A cyst is a benign, or non-cancerous, growth that forms as a result of an infection, clogging of sebaceous glands (oil glands), or around foreign bodies, such as earrings. Cysts are typically slow to grow, painless and smooth to the touch. They feel like small peas under the surface of the skin.

Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Other cysts may need to be drained. Some inflamed cysts can be treated with an injection of cortisone medication to cause it to shrink. It is easier to remove the cyst when it is not inflamed. This may prevent the possibility of infection. Cysts that do not respond to other treatments or reoccur can be removed surgically.

If a cyst enlarges rapidly and ruptures, a boil-like lesion results that usually requires treatment with an antibiotic and surgical removal of the sac. If a cyst begins to enlarge rapidly, becomes inflamed, breaks down, or becomes painful, it should be examined by a dermatologist immediately.

Cherry Angioma

A cherry angioma is a smooth, cherry-red bump on the skin.

Although cherry angiomas usually appear on the trunk of the body, they can occur nearly anywhere. The cause of cherry angiomas is not known and the growths usually appear on people over the age of 40.


Dermatofibromas are harmless round, red-brownish skin growths that are most commonly found on the arms and legs. Dermatofibromas contains scar tissue and feel like hard lumps in the skin.


Epidermoid cysts can also occur following surgery or injury to the skin. They most commonly occur on the face, neck, and back. They can be hereditary.


Pilar cysts are primarily located on the scalp. They can be hereditary.


Milia can be thought of as miniature epidermoid cysts. They frequently occur on the face as single or multiple pinpoint white lesions and are common in older woman. The cause is unclear, but they may arise following injuries to the skin or surgery.


Neurofibromas are soft, fleshy growths that occur on or under the skin, sometimes even deep within the body. These are benign (harmless) tumors; however, they can turn malignant or cancerous in rare cases.


Sources: American Academy of Dermatology and