How to treat a sebaceous cyst

Written by elyse franko
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If you notice a small, ball-like lump under your skin, it could be a sebaceous cyst. While you should always get any worrying skin developments checked out by a doctor, you don't necessarily need to get them treated with heavy-duty medications. If you have a small sebaceous cyst (less than 1cm in diameter), you can usually treat it yourself.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • A heating pad
  • Hot water
  • Antibiotics (possibly)

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  1. 1

    A sebaceous cyst will feel like a fluid-filled ball beneath the skin. You should get a doctor to look at the lump before treatment. It could be a different kind of cyst or infection, which could be more serious.

  2. 2

    If it is indeed a sebaceous cyst, fill a heating pad with hot water or dip a washcloth in very hot water. The heating pad method is preferred, as it retains heat for a longer time.

  3. 3

    Place the pad or washcloth on the cyst for 15 minutes. Repeat twice a day.

  4. 4

    The heat will help to dissolve the fluid that's built up inside the cyst.

  5. 5

    Your cyst should be gone or significantly reduced within ten days.

Tips and warnings

  • If your cyst is more than 1cm. in diameter or does not shrink with the heating pad method, you should see your doctor again. You will most likely be recommended antibiotics. If the cyst is large enough, you may need to have it surgically removed.
  • Do not carry out any major treatment without seeing a doctor
  • Do not try to pop the cyst, as this may make the infection worse
  • If the cyst occurs in the genital region, be sure to see a doctor

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