What are the Different Types of Sebaceous Cyst Treatment?

A soft washcloth can be made into a compress to treat a sebaceous cyst by wetting it down with warm water.
In many cases, the use of a warm, moist compress can be a helpful sebaceous cyst treatment.
While sebaceous cysts can occur on any part of the body, they tend to show up on the face and neck.
A sebaceous cyst.
A doctor might inject a steroid into a sebaceous cyst.
Prescription medications may be necessary for some sebaceous cysts.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Images By: Ivan Kmit, Fotomatrix, Max Tactic, Paul Huxley, Radu Razvan, Emiliau
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2015
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A sebaceous cyst is a bump that sometimes develops underneath the skin. This type of cyst can develop on any area of the body, although it is most likely to develop around hairy parts of the body, particularly the scalp. A sebaceous cyst is usually painless and is filled with a fluid that looks like cream cheese. Sebaceous cyst treatment is often unnecessary, although prescription medications or mild surgical procedures may be indicated in some cases.

A sebaceous cyst occurs most often as a result of a swollen hair follicle, although skin irritation may also be responsible for the development of this type of bump. A sebaceous cyst typically grows slowly and is painless, although discomfort may arise if the bump becomes red or inflamed, sometimes indicating the presence of an infection. A foul-smelling cheese-like substance may drain from the cyst.

Sebaceous cyst treatment is not always necessary, as these cysts typically go away on their own. This type of cyst is not considered dangerous and does not usually cause any pain or discomfort. If redness, inflammation, or discomfort are present, there are a few sebaceous cyst treatment methods that may help.


In many cases, the use of a warm, moist compress can be a helpful treatment. One easy way to accomplish this is to fill a small basin with very warm, but not hot, water. Soak a washcloth in the warm water and apply the washcloth to the affected area. This should be done several times per day for about 15 minutes at a time, warming the washcloth as necessary by placing it back into the warm water.

If the cyst is relatively small but becomes inflamed or irritated, sebaceous cyst treatment may consist of an injection at the doctor's office. Steroid medications are often injected into the cyst or the surrounding areas in order to reduce inflammation. This is a minor medical procedure and can be performed in the doctor's office during a routine visit. Oral antibiotics or antibiotic creams or ointments may also need to be prescribed.

Occasionally, the cyst may become large or develop a lot of redness, irritation, or discomfort. In these cases, sebaceous cyst treatment may involve surgical intervention. When this method of treatment becomes necessary, a simple surgery is performed to remove the cyst. This procedure is typically performed in the doctor's office, and the doctor must be careful to remove the entire cyst in order to decrease the chances of it returning at a later date.


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Post 5

Sometimes when there are multiple bumps in the same area or one that oozes on its own, it is not a cyst. It's a boil.

Post 4

I get sebaceous cysts on my scalp sometimes. It is so tempting to pop them and drain them of their fluid, but doing this makes the area very irritated. It burns when I put shampoo on a popped cyst.

I usually use a warm compress on my scalp when I develop a sebaceous cyst. I have found that it works best when I use it twice a day for about a week. After that, the cyst goes away and leaves no evidence behind.

The stuff inside the cyst turns to liquid and is able to drain back into my system. I will never squeeze a sebaceous cyst again, because this simple treatment is not messy at all and won’t cause a big red bump to form in place of the cyst.

Post 3

@kylee07drg - The best treatment for infected sebaceous cysts where you shave is to simply leave them alone. I know it is hard not to do something, but anything you do will only irritate them further.

I’m guessing you have already tried warm compresses. While they don’t seem to make them go away faster, they can be soothing.

One other thing that takes away some of the burning is aloe vera gel. Just put it on top of the cysts and let it dry before putting your clothes on. It will sure make the area feel a lot better, even if it won’t cure the cysts.

Have you ever tried using a hair removal cream? If you leave it on for the recommended amount of time and no longer, it shouldn’t irritate your skin. You shouldn’t develop sebaceous cysts from using it, so it would be a good alternative to shaving.

Post 2

Does anyone besides me get infected sebaceous cysts when you shave along your bikini line? I can’t seem to find a way to avoid irritating my sebaceous glands when I shave.

The cysts always turn red and get inflamed. It hurts to wear underwear, because the edge of it falls right on top of my line of cysts. I am miserable for over a week when this happens.

I once tried to drain the cysts, but this hurt even worse. Also, they looked worse than before. What can I do to treat them?

Post 1

I had several sebaceous cysts on my face when I was in my late twenties. I finally saved up enough money to visit a dermatologist.

He decided that incision and drainage was the best course of treatment. They weren’t infected, so there was no need for me to take antibiotics. They were just annoying, and I had about seven running along each jaw line.

The dermatologist stuck a skinny needle into a cyst and pulled it out. He then applied pressure to both sides of the cyst with his fingers. The creamy substance shot out of the cyst.

It hurt a lot when he squeezed it. I didn’t expect him to put that much force into it, and I grimaced each time that he pushed on another cyst.

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