetic point of view. It has few side effects and can be carried out quickly. However, the laser method may only be used if the cause of the sebum change is confirmed. There must be no suspicion of a malignant change in the sebum gland. If this is the case, surgical removal with a subsequent examination of the removed gland under a microscope is necessary.

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Finally, professional peelings, such as fruit acid peelings, can also be used to treat blocked sebum glands. These are mainly used in the treatment of acne. They don't remove the sebum glands, but they clear the blockage and thus prevent inflammation.

Laser treatment for sebum glands

Laser treatments have become an integral part of modern dermatology. They are versatile and are continuously improved, so that side effects and risks are becoming increasingly rare. Modern medical lasers can also be used to remove sebum glands. CO2 lasers or dye lasers can be used to treat sebum glands.

The treatment can be carried out quickly and takes between 15 and 20 minutes. As with other medical treatments, however, side effects can also occur with laser treatment. After treatment, the skin may be a little red and tender. The blazing sun should therefore be avoided for a few days. Even slight pain is not uncommon. In rare cases, scarring disorders with relatively large scars can occur. Laser treatments usually lead to very good cosmetic results.

Which creams can help?

Often, pulling ointments are recommended against blocked sebum glands in various Internet forums. We can only advise against this at this point. They are not suitable for removing sebum glands or treating blocked sebum glands.

Anyone who tends to have a large-pored complexion and often clogged or enlarged sebum glands should use creams that have a degreasing effect and provide moisture. Such moisturizing creams come from different brands. It is best to seek advice from a pharmacy. Fatty ointment bases should be avoided, as they can also lead to blockage of other sebum glands.

If you have acne, you should use special creams prescribed by a dermatologist. They contain active ingredients such as topical vitamin A acid, azelaic acid or antibiotics.

Read more on this topic: Acne - that works best

Home remedies for blocked sebum glands

Sebum glands are found all over the body and are important for adequate protection of the skin against external factors. However, they can also become annoying when they are clogged, pimple, or enlarged. There are a number of things you can do to improve your complexion.

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Read more on this topic: Proper care for oily skin

However, home remedies for removing a sebum gland do not exist. Usually, a sebum gland does not have to be removed. Clogged sebum glands can be easily cleaned with homemade peelings. Coarse sea salt and a little water are suitable for this. The skin can be massaged with the salt on the affected areas. Then the salt is washed off again with clear, cold water. After the peeling, the skin should be cared for with a light, moisturizing cream.

Another way to improve the complexion of your face is to use hot chamomile steam baths. However, these tips only apply to moderately blemished skin. Real sebum cysts, acne or other inflammation of the sebum should be treated by a doctor.

Expressing sebum glands or cleaning with alcohol should definitely be avoided. In case of doubt, this can cause painful inflammation.


The costs of a sebum removal vary depending on the effort and the method used. Surgical removal of a sebum gland costs around 90 to 100 euros on average. When multiple sebum glands are removed, the cost increases too. A laser treatment is also priced in the same range. The cost of a fruit acid peeling of the skin is around 40 to 60 euros per session. Those who tend to have clogged sebum glands benefit from regular peelings.

Are the costs covered by the health insurance?

The health insurance does not always bear the costs for a sebum removal. The costs are covered if there is a medical indication. This means that the doctor can certify a medical need for the sebum gland to be removed. This is the case, for example, if there is a suspicion of a malignant change in the sebum gland or if there is an inflammation that cannot be treated otherwise.

Purely cosmetic reasons can rarely be successfully asserted with the health insurance company. In this case, you should find out in advance that your own health insurance company will assume the costs.

Localization of sebum glands

Sebum glands of the scalp

There are often so-called on the scalp Trichilemmal cysts. These sebum cysts are often found in multiple numbers on the scalp and do not cause any symptoms. They are filled with hard contents and look like small skin nodules. Trichilemmal cysts are usually not painful and also not inflammatory. For many people, however, they pose a cosmetic problem. In the event of symptoms or if desired, the cysts can be surgically removed.

Sebum glands on the nipples

There are also sebum glands on the nipples. The so-called Montgomery glands are particularly visible when the nipple is erected. They are large sebum glands that are arranged in a circle around the nipple in the areola. Montgomery's glands are quite normal and different degrees in every woman. They do not have to and should not be removed as they are particularly important for breastfeeding. The sebaceous glands are rarely inflamed or blocked. Even then, they do not have to be removed in every case. Ultimately, only a specialist can assess whether removal is necessary. In this case, you should contact a gynecologist.

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Sebum glands in the genital area

There are a particularly large number of sebum glands in the genital area. This is completely normal. However, many people find visible or enlarged sebum glands in this area unaesthetic. Healthy sebum glands cannot and should not be removed. They produce the protective sebum, which is particularly important for the sensitive skin of the genital area. However, inflamed sebum glands or greatly enlarged sebum glands can be removed.

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Sebum glands on the glans

Increased sebum glands in the genital area often cause concern for young men in particular. Many wonder whether this is normal or whether removal may be necessary. Sebum glands in the genital area, including on the glans, are something natural. Visible sebum glands, in the form of small yellowish dots, are not a cause for concern and do not need to be removed. Only inflamed, painful glands or sebum cysts can rarely be a reason for removal.

Sebum glands on the scrotum

There may also be enlarged or blocked sebum glands on the scrotum. They are often a cosmetic problem, especially for young men, and therefore the desire for removal is not uncommon. A urologist can open and scrape or remove the small cysts. Anyone who suffers from many enlarged or blocked sebum glands in this area often finds removal very relieving. However, it is not medically necessary as the sebum glands do not interfere with sexual function.

Also read the article: The sebum glands on the testicles.


Most sebum glands can be removed easily. Smaller sebum cysts, blockages or inflammations in particular are usually easy to remove. Ectopic sebum, on the other hand, can always return even after removal. These are sebum glands that occur in unusual places such as the upper lip, oral mucosa or the genital region.

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