A cyst is a closed sac that can be filled with fluid or semi-solid material. Cysts are common, and can appear almost anywhere on the body, including the skin, ovaries and breast. Here, we discuss skin cysts, which are usually harmless and go away without treatment. If you have a bump or lump on your skin, see a dermatologist or GP so they can identify whether it is a cyst, or something more serious.
Cysts are dome shaped, and white or yellow in colour. The size can vary enormously, from a few millimetres to several centimetres. They do not usually hurt, but they may become infected, resulting in pain. Skin cysts are most commonly found on the face, neck, and skin around the genitalia.
Skin cells are usually continuously shed, migrating towards the surface of the skin where they die. If these cells move deeper into your skin, they can form an enclosed space where they secrete keratin, forming a cyst with a thick paste in the centre. The formation of cysts is more common if you have an injury in the skin, or suffer from acne.
Skin cysts are usually harmless and if they are not bothering you, they can be left alone. If the cyst is unpleasant, either due to pain or aesthetic appearance, it can be removed. This involves injecting a local anaesthetic to numb the area, making a small cut, and squeezing the cyst out.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.