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Everything you need to know

A cyst is a fluid filled lump that sits just underneath the skin. They are usually round in shape and often are yellow or white with a small dark plug through which pus can be squeezed out. Cysts are very common and are usually nothing to worry about. They may disappear on their own without any treatment, but it is worth getting your cyst checked by a doctor if you are worried or if the cyst becomes sore or infected.

One of the main types of cyst which appears on the skin is called an epidermoid cyst and these are usually found on the face, neck, chest, shoulders and around the genitals. These are usually associated with acne and are most common in young and middle aged adults.

Pilar cysts are also relatively common and are formed around hair follicles so are often seen on the scalp. These run in families and are mostly seen in middle-aged women.

While cysts are usually nothing to worry about, growths on the skin can be an indication of a more serious health problem, so it is important to get any lumps and bumps checked by a consultant dermatologist to rule out anything that may require further investigation.


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Cysts are usually nothing to worry about and if they aren’t causing any problems can be left alone. Don’t be tempted to burst your cyst as you can spread the infection and are at risk of it growing back if the sac remains under the skin.

If your cyst is causing you embarrassment, pain or it is recommended to be removed, it can be treated by a consultant dermatologist. Inflamed cysts (or acne cysts) tend to respond well to cortisone injections. They shrink and inflammation improves, all within the first 24-48 hours. Larger cysts can be surgically removed by a number of differing techniques. If cysts continue to form, then treatment is the same as for acne with a drug such as oral retinoic acid.

Our Specialist Dermatologists can offer effective treatment to patients to help treat or improve cysts. If cysts are causing you problems, there is no need to suffer further.

cyst on neck

Oral Medications

Antibiotics can be used to treat skin cysts which have become infected. They work to fight the infection by killing the bacteria that is causing it. Antibiotics can help cysts by reducing the redness, pain and swelling.

Surgical Removal

Cysts can be surgically removed, particularly in cases where the cyst is infected. Under local anaesthetic, your skin is numbed and then a tiny cut is made into the cyst and the contents squeezed out. The procedure may leave a small scar. Surgical removal is recommended for epidermoid and pilar cysts over drainage techniques as drainage will leave the cysts under the skin which can eventually cause them to recur.

Cortisone Injections

To reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain, diluted cortisone can be injected directly into the cyst. Cortisone is a steroid which is naturally produced in the adrenal gland and released into the bloodstream in response to stress. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory and prevents collagen production which calms nerves and also reduces pain. Cortisone starts to work as soon as it is injected so results can be seen quickly.


Arrange a consultation with one of our expert dermatologists today.



We offer acne treatment and acne scar treatment in all our three Stratum Clinics, find out more about the different acne treatments we offer at each clinic below.

Cyst Treatment at Stratum Dermatology Clinic Cheltenham

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Cyst Treatment at Stratum Dermatology Clinic Oxford

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Cyst Treatment at Stratum Dermatology Clinic Wimbledon and Raynes Park

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We work with leading experts in the field of dermatology to ensure you have the best experience and treatment. Stratum Dermatology Clinics are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, are part of the British Association of Dermatologists and are top rated by patients on Doctify so you can assure safe and effective acne treatment with us. Both Stratum Dermatology Clinics and the consultants who work here are recognised by the main healthcare insurance providers.

Hear from one of our recent patients

I have had two procedures done over 2 months. The whole team from reception, pa’s, nurses and of course the doctors were excellent, very personable, friendly and efficient. I would definitely recommend this clinic based on my visits.


Are cysts a cause for concern?

Cysts are generally not a major medical concern, but they may swell up causing disfigurement, pain and every so often discharge their contents. Occasionally they can burst giving rise to sunken scars and scalp cysts can cause hair loss in the area in from which the cyst arises.

Is there anything I can do at home to help my cyst?

In some cases, cysts will go away on their own. Holding a warm compress such as a flannel against the cyst can help it to heal and reduce any inflammation you may be experiencing.

You should never try to pop the cyst as this can lead to infection.

If you are worried about a cyst or would like to find out the options to get it removed, arrange an appointment with a consultant dermatologist.

What happens if my cyst is infected?

If you have an infected cyst, you may be offered antibiotics. A consultant dermatologist is also able to remove the cyst by cutting the skin and draining the fluid under a local anaesthetic.

Are some cysts dangerous?

Skin cysts are very rarely dangerous, however there are other types of cysts which can be a cause for concern. These include Ovarian cysts and pilonidal cysts.


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