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Skin Cyst: Home Treatment

Overview

An epidermal (skin) cyst is a small, round lump in the top layer of skin called the epidermis. It may be filled with a soft, yellow substance called keratin. Skin cysts most often appear on the face, ears, back, or chest. But they can appear on almost any part of the body.

When you have a skin cyst, the lump or bump under the skin is:

  • Small, round, and smooth.
  • About the size of a pea, or a little smaller or larger.
  • Yellow, white, or skin-colored. It can turn red if it becomes inflamed.
  • Painless. But it can be painful if it's inflamed.

Home treatment for a lump such as an epidermal (skin) cyst may relieve symptoms but may not make the cyst go away.

Here are some tips for treating 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.

    Wash the lump and surrounding skin well with 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.
    • Be careful not to burn your skin. Do not use water that is warmer than bath water.
  • Apply a bandage.

    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, you may need to see a doctor.

Related Information

    Credits

    Current as of: November 15, 2021

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review:
    William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
    E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
    David Messenger MD - Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine

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