Sebaceous cysts are a common name for a small and painless lump under the skin, and they affect the sebaceous glands which are the oil glands in our skin. They usually form on the face, upper chest, and upper back, but can also be found on other locations on the body. They appear when the opening of a sebaceous gland becomes blocked or damaged, and the substance known as sebum cannot escape it, but continues to accumulate.
Sebaceous cysts are generally small in size and they can remain like that for a long time, but sometimes they can get larger and cause discomfort, or become a cosmetic problem, especially if located on the face. This can be a problem for a lot of people as they are generally much bigger than a common pimple and much harder to hide with makeup. For this reason, one may wonder, do I have to do something about it or will it go away on its own?
Does It Go Away On Its Own?
Usually, sebaceous cysts grow very slowly, so it may be long before you notice that you actually have one. However, once you start to notice it and once it starts to bother you, it will probably have grown to a considerable size. At this point a question may arise: do I take care of it, or leave it be to go away on its own?
Good news is that sebaceous cysts can go away on their own. If it does not get inflamed, cause discomfort, or look cosmetically unpleasant, you can just leave it alone with no treatment. However, if a cyst becomes tender, swollen, or red, you may want to consider some of the home treatments that can help with your problem.
What do I do if the Cyst Becomes Inflamed?
If you have decided to let the cyst be or just help a little with its healing process, there are several things you can do to speed this up. Usually, if it starts to hurt, it is best to go to your doctor as he or she will be most competent to prescribe you the best treatment and determine if the cyst is actually another type of skin growth that could be potentially dangerous.
Before you go to the doctor, make sure you have all the information you can possibly get about your cyst. Such information may contain recent skin injuries you may have had, the first time you noticed the cyst, if it changed over time, if you had other cysts in the past, if someone in your family has ever had one, et cetera. A doctor may decide to inject your cyst with steroid medicine which will reduce the swelling, or, alternatively, to drain it.
If you have, on the other hand, decided to deal with your cyst on your own using home remedies, there is one thing you should never do. Never try to squeeze the cyst like you would a pimple. This can cause the bacteria to enter the sebaceous gland and cause more troubles if untreated properly, and you can never know if you have disinfected the area completely. So resist this urge and instead try some of the other options available.
Possible Home Remedies
Since it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil can be smeared directly over the cyst and work as a protection from the outside agents. It will reduce the growth of bacteria in the cyst area, which helps in the long run, and can stop the growth of the cyst as well.
You can also use diluted tea tree oil in 1 to 9 ration, 1 being a drop of tea tree oil, and 9 drops of water or carrier oil. You can soak a cotton ball in this solution and fix it with a band-aid over the cyst.
Aloe Vera. Aloe vera is another super plant that can help with different skin conditions, and sebaceous cysts as well. You can use aloe vera gel in pre-packaged form, or squeeze it directly from the leaf. Another option is to drink aloe vera juice twice a day to improve your overall health and help fight sebaceous cysts.
Castor Oil. Castor oil is famous for its beneficial effects on sebaceous cysts and other skin problems. If you use it regularly will help with the itching that sometimes comes with the cysts.
Simply soak a cotton ball in castor oil and apply on the cyst. After that, take clean cloth and place it over a cotton ball, and then grab a hot water bag and put it over the cloth. Leave this on for about 30 minutes. The heat will enhance the effects of castor oil and give better results.
Witch Hazel. Witch hazel, especially the bark and the leaves, are packed with tannins which help with the clearing of the skin and tightening of the pores. To use it as a sebaceous cyst treatment, apply a bit of witch hazel gel directly onto the cyst and leave it on until the skin soaks it in completely. You can do this twice a day, and after three days you should see improvement already.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for sebaceous cysts and it is very easy to use and widely available. Take some apple cider vinegar and apply directly over the cyst with a cotton ball and cover it with bandage. Leave this on for two or three days and remove. You should be able to see a hard layer over the cyst. When you remove it, you will pull out the pus from the inside of the cyst, at which point you should clean the pus and put on a new bandage. Remove it after two or three days, and you should notice that your cyst is gone!
Hot Compress. Hot compresses are widely used as a home treatment for sebaceous cysts, and they work by draining the pus out of the cyst naturally and gently. If you decide to use a hot compress, make sure that the water is not too hot to avoid burns and further bacterial infections.
Potassium Iodide. Potassium iodide is very easy to use and it is very useful for the treatment of sebaceous cysts. Just apply it directly over the cyst and repeat for up to three times a day. You should notice improvement in a couple of days.
Potato Solution. Potatoes may be a surprising player on this list, but they are very effective when it comes to skin issues and sebaceous cysts. Potato is rich in vitamin C which is great for removing dead skin cells.
All you need is a couple of potato slices which you should put over the cyst, secure with a bandage, and leave overnight. Put a new slice on the following day. You can do this every day for a week, after which you should already see improvement.
Homeopathic Options. Some people decide to turn to homeopathy to treat their sebaceous cysts, and there are some cases in which these remedies have proven to be effective. There are several options you can choose from, and here we will list only some. You can try: Conium, Mezereum, Sulphur, Agaricus muscarius, Silicea, Ammonium carbonicium, Nitric acid, Bromium, Kali bromium, Sabina, or Spongia tosta.
Is Prevention the Key?
As with all health issues, it is always better to prevent than to treat, and same goes for sebaceous cysts. You can take some measurements to make sure that you never get a cyst again, and these steps will also help with the existing ones.
Skin cleaning routine. The first thing you should take notice of is your skin care routine. Keeping your skin clean and clear of all the bad chemicals and bacteria is crucial when it comes to the formation of sebaceous cysts, and the overall health of your skin. Use a gentle soap and body wash gel daily, especially after sport activities and during the summer months.
Proper diet. This one is a no brainer, but keeping a healthy diet is of utmost importance if you want your skin to be clean and clear. Eat an abundance of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and stay away from fast food and oily snacks. Cut out fried food as well and instead opt for grilled vegetables.
Drink water. Drinking at least two liters of water a day will help your skin shine like it never did before and rejuvenate your body from the inside.