definition

An inflammation of the sebum is, as the name suggests, an inflammation of the sebum glands.
Sebum glands are found everywhere on the surface of the body where they usually appear on the skin together with hair. For this reason, inflammation of the sebum can form in almost all parts of the body. Most of the time, however, they occur on the head, face, neck and neck, as well as in the genital area.
Inflammation of the sebum is usually harmless, but in some cases it can lead to more severe infections and inflammation.

Causes of an inflammation of the sebum

The sebum glands are all over the skin and produce a fatty secretion called sebum (Sebum). The sebum is used to lubricate the skin, protect it and help to maintain the natural skin barrier. If there is a blockage of the excretory ducts of the sebum gland, the sebum that is formed can no longer flow out and accumulates. As a result, an inflammation of the sebum develops.

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Hormone fluctuations, such as during puberty or pregnancy, can lead to an overproduction of sebum (see also: Sebum overactive) come (seborrhea), which causes the sebum glands to become clogged faster and more easily inflamed.
Adolescents in particular are often affected by inflammation of the small sebum glands on the face due to the change in their hormone balance - this disease is known as acne vulgaris. Numerous white-yellowish pimples and blackheads form on the skin. The disease is harmless, but the psychological stress for those affected is often enormous.
However, environmental factors or incorrect skin care, such as creams that are too greasy or a washing gel that is too aggressive, disrupt the natural balance of the skin and can cause inflammation of the sebum glands. Other causes of sebum inflammation can be chemical substances found in cosmetics or skin care products that cause a reaction in sensitive skin. Skin blemishes and inflammation of the sebum glands can also be caused by certain medications, such as cortisone or some sleeping pills.

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also read: Clogged sebum- What can be the cause?

diagnosis

The dermatologist (dermatologist) diagnoses an inflammation of the sebum by inspecting the affected area.
The typical skin changes that are associated with an inflamed sebum are usually enough to make a clear diagnosis. If the course is severe, it can lead to massive inflammation and the formation of an abscess or boil. In such cases, the inflamed tissue must be surgically split, whereby the removed tissue can be examined histologically (fine-tissue) after the procedure. In addition, the doctor can take a smear of the purulent secretion in order to identify the bacteria it contains and to be able to adapt any antibiotic therapy that may be necessary to the pathogen.

This topic may also be of interest to you: Overactive sebum

Concomitant symptoms

The inflammation leads to a sometimes massive enlargement of the affected sebum. The surrounding tissue swells, turns red and the skin feels warm at this point. Due to the swelling, the inflammation of the sebum causes more or less severe pain, depending on the size. Dead skin cells and sebum accumulate in the blocked sebum. In this environment, bacteria that occur naturally on the skin can multiply particularly well and further intensify the inflammation.

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A sebum cyst, also known as a sebum, can develop in the head area in the course of an inflammation of the sebum Atheroma or colloquially as Wheat groats is called, form. When the duct is blocked, the sebum accumulates in a cyst that lies under the skin. Atheroma is benign, but it is often accompanied by very unpleasant symptoms. These include a very strong swelling of the tissue and tenderness. Atheromas that form in the area of ​​the head or face should be examined by a doctor and, if necessary, surgically removed, as there is a great risk that the inflammation will spread to the brain. The spread of the inflammation to surrounding tissue causes a high fever and, in severe cases, can result in blood poisoning, which can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

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You might also be interested in this topic: Sebum hyperplasia

Complications of an inflammation of the sebum

abscess

An inflammation of the sebum usually runs smoothly, but in some cases the inflammation can spread to the surrounding tissue and lead to the formation of an abscess. This is an encapsulated collection of pus in a newly formed cavity that was created by melting down inflamed tissue. Abscesses are caused by bacteria, mostly Staphylococcus aureus, caused. Smaller abscesses can be treated with pulling ointment. The pus spontaneously empties outwards and the wound heals on its own. A large abscess with very advanced inflammation must be surgically removed. The surgeon uses local anesthesia to split the sebum with an incision.

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You might also be interested in this topic: Abscess on the face

boil

An inflammation of the sebum can become inflamed further and lead to the development of a boil. A boil is inflammation of the follicle of the hair and is caused by bacteria. The most common cause of boils is the bacterium Staphylococcus aureusthat occurs in the natural skin flora. Boils can swell a lot and be very painful. In contrast to an abscess, the inflammation is not encapsulated by the surrounding tissue, so the infection can spread quickly. Small boils often empty spontaneously, whereas larger boils have to be surgically cut open.

Read more on the subject at: Causes of a boil

Localization of an inflammation of the sebum

Inflammation of the sebum in the armpit

In principle, sebum inflammation can occur anywhere on the hairy surface of the body. Often there is an inflammation of the sebum glands in the armpit, which are noticeable as painful nodules. The inflamed sebum is then visible as a kind of pus pimple and the surrounding skin is red and swollen. A common cause of sebum inflammation in the armpit is shaving armpit hair with a wet razor. Especially when the razor is no longer really sharp, small injuries to the skin occur, through which bacteria can penetrate and cause inflammation. In most cases, an inflammation in the armpit is not a serious problem and will heal on its own after a few days.

But there are also other diseases that cause symptoms similar to those of an inflammation of the sebum in the armpit. This includes furunculosis, i.e. the infection of a sweat gland. An ingrown hair causes the sweat gland to become inflamed, the sweat can no longer drain and a tangible knot is formed. But even swollen lymph nodes can be felt as painful nodules in the armpit. If the lump does not go away on its own after a few days or if it causes very severe pain, a doctor should be consulted. The doctor can determine the cause of the inflammation and treat accordingly.

Similar topics that might interest you: Boils in the armpit

Inflammation of the sebum of the eye

An inflammation of the sebum on the eye is particularly troublesome. There are around 20-25 sebum glands on the edge of the eyelid that produce sebum and are important for the formation of the tear film on the eye. The ducts of the gland can become clogged with dead skin or sebum and become inflamed. The blockage makes it easier for bacteria to multiply in the sebum gland and trigger a slow inflammatory reaction in the eye. It usually takes several weeks for the inflammation of the sebum to cause symptoms and for those affected to consult a doctor.

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A chronic inflammation of the sebum glands in the eye leads to the formation of a hailstone (Chalazion). The hailstone is usually not painful, but it causes very severe swelling of the eyelid, which means that those affected feel a pronounced feeling of pressure and in rare cases also cause problems with their vision. In addition, a hailstone is not very aesthetically pleasing. Recurring sebum inflammation should be clarified by a doctor, as diabetes mellitus or certain skin diseases such as rosacea can be concealed behind it. In very rare cases, a sebum gland carcinoma, i.e. a tumor that forms from cells of the sebum gland, can cause symptoms similar to those of a hailstone. This is an aggressively growing tumor that can easily be mistaken for an inflammation on the eyelid.

Inflammation of the sebum in the genital area

Inflammation of the sebum is particularly annoying if it occurs in the genital area. The inflammation can restrict people from sitting, walking, cycling, and standing. Using the toilet can also cause problems. Frequent shaving of the genital area promotes sebum inflammation, as small injuries to the skin can cause bacteria to penetrate and multiply in the sebum glands. In addition, there is a warm and humid climate in the intimate area, in which the bacteria feel particularly comfortable and grow easily.

Often the inflammation heals on its own after a few days. Larger pustules can also be treated with a pull-out ointment, which accelerates the maturation of the boil and thus supports the healing process. Many sufferers are reluctant to consult a doctor in the case of sebum inflammation in the genital area. However, if the inflammation is very painful, causing severe problems, or if you suspect that an abscess or boil has already formed, you should definitely seek treatment from a doctor.

Further information: Abscess in the genital area

Inflammation of the sebum on the face

Inflammation of the sebum glands occurs very often on the face, as there are a particularly large number of sebum glands here.
The sebum glands are particularly dense in the so-called T-zone (forehead, nose and chin), which is why these areas are particularly prone to blemishes. Excess sebum production and a disturbed keratinization of the skin clog the sebum glands and disturbing skin impurities are the result. This clinical picture is known as Acne vulgaris. Acne mainly occurs during puberty due to hormonal changes and is not contagious. The blocked sebum glands become blackheads, a distinction being made between open (black head) and closed (white head) blackheads. Bacterial colonization causes the blackheads to ignite and pus pimples develop.

You might also be interested in: This is how impure skin is treated

Inflammation of the sebum on the back

Inflammation of the sebum on the back is common and affects many people.
The reason for this is that there are comparatively many sebum glands on the back, which can easily become clogged and inflamed. In addition, the pores of the skin on the back are larger than on the face or neck, which means that the inflammation that occurs can also be significantly larger.The development of sebum inflammation is promoted by tight clothing or wearing rucksacks. Due to the mechanical friction, dead skin cells and sweat clog the sebum glands and promote the inflammatory process. Clothing made of synthetic materials can also irritate the skin, as sweat and heat are poorly emitted. Cotton fabrics are better suited to prevent blemishes on the back.

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Inflammation of the sebum in the chest

In the areola of female breasts there are sebum glands, also known as Glandulae aerolares or Montgomery glands are designated. These glands are clearly visible as small bumps around the nipple.
These sebum glands can also become blocked and inflamed, causing reddening and a pronounced feeling of warmth in the affected area. Inflammation of the sebum gland on the chest is harmless and usually does not require further treatment. Pushing around on the Montgomery glands or squeezing out any pus that may be present in the event of inflammation should be avoided, as otherwise bacteria can be squeezed into the tissue and cause severe infections.

Read more on this topic at: Sebum of the nipple

Inflammation of the sebum on the ear

There are many sebum glands behind the ears and on the ear lobes, which often leads to inflammation of the sebum glands in these areas. Sebum, dirt and sweat clog the ducts of the glands and lead to inflammation.
The inflammation can be felt as small lumps and causes pain when touched. In addition, the surrounding skin is warm and reddened. In the case of bacterial colonization, a boil or abscess can develop on the ear. To prevent sebum inflammation on the ears, the auricles and the skin behind the ears should be cleaned daily.

Inflammation of the sebum on the head

There are sebaceous glands all over the head. These are either associated with hair, such as on the skin of the head and face, or occur in the form of so-called free sebum glands on the lips and eyes.
Very often clogged sebum glands form on the scalp Atheromas (Sebum cysts). These atheromas are benign tumors that grow very slowly, cause no pain and have no disease value. However, above a certain size, the cysts pose a cosmetic problem, which is why those affected should see a doctor. This can quickly remove the growths with a small surgical procedure. If an atheroma becomes infected and there is pain and pus formation, a doctor should also be consulted quickly, otherwise serious infections and complications can occur.

Inflammation of the sebum on the scrotum

There are also sebum glands on the scrotum, although sebum inflammation only occurs in very rare cases.
The sebum glands can become clogged, especially through profuse sweating. Airy cotton underwear can reduce the occurrence of sebum inflammation on the testicles.

Treatment of inflammation of the sebum

An inflammation of the sebum is unproblematic in most cases and heals on its own. An explicit treatment is then not necessary. Pushing around on the inflamed area of ​​the skin should be avoided at all costs, as this can cause bacteria to get under the skin and cause severe infections and inflammations. The healing process can be accelerated by removing the inflammation with pulling ointment.

In some cases, however, the blocked sebum gland can become infected with pus and must then be treated surgically. Even in the case of large inflammations that are very deep under the skin, surgery must be carried out to remove it. The doctor cuts open the inflamed sebum so that the pus it contains can drain away. Then the wound is rinsed with an antiseptic solution and stuffed with compresses. After the procedure, the patient may need to take antibiotic medication for a few days to prevent the wound from getting infected again.

This topic could also be of interest: Surgery of an abscess

Which ointment helps with an inflammation of the sebum?

A so-called pull ointment or pull ointment can be used to treat an inflammation of the sebum. This is a special ointment whose active ingredients (mostly shale oil from the oil shale) “remove” the inflammation from the skin. The ointment promotes blood circulation in the skin, which causes the pus to break through faster to the outside.

In addition, pull ointments reduce the skin's sebum production and have a killing effect on bacteria and other germs. Pull ointments are available in any pharmacy without a prescription.

When do I need antibiotics if I have an inflammation of the sebum?

Simple inflammation of the sebum is harmless and does not require any drug therapy with antibiotics.
However, if the inflammation of the sebum recurs or if it is severe, such as the formation of an abscess or a boil, it may be necessary for the doctor to prescribe an antibiotic. The antibiotic inhibits the growth of the bacteria causing the infection and promotes the healing of the inflammation.

Home remedies for an inflammation of the sebum

Tea tree oil has an antibacterial effect and soothes inflammation on the surface of the skin. The oil can be dabbed directly on the inflammation of the sebum with a cotton swab, which speeds up healing and can prevent severe inflammation.
Regular scrubs remove dead skin and excess sebum, making the sebum glands less likely to clog. For peeling, you can simply mix sea salt or sugar with a little olive oil and apply this mixture to the skin in circular movements.

Duration

The duration of an inflammation of the sebum depends on the severity and type of inflammation.
Small inflammations heal on their own within a few days. More severe infections can be treated with heat or a pull ointment. For abscesses or boils, treatment must be carried out by a doctor, with the focus of inflammation surgically split open. After the procedure, it can take up to a week for the wound to heal.


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