Cysts Types & Treatments

When we talk to our patients about cysts, they frequently ask us if we watch Dr. Pimple Popper.  The simple truth is, we don’t.  However, we get to live the dream by working on cysts every day.  Cysts in the skin are common, and because of that we see and treat them very frequently in our dermatology clinics.   From your head to your toes, people can develop cysts on virtually any part of their skin.  Most of the time these don’t require any treatment. However, there are a few circumstances that may necessitate having your cysts treated.  Also, there are many different Cysts types pop up in the skin.

Cysts Types & Treatments

Of all the types of cysts that we can develop, two are the absolute most common ones that we see. These require special focus in this discussion.

Epidermoid Cysts

Epidermoid cysts (formerly known as sebaceous cyst, wen, or boil) is the most common type.  This growth occurs due to plugging in a pore on the skin. When the pore plugs, its contents are locked in place, with nowhere to go.  This pore has a lining of skin and an attached oil gland. As that skin is sloughed off within the pore it is normally pushed through to the surface and shed gradually like all our skin.

In the case of a cyst the pore gradually swells and enlarges as it fills with these materials over time.  Eventually this leads up to a mass which can be felt and sometimes seen through the skin.  Epidermoid cysts develop in many different areas of the body. Some of the more common areas they are seen are the torso including the chest and back, as well as the face and neck region.  The classic appearance of the cyst is a lump in the skin with an overlying prominent pore called a punctum.  This prominent pore may look like dark spot or a small dimple in the skin.

Pilar Cysts

The second most common type of cyst is known as a pilar cyst.  More than 95% of these cysts are found on the scalp. It’s believed that they specifically develop from the hair follicle.  Usually with pilar cysts we see a bump that can be virtually any size on the scalp. Sizes range from smaller than a pea to as large as a baseball.  Sometimes people can have multiple pilar cysts.  The tendency to get these types of cysts can also run in families.

Omaha Dermatologists Cysts Treatments

The best dermatologists are in essence “cystologists.” They have experience in diagnosing and managing cysts, especially determining when to treat them and how to treat them. Most cysts need no treatment.  Usually with a good examination, a dermatology provider can determine if a lump in the skin shows the typical characteristics of a cyst.

If it does and there are no other complicating factors, it can simply be observed. At home remedies can include a warm washcloth compress and bandaging to control drainage if needed. However, there may be certain times when treatment or removal of cyst may need to be considered. Because a cyst can continue to gradually grow overtime, eventually they may rupture. When this occurs in a very short period, even overnight, a cyst can dramatically increase in size becoming painfully inflamed and potentially infected.

Surgical Cysts Treatments

At times like this it may be necessary to perform an incision and drainage of a cyst. This involves a surgical procedure whereby a small incision is made over the surface of the cyst and the contents are literally squeezed out of it.  It’s important to know that this type of procedure is only a temporary fix. It generally does not remove the lining of the cyst but rather the contents. By doing this we can help subside the pain and inflammation.  However, a cyst may refill with its contents over time repeating the cycle.  In some cases, they can continue to drain on a more constant basis, leading up to staining of clothing, and embarrassment due to potential odor problems from the drainage.

For cysts that are causing more long-term issues or that continue to grow, removal should be considered.  In this procedure the entire lining and contents of the cyst are surgically removed. By doing this the cyst is prevented from returning in the future.

Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Best Dermatologist Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists

Hands-down, cysts are one of the most common growths that we as dermatologist see you in the skin. Most of the time no treatment is needed for these, but there are certainly many cases where removal or drainage may be helpful. At Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands we have extensive experience managing all type of cyst in the skin. If we may be of further assistance, please reach out to us. Contact us to schedule a consultation.