How to Get Rid of a Cyst?

How to Get Rid of a Cyst

Have you ever noticed a small bump under your skin that doesn’t seem to go away? It could be a cyst. Cysts are common and usually harmless, but they can sometimes be uncomfortable or unsightly. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of them safely and effectively.

In this article, we’ll explore what cysts are, why they form, and the different methods you can use to treat or remove them.

What is a Cyst?

A cyst is a sac-like pocket of tissue that contains fluid, air, or other substances. They can form almost anywhere in the body and vary in size from very small to quite large. Cysts can develop for a variety of reasons, including infections, blockages of ducts or glands, or as a result of a chronic condition like acne.

Why Do Cysts Form?

Cysts form when certain cells in the body multiply abnormally and create a closed sac. This sac may fill with fluid, pus, or other materials, depending on the type of cyst. Some common types of cysts include:

  • Epidermoid cysts

These form when cells from the top layer of skin (epidermis) grow inward, forming a sac filled with keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails.

  • Sebaceous cysts

These develop when oil glands become blocked, leading to the accumulation of sebum (a type of oil) under the skin.

These are noncancerous lumps that form along tendons or joints, typically in the hands or wrists.

Symptoms of a Cyst

Cysts can vary in size and appearance, depending on their location and cause. Some common symptoms of cysts include:

  • A small, round bump under the skin
  • Swelling, redness, or tenderness around the cyst
  • Fluid or pus-filled sac
  • Pain or discomfort, especially if the cyst is located near a nerve

How to Get Rid of a Cyst?

If you have a cyst that is causing you discomfort or concern, there are several treatment options available. The best approach will depend on the type and size of the cyst, as well as its location and your overall health. Here are some common methods for getting rid of cysts:

Wait and Watch

In many cases, cysts will resolve on their own without any treatment. If the cyst is small, painless, and not causing any other symptoms, your doctor may recommend simply monitoring it over time to see if it changes or goes away on its own.

Home Remedies

There are several home remedies that may help reduce the size and discomfort of a cyst. These include applying warm compresses to the area, which can help reduce inflammation and encourage the cyst to drain naturally. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help manage any pain or discomfort.

Medical Intervention

If a cyst is causing significant pain, discomfort, or other symptoms, or if it is cosmetically bothersome, you may need medical intervention to get rid of it. Depending on the type and location of the cyst, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Incision and drainage

This involves making a small incision in the cyst and draining the fluid or pus inside. This procedure can provide immediate relief from pain and pressure but may need to be repeated if the cyst refills.

  • Corticosteroid injection

Injections of corticosteroid medication directly into the cyst can help reduce inflammation and shrink the cyst over time. This treatment is often used for cysts that are large or causing symptoms.

  • Surgical removal

For cysts that are large, persistent, or located deep within the body, surgical removal may be necessary. During this procedure, the cyst and surrounding tissue are removed entirely to prevent recurrence.

  • Prescription Medications

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to help treat or manage a cyst. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the cyst is infected, while oral retinoids or hormonal medications may be recommended for certain types of cysts, such as acne cysts.

Preventing Cysts

While it’s not always possible to prevent cysts from forming, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Practice good hygiene, especially in areas prone to cysts, such as the face, neck, and back.
  • Avoid squeezing or picking at pimples or other skin lesions, as this can increase the risk of infection and cyst formation.
  • If you have a history of cysts or are prone to developing them, talk to your doctor about strategies for preventing future cysts, such as changes to your skincare routine or medications.

When to See a Doctor?

Most cysts are harmless and will resolve on their own with time. However, you should see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain or discomfort
  • Redness, warmth, or swelling around the cyst, which could indicate an infection
  • Rapid growth or changes in appearance of the cyst
  • Difficulty moving a joint or performing daily activities due to the cyst

Your doctor can evaluate the cyst and recommend the appropriate treatment based on your symptoms and medical history.


Cysts are common and usually harmless, but they can sometimes be uncomfortable or unsightly. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for getting rid of cysts, ranging from home remedies to medical interventions. If you have a cyst that is causing you concern, talk to your doctor about the best course of action. With the right treatment, you can safely and effectively get rid of a cyst and prevent it from coming back.

Written by Amy Fischer

Amy, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab, brings a wealth of expertise to nutrition, health content, and product testing. With a journalism degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master's in clinical nutrition from NYU, she's a versatile expert. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping, Amy worked as a cardiac transplant dietitian at a prominent NYC hospital and contributed to clinical nutrition textbooks. Her background also includes PR and marketing work with food startups.

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