Having skin cysts can be painful and unattractive. Acne cysts can take the form of large and painful blemishes and bumps. It is a mistake to pick or squeeze these cysts because they develop deep in the skin and are not meant to come out of the surface. Picking cysts can also lead to infection and scarring. Most cysts are not dangerous and may even go away on their own given time. But there are treatments to help cysts shrink or go away altogether.
What are cysts?
Basically, a cyst is a sac-like pocket or pouch of tissue that can include fluid, air, or other substances. These cysts can form in many places in the body or under the skin. A cyst can stay small and disappear on its own or for some reason the cyst can grow to a large size that needs medical attention. The causes for cysts developing can include infections, chronic inflammation, blockages in ducts, or inherited diseases.
Does a person with cysts need medical help?
Does a person require help treating cysts? That depends on several factors. There are some conditions that determine whether medical help is needed in dealing with a cyst.
- The type of cyst and where it is located
- The cyst may be causing pain and discomfort
- The cyst may be infected
- The cyst is impinging on a nerve or blood vessel
- the cyst is affecting the healthy functioning of an organ
A person in doubt about the need for treatment can take a picture of the cyst and send it to an online dermatologist or medical service. They can also visit their primary care physician.
Are there more than one kind of cysts?
There are numerous types of cysts and a treatment plan for each. Cysts can grow in most areas of the body.
- Epidermoid cysts are small bumps filled with keratin protein. They are usually benign. They may occur around a hair follicle that has suffered trauma.
- Sebaceous cysts are located inside sebaceous glands which are part of the skin and hair follicles. Sebaceous glands make oil for skin and hair. When they are blocked, they can get cysts filled with sebum.
- The Ganglion cyst is benign and forms near the body’s joints in hands, wrists, feet, and ankles. They form along the tendons in these areas.
- Ovarian cysts can form when the follicle meant to release eggs doesn’t open. This causes fluid to build up forming a cyst. They are found during pelvic exams. When they form after menopause, they can mean a greater risk of cancer.
- Breast cysts are caused by blocked breast glands. They can cause tenderness and pain.
- Chalazia cysts form on a person’s eyelids when an oil gland is blocked. They are benign. But, this type of cyst can cause tenderness and pain and can even affect a person’s vision.
- A pilonidal cyst form near the top, the middle part of the buttocks and is filled with skin debris, oils, hair, and other matter. Men get them more often than women. This cyst can become infected and then can increase a person’s risk of cancer.
- The popliteal or baker’s cyst forms on the back of the knee. It is filled with fluid and can add to discomfort and mobility issues. Treatments such as physical therapy, fluid draining, and medication can be used to treat this cyst.
- Cystic acne is caused by a combination of oil, bacteria, and dead skin that clogs pores. Young adults suffer from this most severe form of acne, but it improves with age. These cysts look like pus-filled boils on a person’s skin and can be painful. a dermatologist can recommend medications to treat this condition. There are topical treatment options available.
- An ingrown hair cyst is formed when a hair grows into the skin and is benign. No treatment is needed unless it gets infected.
- Pilar cysts are flesh-colored lumps forming on the skin surface and are benign. They can grow to an uncomfortable size.
- The mucous cyst is filled with fluid and forms on the lip or near the mouth as salivary glands become plugged with mucus. They usually go away by themselves.
- The branchial cleft cyst is a birth defect forming a lump on a baby’s neck or below the collarbone. It can resemble a large skin tag. Doctors often recommend surgical removal.
All of the forms of cysts that are on or near the skin surface can be treated in several ways. At home, the person can apply warm compresses to help the cyst drain and heal faster. Medical professionals can treat troublesome cysts by draining the fluids with a needle, prescribe medications to reduce the inflammation in the cyst. or they can surgically remove the cyst. Removal is usually done if a cyst does not respond well to draining or is causing problems.
When are cysts a problem?
When a cyst is a problem because of its size, its location, being painful, or being infected, a doctor can help. Some cysts can lead to cancer, so it is important to show any cysts that are uncomfortable to your doctor. Some additional treatment options involve laser treatments or removal or cutting into the cyst and pushing out the inside contents. The problem with draining cysts is that they may come back. Surgical removal is a more permanent solution.
Cysts that are small and not painful should be left to heal on their own. But if a cyst is mildly irritating, the person can put a warm washcloth on it for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day, keeping it clean with soap and water, and bandaging it if it starts to drain. Young adults with cystic acne on their faces and necks will want a serious treatment that works. This type of acne is painful and disfiguring while it lasts. The person’s looks are affected at a time in their lives where self-image is fragile.
There are topical treatments that are formulated to reduce visible inflammation of the cystic acne bumps and provide quick relief. These treatments work best when they are used on newly formed cysts. There are a group of related products using effective ingredients such as vitamin C and E. This collection of products can clear this type of acne