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Harley Street Dermatology

Skin Conditions


How to Get Rid of Skin Cyst?

Date: Nov 2016

Cysts are small swellings on your skin that are caused by blocked hair follicles or your skin cells. They look like skin-coloured, tan, or yellowish bumps filled with thick material. Categorised to two types, Epidermoid cysts are slow-growing, benign cysts most commonly found on the face, head, neck, back, or genitals. Usually caused by a build-up of keratin under the skin, they may become swollen, red, and painful if they are infected.
Type of Skin Cyst
The other type of skin cyst is the sebaceous cyst, which is caused by blocked hair follicles and can be found on the face, neck or torso. Although this is noncancerous, and very slow-growing, it can grow large, causing pressure and pain.
So, should you be worried? Most cysts are completely benign and are caused by blockages in your skin’s drainage system. If you’re sure that you have a benign cyst and isn’t bothering you in any way, you can leave it. Some cysts will go away in time.
If you’d like to try and relieve it yourself, you can use a warm compress or flannel and hold it against the cyst for 10 minutes to help reduce the inflammation and encourage it to drain and heal. If unsuccessful, do not attempt to burst or drain the cyst yourself. This can lead to infecting that area and the cyst is then likely to return as it won’t be removed completely.
You have the other options of treating it with medication; antibiotics and cortisone. If the cyst is painful and infected, do not ignore it; an infection left to spread can even cause death. Your dermatologist can prescribe you antibiotics to decrease the swelling and treat the infection. Sometimes that can help in the cyst going on its own.
If not, your dermatologist can inject the cyst with cortisone. An injection directly into the cyst should reduce inflammation and encourage it to start shrinking within 48 hours. This can provide rapid relief for a particularly large or painful cyst.
So, even if may not be causing severe pain it is worth seeking treatment for a cyst. Get yourself to a dermatologist at the Harley street dermatology Clinic to assess your cyst, especially if its diameter is larger than 5 centimetres, if there are signs of infection such as redness, pain or pus, or if you have already had it removed and it has returned.
If you are concerned about your cyst and you would like to make sure it is benign, a punch biopsy can be arranged with one of our dermatologists. This involves cutting out a small amount of tissue from the cyst to be examined for any malignancy. However, cysts which are internal have more cause for concern and should always be checked to make sure they are not cancerous.
Your final option is surgical removal. If the cyst is causing discomfort or making you self-conscious, you can have it cut out. Our dermatologists can drain or remove the cyst for you. The procedure may leave a small scar, but the best excision is the conventional wide excision which will remove the cyst completely. It can leave a longer scar but with this method the cyst is not likely to ever return.
Cysts or cystic acne can sometimes be related to a hereditary disease or disorder. For example, Steatocystoma multiplex is a rare inherited disorder in which multiple sebaceous cysts form, Gardner’s syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome can cause this too. If you have recurring cysts, our doctors can test and diagnose you, and would be happy to assess and treat you.


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