Skip Nav
Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth on How He Gets That Sexy-Surfer Beach Hair
Beauty Tips
5 Reasons to Stop Waxing and Start Sugaring Right This Second
Beauty Trends
30 Tiny, Chic Wrist Tattoos That Are Better Than a Bracelet

Sebaceous Cysts

Just in Time for Breakfast: All About Sebaceous Cysts

Most people don't get too disgusted by run-of-the-mill skin problems such as blackheads or cystic acne. But bring up sebaceous cysts, and things get messy. While these skin annoyances are generally harmless, they're also not so attractive — and they love to linger for months.

Sebaceous cysts usually pop up near the ears, neck, back and face, but don't mistake it for a pimple. Even though it's filled with sebum, it won't come to a head the way most blemishes do. That's because it isn't a clogged pore; instead, imagine a waxy goo-filled sac under your skin. They're two totally different things.

Although sebaceous cysts aren't a health hazard, they're unsightly — and in some cases, they can become very tender and painful. To find out how to treat them,


As I mentioned before, sebaceous cysts aren't pimples, so topical acne treatments won't do a thing. Squeezing them isn't a good idea; it's probably too painful to do so anyway, so don't put yourself through it. (Although you might technically be able to make the cyst burst, you're likely to experience major blood seepage, infection, and scarring. Not worth it.)

One option is to have a physician surgically remove the cyst, but before going down that route, try treating it at home. Run a washcloth under very hot water for a few seconds, wring out the extra water, and press the hot, damp cloth against the cyst. Repeat as necessary for five to ten minutes. By undergoing this process twice a day for a week or so, the waxy sebum inside liquifies and drains over time.

Sorry to ruin your breakfast, everyone.

Join The Conversation
kiteacakes kiteacakes 7 years
I used to get these on my chin and forehead pretty often. Using the hot rag treatments helps relieve the "pressure" of the cyst. But don't try to pop it! They hurt really bad, and it'll only make the cyst more inflammed and will take longer to heal!
summerjams summerjams 8 years
i had one on my chin during new year, all my photos are ruined!! it was as big as my thumbnail!!
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
i googled a picture and holy motherF*cking helll those are nasty look......
oni1 oni1 8 years
o my gosh no. i feel so sorry for people that have this! it puts all of my skin 'problems' into perspective.
I had a large one on the back of my head and used tumeric and burdock pills and within a week it poped through the skin. Then I used tea tree oil to dry it out. Most of the time it is due to muscousy foods like cheese and dairy products that build up.
luckysummer luckysummer 9 years
2 words: TIGER BALM - put it on before bed b/c it kind of smells... should be gone w/in 2 days max.
SparklinSeahorSe SparklinSeahorSe 9 years
i'm an esthetician. luckily i have never run into one of these in person on a client. but learning about them in school=nasty textbook pictures...
kristenglitz kristenglitz 9 years
I break out alot but im lucky not to have cystic acne I got one cyst pimple once it did hurt its sad how some people have alot of them.
Fiend Fiend 9 years
ok since everyone else was so open about having one of these i have to admit i had one this summer. i had noo idea what it was and i couldnt see it because it was inside my ear. The worst part is for some reason my boss was looking at my ear right after i had just come back from the bathroom at work (not to gross you out but it started leaking at my desk and i had to go clean it up) and he goes " oh i didnt know you do acupunture." im like huh? he goes " your ear, did u just start?" im like...??...oh crap, theres a open wound there now, thats what he's talking about. i just stuttered for like 30 seconds, he got a puzzled look on his face then said "nevermind" talk about embarassing.
chickpilot chickpilot 9 years
I had one on my cheek when I was a kid. It wasn't gross, just a bump. The doc had to remove it with some local anesthetic. Thank fully it didn't scar!
verily verily 9 years
I had one in the crease below my eye. It was under the skin and hardened due to blood getting in it. The only way to remove it was surgically and let me tell you, it was one of the scariest moments of my life. Imagine surgical knives and cautery guns coming straight for your eye!!! If I ever get one again, I'll do the washcloth thing immediately!
Xandara Xandara 9 years
Makes me not feel so bad about normal pimples after checking out the Wikipedia page on these... I couldn't try myself on a Google image search, you ladies are brave! :O I'll definitely have to try the washcloth thing on zits in general. I usually try the impatient ways of picking and popping which of course make it look worse, but if it works for those huge honkin' things, logic seems that a hot washcloth would help regular zits, too.
ChristineLW ChristineLW 9 years
i had one of these on my chest. thinking it was a pimple i squeezed and squeezed until it burst. the ooze inside smells horrible and it drained and bleed for a long time. the sad thing is that until the core of the cyst is removed, they will come back!
schar schar 9 years
I get these...they are awful! I just had one on my chin. My derm doesn't take them out instead she injects them with something to break it up. Very painful and it usually still takes a week or two to go down after it's injected. I don't pop them on purpose but sometimes they get so full that if anything touches them they burst. That just happened to the one on my chin and now I'll have a lovely scare to remind me of this experience. I'm on antibiotics to help prevent these and they have been working pretty well but this one cyst just snuck through.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i got a couple of these in my ear back in high school... not what you want when you're 16 and trying to look cute.
kendallina kendallina 9 years
I used to get these in my ears when I wore earrings that contained nickel. Lucky me I have found nickel-free earrings.
juliarose23 juliarose23 9 years
at first i thought these were like whiteheads...but now i realize that they are indeed very different...
morganfay morganfay 9 years
To those who have (sadly) experience with them: for me, they responded very well to the same treatment as cystic acne. A.k.a.: certain types of contraception, oral antibiotics and Accutane. Wouldn't recommend either of those unless you're truly plagued by the damn things, but it might be good to know that there may be some way to prevent them or at least persuade some of them to stay away. Best of luck in fighting the buggers.
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
Oh man. I'm with all of you who Googled these things. This is what my friend's ex always had on his face. We couldn't figure it out. He would get them by his nose, and it would be a huge continuation if he got two right around each other. They turned purple sometimes and they were there for a very long time. I'm guessing he picked at them because he has scars now.. Ouch.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 9 years
I googled but didn't find any really gross pics. Anyone wwana post a link? I'm not familiar with these and as wrong as it seems I'd like to see them.
Best Deodorants For Working Out
Best Drugstore Acne Products Under $10
Best Beauty Products For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017
Bath and Body Works Aqua Cool Aloe Lotion
From Our Partners
Latest Beauty
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds