Skin Cyst: Home TreatmentSkip to the navigation
Home treatment for a lump, such as a sebaceous (epidermal) cyst, may relieve symptoms but may not make the cyst go away. A sebaceous cyst is a sac filled with a cheeselike, greasy material (sebum) caused by plugged ducts at the site of a hair follicle. Sebaceous cysts most often appear on the scalp, ears, face, back, or scrotum. Hormone stimulation or injury may cause them to enlarge or become infected.
Signs and symptoms include a bump or lump under the skin that is:
- Firm and easily moveable.
- Yellow, white, or flesh-colored. It can turn bright red if injured or infected.
- Painless (but can be painful if injured or infected).
- 1 in. (2.5 cm) or smaller to 4 in. (10.2 cm).
To treat a lump that may be caused by infection under the skin:
- Do not squeeze, scratch, drain, open (lance), or puncture the lump. Doing this can irritate or inflame the lump, push any existing infection deeper into the skin, or cause severe bleeding.
- Keep the area clean by washing the lump and surrounding skin well with an antibacterial soap.
- Apply warm, wet washcloths to the lump for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. If you prefer, you can also use a hot water bottle or heating pad over a damp towel. The heat and moisture can soothe the lump, increase blood circulation to the area, and speed healing. It can also bring a lump caused by infection to a head (but it may take 5 to 7 days). Be careful not to burn your skin. Do not use water that is warmer than bath water.
- If the lump begins to drain pus, apply a bandage to keep the draining material from spreading. Change the bandage daily. If a large amount of pus drains from the lump, or the lump becomes more red or painful, evaluation by a doctor may be needed.
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015
Current as of: February 20, 2015
Author: Healthwise Staff