What's the difference between a pilonidal and a sebaceous cyst?

Differences. A pilonidal cyst generally occurs in hairy areas and occurs due to ingrowth of the hairs. A sebaceous cyst occurs when a sebaceous gland becomes blocked and sebaceous material secreted builds up under the skin. Both conditions generally require surgical excision.
Big difference. A sebaceous cyst may occur anywhere sebaceous glands (skin oil glands) are located. These cysts have a lining that sheds cells into the central cavity producing a cheese like appearing white material. A pilonidal cyst occurs in a specific location (near your tailbone) and may be filled with a variety of structures that derive from outer layer of the skin (ectoderm): hair, sebaceous, teeth, etc.

Related Questions

Outside of locations, what is the difference between pilonidal and sebaceous cysts?

Cyst vs. sinus. The pilonidal lesion may be called cyst, but it is a sinus. A sebaceous cyst is a true cyst containing sebum, secretion of glands of skin. Consult these sites for info. http://www.webmd.boots.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/pilondial-sinus http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sebaceous-cysts/basics/definition/CON-20031599. Read more...