Skin Cyst: Is It Time To See A Dermatologist?

What is a Cyst?

Essentially, a cyst is a ball of dead skin cells trapped underneath live skin. Usually skin produces new cells rapidly throughout your day and they fall off as normal and new cells take their place. A cyst is formed when those cells are trapped inside a balloon of skin and as the cells keep being formed, the ballon expands.

Cysts are closed sacs found within the body. Location and the composition of the membrane lining differentiates cysts from one another. There are three types of cysts found in the skin that are considered common. These include the epidermal (sebaceous) cyst, trichilemmal (pilar) cyst, and milium.

Does a cyst require treatment?

Yes. By the time you feel a cyst forming, it needs to be treated or it can create complications under the skin. It may take a long time for your body to naturally carry away those skin cells after the cyst has ruptured. Also, if you improperly open the cyst to relieve pressure you may permanently scar your skin.


Sometimes a cyst can become extremely painful as it enlarges. Calling a dermatologist for early removal and cleaning is essential to reduce discomfort and prevent longterm damage.

Can you remove a cyst at home?

At-home cyst removals do not work. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing home remedies for treating cysts. Do NOT try them. When people mash and lance their cysts, trying to squeeze out the inside, the cysts will just come back.

Remember, a cyst is a pocket in your skin lined with cells. The skin will continue to produce cells and refill the pocket as long as the pocket is there. You’re not treating the problem by squeezing the cyst. The pocket has to be removed.

Proper Cyst Removal by a Dermatologist:

There are three primary methods of removing cysts. Your dermatologist will determine which method is appropriate based on the type of your cyst and its location. Methods of cyst removal are:

-Drainage by piercing the cyst with a sharp instrument and squeezing out its contents
-Administration of cortisone by injection to shrink the targeted tissue
-Surgical removal by excising the entire cyst

Prior to most cyst removal procedures, your dermatologist will first numb the area with a local anesthetic. Cysts can grow back after any type of removal, but are least likely to recur after surgical excision.

You should be aware that since cysts are not cancerous, none of these methods puts you in danger of spreading a malignancy. If your doctor suspects that the bump is anything other than a cyst, he or she will biopsy a sample of the tissue to make sure it is non-malignant before proceeding. On the other hand, if your cyst has become infected, you may have to be treated with topical and/or oral antibiotics. If the infection is particularly bad, your dermatologist may administer antibiotics before performing an excision.