Avoiding the risk of infection by popping a cyst at home: the face, back, and neck

Dr. Owen Kramer has given his medical approval. As written by Jayne Leonard Thursday, July 24, 2019

Often misidentified as sebaceous cysts, epidermoid cysts are benign skin lumps that develop from hair follicles. A cyst can form in just about any organ or tissue.

Inflammation can affect both the epidermoid cyst itself and the skin around it. Inflammation, pain, and discoloration are all possible results of this. In an effort to alleviate the pain, some people choose to pop their cysts. Infection and scarring are risks that are amplified when a cyst is picked at or squeezed.

Alternative methods, such as the application of compresses, can help reduce inflammation and promote natural healing of a cyst. If the doctor determines that these measures have failed, he or she may prescribe medication or suggest surgical removal of the cyst.

There is no reason to treat an epidermoid cyst if it is not causing any discomfort. It might go away on its own, but it could come back if not surgically removed.

Facial, spinal, and cervical cysts are very common. The following remedies may be used on any part of the body.

Inflammation caused by a cyst may be alleviated with a warm compress.

Here are some suggestions for making a warm compress:

  1. Put a fresh cloth in hot water to use as a washcloth or towel.
  2. The cloth needs to be wrung out.
  3. Gently apply it to the cyst. Don't touch it for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Three to four times a day, with a fresh washcloth, is the recommended frequency of application.

Compresses can be used to ease aches and pains.

Inflammation of a cyst can cause pain and be cosmetically unappealing. To alleviate some of the discomfort caused by a cyst, ice can be applied to the area.

Try these methods to reduce swelling:

  1. Ice can be made by wrapping a clean towel around a bag of frozen vegetables or an ice pack.
  2. Apply this for up to 10 minutes at a time while the cyst heals.
  3. The process should be repeated three or four times a day, with fresh towels each time.

Use warm and cold compresses alternately throughout the day to reduce inflammation. Frozen products should never be applied directly to the skin because they can cause severe burns.

Infection of the skin around the cyst may be avoided if the area is kept clean.

Try these tips for maintaining clean skin:

  1. Daily skin care consists of a lukewarm bath with a mild cleanser
  2. When washing your skin, be sure to use mild, circular motions.
  3. Fragrances and other chemically-heavy products should be avoided because of their potential to irritate the skin.
  4. Inflammation can be exacerbated by scrubbing the cyst or using harsh exfoliants.

Do not touch or squeeze the cyst if it begins to ooze or drain. If a cyst is open, bacteria may enter and cause an infection if you touch it.

Maintain a sanitary environment around the cyst. Placing a bandage over the affected area could help.

Share on PinterestPut up on Pinterest If a cyst becomes infected or inflamed, a person should see a doctor.

Many cysts can be treated at home.

In most cases, they get better on their own, and there are measures one can take to alleviate inflammation and pain.

If, on the other hand, the cyst:

  • develops rapidly
  • ruptures
  • has a high degree of discomfort or sensitivity
  • develops an infection or inflammation
  • raises aesthetic concerns
  • is noticeable, and located where it will rub against clothing

Get medical help if any of these symptoms persist.

The following medical procedures may be used by a doctor if home remedies fail and a cyst does not heal on its own:

Anti-inflammatory injection of cortisone or steroids

A small needle is used to inject the anti-inflammatory medication corticosteroid into the cyst or the area around it.

The process takes very little time, and most patients report feeling little discomfort afterward. After receiving the injection, the lump should shrink.

Drainage and incision

Before draining a cyst, a doctor may numb the area with a local anesthetic. The next step is to make a small incision in the cyst and drain the contents. However, there are a few reasons why medical professionals advise against this.

To begin with, there will always be a scar from the incision. Second, this method has the potential to release the cyst's contents into the surrounding tissue. There's a chance it could make cyst surgery more complicated down the line.

Furthermore, the removal of the cyst is necessary to resolve the underlying issue, which incision and drainage do not do. If a doctor uses this method, the cyst will likely return and could become inflamed once more.

Surgical removal

Most cysts, including epidermoid cysts, are best treated via excision, a relatively simple surgical procedure. The most effective treatment is excision, which entails removing the entire cyst.

When the cyst shows signs of infection and inflammation, the doctor will likely not remove it. Cyst removal typically occurs after waiting 4-6 weeks for inflammation to subside.


Antibiotics and other prescription medications may be necessary for severe inflammation.

Evidence of inflammation within a cyst may prompt a doctor to prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment typically lasts between one and two weeks.

Epidermoid cysts are skin lesions that, with treatment, should improve within a few days to a few weeks.

The cyst may reappear and become inflamed again, even if it decreases in size. The only way to permanently get rid of a cyst is to have your doctor perform a procedure called excision on it.

Epidermoid cysts are a benign subcutaneous cyst that commonly appear on the back, neck, and face.

A skin cyst is usually not a sign of anything seriously wrong with your health, but it can be annoying. Where they are placed can also affect how they make someone feel.

Some cyst inflammations can be treated at home, but in the short term, it may be necessary to see a doctor to get the inflammation under control.

Medical professionals will need to remove the cyst to prevent its recurrence.

A dermatologist should be consulted by anyone who has any skin-related concerns.

Clinical evaluation completed on July 24, 2019

  • Dermatology
  • The Use of Non-Traditional Treatments to Improve Health
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