Cysts

Like many other skin conditions, cysts are harmless and often heal on their own when left alone. The most common cause of a cyst occurs when pores in the skin that naturally secrete oil become clogged. This causes a number of symptoms such as:

  • Raised bump
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Yellow, white, or clear fluid inside

Although most cysts are benign and will not require medical treatment there are some signs that you will need to visit the dermatologist.

Where Will Cysts Form?

Patients in Conroe and the Woodlands may notice cysts anywhere on their body, but they are most commonly found on the:

  • Scalp
  • Upper part of the back
  • Neck

These cysts will not normally develop symptoms unless they are irritated or drained and become infected.

Types of Cysts a Dermatologist Can Treat

There are several types of cysts that can form under the skin, but a dermatologist will only treat cysts that appear on the skin. These two types of cysts are:

  • Sebaceous: Affect a deeper layer, under the epidermis and around the oil-producing sebaceous gland.
  • Epidermoid: Abnormal cell growth common on the face and chest. These fatty cysts are often caused when the skin is damaged, or the patient has acne, and will appear on the top layer of skin (epidermis).

Both sebaceous and epidermoid cysts will often disappear without treatment, and patients in Conroe and the Woodlands should not irritate the area by scratching or squeezing the cyst to ensure healing.

Cysts Not Treated By a Dermatologist

There are several cysts that a dermatologist does not treat because it involves more complex surgical procedures and goes deeper than the skin. Some of the cysts that a dermatologist does not treat are:

  • Ganglion: Often appearing on the wrist, ganglion cysts are caused by joint fluid collecting. They often need to be surgically removed if they do not go away on their own.
  • Ovarian: An egg becomes stuck in the ovary and a cyst forms around it. It is rare for these to develop into larger problems, but women should get checked if they become painful or problematic.
  • Breasts: Benign but can be tender during menstruation, cysts in the breasts may cause some tenderness but are otherwise asymptomatic.

Patients in Conroe or the Woodlands that have these types of cysts should consult their general practitioner for advice on how to treat these cysts.

When to Visit a Dermatologist

One of the first clear signs that patients in Conroe and the Woodlands should see a dermatologist is if their cyst becomes infected. An infected cyst has the potential to spread if squeezed and can often become sore or painful. The most common treatment for an infected cyst is antibiotics to control the infection and help you heal. However, some patients might require a procedure to remove the cyst. During the procedure your dermatologist will:

  • Numb the area with local anesthetic.
  • Drain and remove the cyst.
  • Apply a bandage to prevent bacteria from entering the wound.

This surgical procedure is quick and relatively painless, leaving a small scar where the cyst was removed.

Home Treatment for Cysts

The vast majority of cysts can be treated at home. Although the best way for patients in Conroe and the Woodlands to treat their cysts is by leaving them alone, these treatments can help provide some relief:

  • Gently wash the area around the cyst with antibacterial soap to prevent bacteria from developing around the area.
  • Place a hot water bottle or warm, moist cloth over the cyst for 15-20 minutes in the morning, at night, and any other time you are home. This will soothe any discomfort and help your skin get back to normal.
  • A cyst that oozes fluid should be bandaged to prevent the infection from spreading.

If you notice that the cyst becomes painful, red, swollen, or you develop a fever, then it is likely that your cyst is infected. Patients with an infected cyst should schedule an appointment with their dermatologist for immediate treatment to prevent symptoms from getting worse.

If you have painful or infected cysts on your skin, call our Conroe office at 936.522.4966 or the Woodlands at 281.943.2749.