A quick overview of sebaceous cysts and ways to manage them
A sebaceous cyst or an epidermal cyst is a swollen formation on the skin. Both
men and women of any age can develop these cysts. Under the skin, a cyst
consists of yellow material or a clear oily liquid.
A person may have one cyst or several of them. Although it looks harmful, such
cysts are non-cancerous. Nevertheless, the patient may find them annoying if
these formations occur on the exposed places in the body.
What causes sebaceous cysts?
Mostly, these cysts occur when the hair follicles face trauma. It causes the
follicles to swell with Keratin that is a type of protein. Consequently, the
cysts appear as bulges on the skin. They grow slowly. Hence, the patient may
spot them after a few days have passed since the trauma.
Other causes of formation of the cysts include excessive production of sebum
oil in the sebaceous glands. These glands are present right below the skin.
When the pores are blocked, the oil from the glands cannot come out. As a result,
the gland inflammation and cause sebaceous cysts.
Sebaceous cysts: Factors that increase their risk
The cysts mostly occur in youngsters, who have just reached puberty. During
this phase, the sebaceous glands are highly active, which lead to cyst formation.
Moreover, people, who had acne during their teenage years, are also more likely
to develop these cysts. I experienced them from about eighteen to twenty five. After playing tennis for long periods of time, the sweat glands would back up and lead to the cysts.
In many instances, people, who went through prolonged sun exposure, experienced
cyst formation. Additionally, trauma to an area may encourage the growth of a
cyst. For instance, being hit by a soccer ball in the knee may result in
Areas prone to developing cysts and their symptoms
Generally, the cysts occur in the neck region, torso, and face. Often, cysts
form around the genital area too. Small cysts are generally painless. In fact,
many times they are so small that they are hard to detect. However, the bigger
ones are painful and exert pressure on the surrounding skin.
Due to their large size, the cysts become vulnerable to receiving injury. They
are soft to touch and may become unsightly with time.
Ways to prevent sebaceous cysts
Factors like stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep make the sebaceous glands
secrete excess oil. By controlling these factors, cysts can be avoided. Moreover,
people, who have oily skin, should limit their hours of sun exposure. They
should only use water-based products, which do not let oil to settle on the
Sebaceous cysts: Natural Remedies
It is best to cure the cysts using natural ways and items.
First, the ways are simple to follow and items are easily available.
Second, natural cures do not pose any threat of side effects.
Third, along with curing them, the natural methods further growth of cysts too. There are a number of natural ways using which the cysts can be treated successfully:
- Hot compresses
By bringing the cysts in contact with hot compresses, the patient can get quick
relief. This method quickens the life cycle of the cyst by facilitating the
drainage of the contents.
Make sure to use a comfortable hot compress. Too much heat, apart from being
painful, may lead to excessive growth of bacteria. Hence, before applying it,
ascertain that it is medium hot.
- Aloe Vera
It is a plant that has been found to have pain-relieving and healing qualities.
The gel of the plant has to be applied regularly on the inflamed area. Aloe
Vera gel does not cause any reaction. Rather, it provides a cool feel on the
For better results, the patient should drink Aloe Vera juice. It has detoxifying
properties, which cleans the system and encourages the sebaceous glands to work
properly. The juice is available at regular health stores and online as well.
- Tea tree oil
It is a highly useful remedy for the cysts. Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial as
well as anti-inflammatory characteristics. Therefore, the patient gets relief
from the swollen skin as well as bacteria. In this way, the chances of the
recurrence of cysts are hugely reduced.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
It is natural vinegar and it removes the cyst completely. Its application
causes emptying of the pus from the cyst. Raw vinegar is applied to the spot
and then, covered with a bandage.
Around 3-4 days later, the bandage has to be removed. By that time, the cyst
will have developed a hard cover. No more vinegar should be applied. After 1-2
days, the cover becomes drier and harder.
On gently removing the cover, the liquid drains out. Afterwards, antiseptic
should be applied to the area and covered again with a bandage. 1-2 days later
the patient should remove the bandage to witness new skin.
- Witch Hazel
It is an herb whose leaves have strong astringent properties. Hence, when
applied to the cyst, they provide relief from inflammation and calm the
sebaceous glands. Witch Hazel is available in stores in a cream and gel form.
It is applied directly over the affected spot. The cyst should absorb the cream
slowly. It takes at least 2-3 days for the results to appear.
- Nutrients that enhance immunity
People, who fall ill frequently, are more susceptible to sebaceous cysts.
Moreover, such individuals also have to suffer the cysts for a longer period.
That is why consumption of foods that increase immunity is highly recommended.
Inclusion of fruits like apples and oranges, and leafy vegetables in the daily
diet is a good idea. If access to vegetables and fruits is limited, Vitamin A
and C tablets can be had. Most medical stores sell these tablets.
Do not confuse epidermal cyst for acne
Acne and sebaceous cysts look similar in many ways. Both have round texture and are inflammations. However, they are different, and they need different treatment and care. Some of the principal traits that differentiate a epidermal cyst and acne are as follows:
- At first, the acne appears as pink in color. With time, it turns red. On the other hand, a cyst has a white appearance and later on, it turns yellowish in hue.
- Unlike acne, cysts are soft to the touch. They also have an unstable head. When touched lightly, their heads move under the fingertip.