Have you ever noticed a little bump under your skin that feels like a ball? Maybe it’s been there a while, but now a stinging pain accompanies it. Or maybe there’s no pain at all, but the bump won’t seem to go away.
Pain or not, you’re probably dealing with a cyst. And your best bet is to visit the dermatologist immediately for a cyst removal.
What Is a Cyst?
A cyst is a sac that forms in the body — it can form in bones, organs, or tissues. The cyst is essentially a pocket that fills with air, fluid, skin cells, bacteria, or pus. They vary dramatically in size and can be found anywhere on the body.
What Causes Skin Cysts
A cyst happens when the skin turns in on itself. Think of the skin like a flat balloon. If the balloon has something inside (like skin cells) to push out, it naturally pushes it out through the opening. But if something plugs that opening, the cells are trapped inside the balloon. The balloon becomes a pocket for these cells that can’t leave.
That is what happens with our skin. We naturally slough off old skin cells through our pores. But, if the pores are plugged up, the skin cells become trapped inside our skin, forming a cyst or a pocket of dead skin cells.
So why does the pore suddenly stop functioning right? Maybe you squeeze a pimple and damage the skin more than you realize. Other times, it starts with something small like an infected hair follicle or an acne cyst. The pore gets clogged, dead skin cells get trapped, and you get a cyst.
Should You Remove Cysts at Home?
At-home cyst removals do not work. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing home remedies for treating cysts. Do NOT try them. When people mash and lance their cysts, trying to squeeze out the inside, the cysts will just come back.
Remember, a cyst is a pocket in your skin lined with cells. The skin will continue to produce cells and refill the pocket as long as the pocket is there. You’re not treating the problem by squeezing the cyst. The pocket has to be removed.
If you try these DIY cyst-removal strategies, you can make the problem worse. By popping the cyst, you open the sac and make it more susceptible to infection. Plus, you’ve now damaged the skin and increased the likelihood of scarring.
What to Expect from a Cyst Removal
Considering having a cyst removed? Here's everything you need to know about common types of cysts, what to expect from a cyst removal, and the cost of the procedure.
The best way to treat a cyst at home is to keep it clean. Make sure you’re washing it with soap and water. If you want it removed, visit the dermatologist to have it removed professionally.
The Best Cyst Removal Treatment
It’s much better to have a cyst removed before it bursts. The doctor will numb the skin, take out the ball of skin cells, then stitch up the skin. This small outpatient surgery eliminates the problem for good.
What To Expect From Cyst Removal
During a cyst removal, the doctor will mark and numb the area around the bump. You’ll get a few Lidocaine injections that may slightly sting, but that’s the worst part. After that, you won’t feel the procedure.
The dermatologist will then remove the pocket of skin cells, and put stitches on the inside and outside of the skin that will last for about two months. The skin will heal from the inside out.
If your doctor repairs your skin correctly, you'll only have a small, smooth scar.
Make sure your doctor stitches the inside of the pocket or you may be left with a hollow place in your skin where the gap was not closed correctly. A dermatologist is trained to repair skin in a way that will get the skin back to normal. There’s no home remedy that can do that.
Does a Cyst Removal Hurt?
If you can handle the small sting of a shot, you can handle a cyst removal. The doctor first topically numbs the cyst area and then injects Lidocaine. You may feel a slight sting, but that’s the worst part.
How Long Does a Cyst Removal Take?
A cyst removal is a relatively simple procedure. It should take no longer than 30 minutes to remove most cysts.
Does Insurance Cover Cyst Removal?
Insurance usually covers cyst removals. Since a cyst removal is a medical procedure (not cosmetic), the costs go against your deductible. Exact cyst removal costs depend on your insurance and whether you’ve met your deductible. Remember, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket if you haven’t met your deductible, but cyst removal costs usually count towards that amount.
The YouTube Way vs. The Dermatologist
If you’ve seen the way some doctors on YouTube pop pimples, don’t be fooled. That’s not the best way to deal with your cysts. Don’t punch and squeeze them — the right way is to completely remove the sac, like Dr. Plott does in the video below. If you leave the sac in the skin, the cyst will likely come back.
Here is Dr. Plott...
If you have a cyst, give your dermatologist a call and see if they can completely remove it. Once it’s gone, it won’t return.
Is it a Cyst?
If you feel something kind of hard under your skin, get it checked out as soon as possible. It may be a normal cyst that the doctor can easily remove, but it could also be something different.
If it’s in your neck, it could be a lymph node that needs an antibiotic. It could also be lymphoma, which would need immediate treatment. It may not even be a cyst. Sometimes scars beneath the skin form similar balls. No matter what it is, your dermatologist will be able to treat the issue and help get your skin back to normal.