The Australasian College of Dermatologists

Recommendations from the Australasian College of Dermatologists on leg cellulitis, epidermal cysts, urticaria, distorted toenails & acne, advice on systemic non-sedating antihistamines and topical corticosteroids for skin conditions. The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) is the sole medical college accredited by the Australian Medical Council for the training and continuing professional development of medical practitioners in the specialty of dermatology. As the national peak membership organisation, we represent over 550 dermatologist Fellows (FACD) and 100 trainees. We are the leading authority in Australia for dermatology, providing information, advocacy and advice to patients, communities, government and other stakeholders on skin health and dermatological practice.

Do not routinely prescribe antibiotics for inflamed epidermoid cysts (formerly called sebaceous cysts) of the skin.

Date reviewed: 31 March 2021

The inflammation is secondary to an intense foreign body reaction to the cyst contents leaking into adjacent tissues and will respond to incision and drainage. The use of intralesional corticosteroid injections has been suggested, but there are no formal studies to support this practice. Although oral antibiotics are often prescribed, there is no evidence on which to base recommendations for their routine use in this setting.

Supporting evidence
  • Diven D, Dozier S, Meyer, D, Smith EB. Bacteriology of inflamed and uninflamed epidermal inclusion cysts. Archives of Dermatology 1998; 134(1):49-51.
  • Poonawalla T, Uchida T and Diven DG. 2006. Survey of Antibiotic Prescription Use for Inflamed Epidermal Inclusion Cysts. J Cutan Med Surg. 2006; Mar-Apr;10(2):79-84. (Fee for access)
  • Weir CB and St. Hilaire. 2019. Epidermal Inclusion Cyst. StatPearls (book). Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan. (Free access online)
How this list was made How this list was made

College’s Expert Advisory Committee, comprising seven longstanding Fellows considered four potential recommendations, together with supporting evidence, and agreed to proceed with three of them. The Committee then refined and finalised the recommendations. These were reviewed by the NPS Representatives Committee and finalised in response to the feedback received.

Download ACD Recommendations