Sebaceous Cyst Treatment – How to Treat an Infected Sebaceous Cyst at Home

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This article details the unfortunate experience I had of a sebaceous cyst on my back becoming infected while I was travelling through Europe on vacation. I ended up being mostly confined to bed for some 3 weeks. I realise the pictures may seem a little graphic, and not particularly pleasant to look at, however I am publishing them because I found very little information online regarding the successful self- treatment of an infected sebaceous cyst, and I hope this will be useful to someone else who finds themselves in a similar situation.  I found that a cyst can be treated from home, and that it is not necessary to have it removed surgically, or have it injected with a corticosteroid or steroid to kill the infection, nor did I need to take antibiotics – although in retrospect surgery would have been a relatively painless option compared with extracting the cyst naturally. The picture below shows the cyst on my back in the early stages of the infection, it had become quite inflamed and painful, however the worst was still to come…Sebaceous Cyst - Before Erupting

What is a Sebaceous Cyst?

A sebaceous cyst is not such a scary thing, It’s basically like a giant blackhead under the skins surface. Mine took the form of a small, reasonably solid lump on my back, although it had grown somewhat since I first discovered it a few years ago. When I first found it I was obviously concerned, however a visit to my doctor relieved me somewhat, I was informed that the chances of the lump being something other than a benign sebaceous cyst were 1 in a million, and that the cyst itself just contained a natural, fatty oily substance called keratin, trapped below the surface of the skin. My doctor said she could remove it easily, a shot of anaesthetic, a quick slice of the scalpel and she’d have it out in 5 minutes. My doctor also told me that most of the time a sebaceous cyst can just be left untreated, sometimes they even go away naturally. She counselled if it wasn’t really bothering me I could just leave it, so I did. Although in retrospect I wish I had taken her up on the surgery, as the cyst becoming infected while travelling was a far more painful and drawn out process of removal.

Fast forward 2 years to my trip to Europe and the cyst had grown slightly bigger over this period of time. I was in my last week exploring the Island of Crete in Greece when the lump started to get a little sore and painful. A friend whom I was travelling with had an apartment in Bucharest, Romania, and feeling a bit poorly and sorry for myself I decided to head there a little ahead of schedule in case things got worse, and I’m glad I did!

Within a day or two of arriving my back had turned into a volcano, and I was in a world of pain!

Infected Sebaceous Cyst Pictures

Sebaceous Cyst - Very inflamed

Sebaceous Cyst - Very Painful! Sebaceous Cyst - Really Horrible!

Sebaceous Cyst Treatment

In my particular situation it was quite difficult to get medical treatment for my cyst, I had just arrived in Romania and it was a few days before Christmas. I didn’t speak the language, and although I had a friend with me who could translate I was still plagued by visions of a foreign doctor pulling out his scalpel and advancing mercilessly towards my back muttering things I could not understand while I pleaded with him not to cut me. With this image in mind I decided to go for the self-treatment option and ride it out as best I could. It should be noted I was prepared to go to the doctor if things got any worse than they were, if I developed a fever, or if the infection appeared to spread beyond the localised area. My Romanian friend supported this thinking, but was also not keen to see me at the doctor or the hospital unless it became absolutely necessary – a relative of hers has passed away in hospital due to infection after an operation, and she thought it was probably attributed to poor hygiene standards. All of this made me very nervous about getting any medical treatment at all while abroad.

The home treatment involved placing a hot water bottle on my back regularly throughout the day for approximately 15 minutes per session. Some days I would do this 5 or 6 times and other days once or twice, depending on my energy levels. Once the sebaceous cyst started to drain I stopped the heat treatment almost completely.

The other major component of the treatment was “drawing cream”, a paste which can be applied as a salve, and containing an ingredient such as magnesium sulphate or ichthammol.  This should be available from your local pharmacy, just ask for “ichthammol” cream. This stuff really is magic, my back had become so swollen and painful I could barely move, and I really wanted whatever was inside the lump to come out – I applied the ichthammol cream and within 15 minutes the cyst started to drain, at first a clear liquid which was followed by many semi-hard white lumps which were the contents of the cyst. Unfortunately the process of extracting all of the contents of the cyst took some 10 days with the cyst flaring up and then receding numerous times. This may be unusual and I would be interested to hear in the comments what other people who have suffered this have to say. For me the lump would go down and a scab would form over the area – I would then think I was almost home free, but some residue must have remained and the lump would flare up again the next day and more liquid and pieces of white keratin (the cyst) would come out.

Below is a macro-shot of some of the semi-hard white lumps that came out of the swollen lump on my back.

contents-of-the-sebaceous-cyst

From beginning to end the cyst took some 3 weeks to fully clear up, this is counting the days in the beginning when it became painful, right through to the final pieces of the cyst coming out and the inflammation going down to an acceptable level. It does not include healing time as I still have a wound on my back that needs to heal at the time of this writing.

However the great news is that the cyst on my back is completely gone! The skins is smooth and there is nothing that can be felt below the surface. No surgery was needed, and from what I can see currently there is no sign of scarring, which would have been inevitable under the knife. The inflammation has receded to the point I can lie on my back, and there is barely any pain or discomfort.

As an afterthought I should mention that panadol or ibuprofen are good to have on hand, and certainly helped to ease the pain when I needed to sleep. Whisky was also good…

I hope this is helpful to anyone who finds themselves, or a friend, in similar circumstances.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/216543/curtains_for_myspace.html

60 Responses to “Sebaceous Cyst Treatment – How to Treat an Infected Sebaceous Cyst at Home”

  1. june orrell

    Thank you so much for posting your sebacious cyst story on the
    internet. My son contacted me about a cyst he had on his arm
    becoming infected. Fortunately he was able to get to a doctor
    and get antibiotics.

    They are horrible things and looking at the pictures you must’ve
    been in agony..

    My son said his is going down now and I do hope it wont recur but
    if it does it is good to know how it can be treated at the start with
    the treatment (hot water bottle, cream you recommended and
    tablets). Well done you x

    June Orrell (Mrs)

    Reply
  2. Katelynn Watts

    that would not always work because like my self i have reoccurring cysts and there is nothing that can be done about them they are not normal and therefore what you say helped yours wouldn’t really help anyone i know the pain that you were in it hurts so bad you see i get them on my face and behind my ears and i cant do nothing about it but learn to live with it so ya i know the pain and i know how bad they can piss you off but it don’t always work sry :(

    Reply
    • admin

      No, it was a sebaceous cyst, because my doctor examined it before I went traveling and confirmed what it was.

      Reply
      • mia

        You are more than right I am a Dr myself and I am having one just right now ( not that big like yours but still large) I am treating it with Ichtamol unguentum it is drainind > Now it is flat, but I still feel fluctuation inside and I will continue the treatment > I am also having Bactrim ( Ichtamol is really magic( !!

        surgeon here wanted 1200 EU to remove it ?!

        Reply
  3. becky

    i have on in my vagain area i had it drained in 2008 and i still have it my gyn wont remove it.its hard to have sex.can some one help me i hate mine its a real pain in my ass if you know what i mean

    Reply
  4. iggy

    What description! Strangely compelling. Thanks for sharing. Please keep us updated with any future cyst stories. No, we do really feel for you. That was massive.

    Reply
  5. Ron

    I got one in the middle of my back about 18 months ago, and looked just like yours.

    However, since I couldn’t see it, I thought that it was just an itchy zit. When I scratched it (edge of a ruler…) one too many times it popped and got infected.

    Still, having never heard of a sebaceous cyst, we thought it was a zit and so kept on evacuating it and treating with Bacitracin and band-aids.

    After a month, went to the Dr. and he excised it.

    Reply
  6. caoanne

    As I am reading this I am sitting here with a healing cyst, bandaged over.

    I am so glad I found this account. I had very similar experience. I had the lump, this was on my shoulder. I had it for two years, during which time it shrunk to very small size. I knew what it was as I’d had a similar smaller lump on my forehead, which I had removed by a plastic surgeon – he showed me the cyst sac when removed. However, I had ended up with a medical bill [going to a plastic surgeon instead of derma removing it]

    Anyway, then the back cyst came back, around March. Getting irritated and a bit self conscious, I tried some self doctoring which in retrospect was not a good idea. I pricked it with a pin, and even though clean I came up a few days later with the cyst swollen painful and red. I also used drawing salve — in 24 hrs the thing had erupted and not quite as big as yours but very similar.

    I did go to the doctor — a friend helped me ‘get’ all the stuff out, and when it came out [keritin icky smelling stuff, it left a large hole] I went on a round of antiobiotics both pills and shots. My doctor was like, well, y ougot it all out, but would have been better to do it under sterile conditions; he was concerned about MRSA. Actually though, once the stuff started coming out there was no stopping it anyhow. I feel better and it took me also about 3 weeks. Glad you persevered and especially that you got better —

    Reply
    • Millie

      You said that it left a hole and you had it bandaged over. Are you just keeping it clean and dry? Are you changing the bandage regularly or only when soiled? I also have a cyst that has popped and has left a hole and I need suggestions and advice on how to heal it. I had a small one that closed itself, but this is the size of a dime and still has showed no signs of closing after 2 weeks. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

      Reply
  7. joe

    The cyst is sebum, cells and protein that accumulate in a sac. Unless the sac came out, the cyst will return. This is because the sac can and usually does get refilled. Surgical removal of the sac is the only way to get rid of the cyst completely.

    Reply
    • Steph

      Not always does that happen. Im 9 weeks post op from a cyst being removed from the back of my right knee joint, I have had seciondry infection(haven been given NO cleaning advice from the surgeon) and have the exact same lump again filled with sebum because my surgeon didnt fully remove the cyst! I hope I can self doctor it because I refuse to go back under the knife because of their cock up

      Reply
  8. K.Nicol

    I feel your pain. About 5-6 years ago, I too had a cyst on my back become infected. It was about the size of a pea for many years, then grew to almost a golf ball size, and extremely painful. It had a few small white heads on it, but was too painful for me to even think about “popping” it myself, so the doctor lanced it.
    It oozed junk for a few weeks, and I too made a full recovery, smooth back, and not even a scar….
    Now the bad news.
    2 years later, the cyst came back. Again, it was the size of a pea for another 2 years or so. It started getting painful and looked a little red, so I went to the doctor and they put me on antibiotics. I was on those for 10 days, and the cyst tripled in size during that time. After the 10 days I went back to the doctor (Urgent Care), and the put me on another dose of antibiotics, and said they could not lance the cyst because I have an HMO and I’d have to go to my primary physician. Well my primary takes almost 2 weeks to get into. So I took the antibiotics for another 2 days and then decided to lance it myself. I could tell that it was almost forming a white head to be lanced, so with some rubbing alcohol and a razor blade, I gave it a little slice. Some white junk came out and some blood. I know it’s going to take a while to get the whole thing down again, so I’m going to look into getting that ichthammol stuff to help it along. The doctor did tell me that these cyst can come back after lancing them and the infection going away…so my recommendation is to get the cyst surgically removed if it does ever come back.

    Reply
  9. e franks

    Thank you for posting this I to have a cyst on my back and It recently became infected .I also was on vaca and it became sore you are right the drawing cream if a wonder drug it is completely gross but thank goodness is going down I fill better knowing another also uses home healing as well as my self thanks for the great infoe!

    Reply
  10. S Banerjee

    Very informed to read your story. Right now I am going through the same stage of a horrible swollen and ripe cyst on the back. It is very painful and gives me sleepless nights with fever. i am taking an anti inflamatory + paracetamol along with anti-biotics. Doctors are saying that with the current conditions the cyst cannot be operated. The Cyst has swollen to become a ball of 5inch diameter.
    lately a white sticky fluid alongwith some blood is oozing out in little quantities. Is this a good sign ?

    Reply
  11. Tigersbbfan

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was diagnosed with a sebaceous cyst in my breast over a year ago. I was told that it would eventually go away with no treatment needed. While on visiting family out of town, the lump started to get red and sore. I went to a dermatologist yesterday (Friday) and they told me that it is so bad that it needs to come out but refused to treat me bc I am traveling back home on Sunday, and apparently I am too much of a liability to them. They did give me antibiotics and pain pills (extremely painful) and I have an appointment Tuesday with a dermatologist back home. I pray that everything is ok. I really appreciate your story, bc I have been unsuccessful in locating any information regarding what I have. Your first picture shows what mine looks like right now. Glad you are well!

    Reply
  12. bill

    i too have had an infected cyst on my back.it has been 6 weeks since it erupted and oozed out pus,there is a hole in my back now like a keyhole,which is being dressed daily with a seaweed dressing,not healing very fast though.

    Reply
  13. Terry

    Can you do all this if there’s no head on the cyst? I have one on my back shoulder area that’s infected but there is no head on it. I really don’t want to try and prick it because it could make things worse. I’ve been applying heat on it and it brings it down but then it just flares up again. I don’t have any insurance so I REALLY want to avoid a doctor trip.

    Reply
  14. emma portugal

    My god that is the grossest story I’ve ever read on any blog ever. And yet, horribly compelling. It’s a good angle… keep us posted on any more revolting physical ailments, I think it works for you. But I also liked the WORST THAI FOOD EVER comment, funny. Bring on the stories of Portugal!

    Reply
  15. Joyce M. Simmerman

    In the above article I posted pictures of a huge 1 piece cyst removal done on my husband’s shoulder after 2 1/2 days placing Mother of Vinegar biofilm (aka “MOV”), over it as a drawing and healing aid. Last year he’de had 2 break open where I used combinations of MOV, “SCOBIES” from Kombucha, some dmso and diatomaceous earth on the outside edges. Those took much longer to “extract”. We were quite surprised how easily and painlessly this one in the pics came out .. I went to change the Telfa pad and to put on a new MOV skin over it and when I drew it back, the whole inside of the cyst came with it. I’ve been applying MOVs since now for a couple days and it is closing up and healing. To see the pics go to: http://recipesandremedials.wikidot.com/article:36

    For pictures and explanations on how to make your own MOV producing vinegars, go to http://recipesandremedials.wikidot.com/article:30 . You can follow links in there to other fermentation links by others.

    Hoping this will inspire some of you to keep on persevering with the removal of those cysts. Oh, I do believe the MOV will take care of the MRSA also, based on our experiences and the approval our Dr. gave to the whole process last year, telling me I should “patent it”, (although since it is an ancient remedy, it is not patentable).

    Reply
  16. Sandra Havler

    I’ve a cyst which was the size of a pea that i have had for a couple of years. In the last 2 days it has grown and has become sore, can infection happen this quickly.

    Reply
      • Jane

        Hi, I also have two sebaceous cysts on my head, had them for around five or so years, started off pea sized, but the one on the front of my head became inflamed and infected virtually overnight around a week ago, the pressure headaches and pain surrounding these cysts became almost unbearable. the one on the front of my head just exploded one morning, albeit frightening and extremely daunting at the amount of poison, keratin, blood etc that came from the cyst , the release of pressure from that area was almost instantaneous although it is still painful as not completely drained, I am taking anti- inflammatroy medication called diflex, together with nurofen and an antibiotic these seem to ease the pain significantly. I have now noticed the one on the back of my head has started to increase in size and is causing quite a lot of pain. I am trying the magnesium sulphate in the hope that it helps to elleviate the pressure. any further suggestions would be welcomed. On a lighter note my 14 year old son has now nicknamed me Vesuvius (a volcano in italy)

        Reply
  17. jeff

    thank you for your story,I too have a cyst on my back right now,I actually got it about 7 years ago and it was infected I went to the ER and they lanced it and didn’t remove the sack,now it has come back with a vengeance,about ten days ago I was in real pain and went to a local urgent care and paid 134 bucks the doc gave me a shot of antibiotics and some to take home with instructions to place a warm damp cloth on the cyst a few times a day,so I finished the pills and did the rag thing and the cyst still remains,3 days ago I did go to the store and bought some neosporin pain ointment and I put that on a gauze pad and placed it over the cyst and it appears to be draining during the night as I see the puss and blood when I remove the gauze,then yesterday I went and got a tube of “draw out” ointment and put that on for a day and wow that really made it soar so I went back to the neosporin today and Im still in a lot of pain today but still draining.anyway my question to you is once your cyst started to drain did you still put on the draw-out ointment or leave it alone and for how long if you did? thanks again..jeff

    Reply
    • admin

      Jeff,
      I know it’s gross, and it’s going to hurt a bit, but I recommend getting a close friend or relative to give it a gentle squeeze. I had lumps of stuff coming out when some pressure was applied, and I felt much, much better afterwards.
      Good luck!
      Lachlan

      Reply
  18. Dora

    Thank you for your story. I’m 20, and I have cysts under my breasts, between my breasts, my armpits (the most painful I might add), and the back of my neck. I’ve had them since I was 13, but it’s grown to more areas and gotten worse. I had one on the back of my neck that was the size of a ping pong ball. I had it surgically removed. I had to be put under anesthesia and all. The surgery was September of 2011 and now it’s April 2012. I’ve been to doctors on and off most of my life for this, and they tell me that I can’t really do anything for it. I’m in constant pain since they are ALWAYS inflamed. I’m tearing up just thinking about it. I’ve tried warm compresses and the salve, but it doesn’t seem to work for me. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. And I definately don’t want to spend the rest of my life going to the doctor to have them cut this crap out of me. I’m sad, and in pain, but I don’t know what to do.

    Reply
    • Rose

      Dora, I know what you mean as soon as i hit puberty i started getting in my genital area, armpits, bra line and they are horrible. The most my doctor will do is give me antibiotics when one becomes infected but she told me my blood is cystic….. My sister in law though suggested a round of therapeutic antibiotics for 6-8 weeks. so maybe i will talk to my doctor again since I am now 30 and still dealing with it!!

      Reply
  19. zGo

    Dora, I feel your pain. I’m in a similar situation. If you care to talk to someone feel free to contact me zgodesign@gmail.com I’ve recently had some luck in self-treatment.

    Reply
  20. Diane

    Fascinating blog entry and photos. Wow, your sebaceous cyst was even grosser than mine! (And mine was pretty gross,… wish I’d taken photos). Mine started with a small lump on my face (cheek, below the cheekbone) around December 2011. It was quite small, and I thought maybe it was a weird mole and didn’t worry over it all that much. Then in late March 2012, it doubled in size quite suddenly and became red and painful. I figured out what it was with internet research, and applied warm/wet compresses to the lump for a week. A hole formed in the cyst, and a small bit of stuff started draining out of it, but not very much. THEN a larger hole developed in the cyst, and when I pressed gently on it one day a bunch of that white karitin stuff spurted out of it and landed in my toothbrush glass (ha!). After the keratin started to come out, the swelling went down 50% and a few days later (current time), the swelling is down about 80%. I think there’s still more “stuff” to come out though, and I plan to encourage it tomorrow. Like you, once the cyst started draining I ceased the wet-warm compresses. Just hoping that the rest of the GUNK comes out soon, and the holes (yes, TWO!) can start healing up. It’s embarrassing to have to walk around with a band-aid on my face. (Btw, the cyst at its largest was about the size of an American quarter,…. yours on your back looked a LOT bigger). Has your cyst completely healed now? Hope it doesn’t come back!
    Cheers!
    –Diane in California

    Reply
  21. Lonny

    That’s a lot of trouble to go through and a lot of time spent.

    I would have rather just had it surgically removed.

    Reply
    • Lachlan

      Lonny,
      You are right, in retrospect I would rather have had it removed surgically.
      However, once they become infected they won’t remove it surgically until the infection is gone, you are stuck with cortisone injections, antibiotics and lots of pain for many days.
      I had no idea it would become infected, it just sat there for years on my back and caused no pain at all during this time. Once it became infected it was too late.

      Reply
  22. Rachel

    I’m so happy I found this. I have a small one on my arm that’s been bothering me on and off for over a year now (it’s pretty angry today). I have no insurance, all the cheap clinics do is have me throw antibiotics at it, and I can’t afford to go to the ER to have it cut out. I’ll have to try the compresses and drawing salve and see if I can get it to go away myself.

    Just one question: when using the icthammol cream, do you put any kind of bandage over it, or do you just leave it on top of the skin?

    Reply
  23. KK

    I had a subaceous cyst removed from my breast about 9 years ago. Suddenly, I now have another one which is larger and very angry, right under the scar of the first one.. Because of its location, I assume removal will be the best option. Am disappointed to have another one in the same location because the first surgeon assured me that the sac had been removed intact.

    Reply
  24. Kenneth Dabrera

    I too had a cyst on my chest just above the left nipple. I put off taking it out and it grew quite big and looked red and ripened and just the day before it was surgically removed under general anesthesia, it had ruptured and yellow matter was pouring out. It was removed and the wound was kept open with the appropriate dressings and I was given antibiotics. However the by the next evening there emanated a wee bit of foul order from the wound. I think somehow there must be tiny particles of pus inside still remaining, otherwise how can the foul smell come form the
    wound? So I informed the Doctor regarding this and he has asked me to come tomorrow itself to check it out. I am
    very worried to learn that the surgeons have not done a fine job of it if there is some more pus left. Fortunately the
    government of Sri Lanka provides free medical treatment to its nationals and I don’t have to spend anything and
    I appreciate this noble service. But to go through surgery the second time vexes me for I hate to go through that
    general anesthesia for I feel very funny and weak after that for a few hours. Anyway I’ve got to go through it.

    Reply
  25. enedina

    wow im going thru the same problem right now there so painful I been having them since 18 it sux ima try this I hope it work if any one have any more ideas I could used let me know plz cause is so painful

    Reply
  26. Jim

    I’ve had a sebaceous cyst on my right shoulderblade for years. At times it would fill (not infected, just full), and could be drained of the white keratin just by squeezing it. The stuff would come out like toothpaste from a tube. Very smelly, but it would drain fairly flat. This cyst has been benign for the past few years, not even filling up. Just the other day, it got very sore and infected for the first time ever, looking like a quarter-sized angry zit. As I examined it this morning, it popped a bit and started to ooze. As long as it had popped, I squeezed more and got a mix of fluid, blood and white keratin chunks coming out. So off to Walgreens where the pharmacist kept the Ichthammol behind the counter. Had to ask for it. I paid about double what I can buy it for online, but I wanted it now. The Ichthammol is a nasty smelling, tar-like paste that I slathered the cyst with, and covered it all with sterile gauze. I’m not sure what smells worse, the Ichthammol or the seepage from the cyst. :) Frankly, I don’t care how bad the Ichthammol smells as long as it drains the nasty stuff from the cyst. I’ll report back as the treatment progresses. Thanks for this page and the treatment suggestions.

    Reply
    • Lachlan

      Jim,
      Thanks for your comment. Sounds like you have pretty much exactly what I did. Do report back.

      Reply
    • Jim

      UPDATE:
      24 hours of Ichthammol use on the open, draining wound got it pretty clear of any signs of infection. The pain is gone and I have full range of motion in my shoulder with no pain. Now using my favorite wound treatment, Banana Cream, on the wound and it is looking pretty good. Hope to report back after the weekend that it has healed.

      Reply
      • Jim

        UPDATE:
        After almost 2 weeks, I think I am home free. The cyst has not filled or flared again and the Banana Peel Extract Cream worked great (as usual) to help heal the wound. If anyone’s interested, I found the Banana Cream at http://www.fisalesllc.com/banana_cream. Can’t seem to find it in the local drugstores like the Ichthammol. Got hooked on the stuff a few years ago when I was using a free sample of the animal version of the cream for a skin condition. So moving forward, I think I’m set with the Ichthammol to draw out the infection and the Banana Cream to treat the wound. I can’t thank you enough for posting this site with the Ichthammol tip.

        Reply
  27. Catherine

    I have had this cyst where it is very tender. Cannot where any under wear. Had it since Thursday..bought Ichthammol ointment 20%, and have been soaking in hot water first, than puttining the ointment on..only pus comes out…very sore…can’t drive…very gross looking…don’t want to get it lanced..been ther, done that back in August..can’t go through that pain anymore! What else can I do? Was going to go to the hospital today, but I don’t want them to stick needles down there to numb it first..Too much pain…please email me anything else I can do at home for this…Thank you so much for any other remedies, other than having it lanced!!!

    Reply
    • Lachlan

      Hi Catherine,
      I would just keep applying the Ichthammol paste – it took a few days for the contents of the cyst to start to drain for me, and applying some gentle pressure to the area helped once it started coming out. Persevere for a couple of days, I think. Though bear in mind I am not a medical professional! So can only give advice based on my own experience. I was also too scared to go to the doctor when I was in Romania, very 3rd world, so I completely understand you don’t want to do this if it’s avoidable. I would go and visit your doctor if the Ichthammol is not drawing the contents out after a couple of days.
      Hope this helps.
      Lachlan

      Reply
    • Jim

      Catherine,
      Although I just successfully treated an infected cyst on my shoulderblade (see posts above), I had an infected one in my nether regions like you a few years back. I know the pain you are going through. It is intense. Coincidentally, a woman that works for me currently has the same condition. Yes, we’re all infected cyst buddies. She even has a step-daughter with the same problem in the same area. She and I have taken different paths of treatment. She takes warm baths and uses an anti-bacterial cream. For her, it subsides after a while, but it always comes back. I had surgery to remove my cyst. The surgery was no problem, but I had problems with the packing they left inside me. When they pulled it out, I dropped to my knees in pain. Incredible. However, since it healed nicely, no recurrences for me in that area. I think surgery is the final solution to really get rid of the cyst once and for all. I am glad I had the surgery for that tender region. For my shoulder cyst, I’ll delay surgery unless it becomes a recurring problem for me.

      Reply
  28. rubert

    i have had cysts in several locations throughout the years. went through all my teenage years with no acne problems then, when i was finally off my moms healthcare plan, i started to have cysts occur. first one was on my jawbone and im currently dealing with it but then i devolped a pilonidal cyst on my tailbone and now i also have re-accuring cysts on my pelvis area. its great because it prevents me from having sex with women and who wants that right? so anyway, i have this cyst thats the size of say a marble under my jawbone for years and then over the course of a month it grows to be about the size of a golf ball. i go to the doctor and pay to have it lanced, it comes back, yesterday, after getting a 16 gauge needle tip from a veterinarian friend of mine, i poke 7 holes in the cyst and really tug on the bastard to drain it. everything was fine for a few hours. no pain, nothing, then about an hour before bed i start getting ridiculous cold flashes and it starts hurting really badly. i wake up this morning with a double chin and the soreness has spread from a 4 inch square area to the entire underside of my neck. i applied heat to it and took ibuprofen and it feels better. no redness at all, just swollen and sore. i am going to take your tip for the salve. i know infections can be bad but i have reoccuring infections of the cyst on my pelvis and it hurts immensely, and i have passed out from the pain before, but it always resolves itself in a few days and i feel fine. i dont have money to go to a doctor and even when i did go to the doctor, he didnt solve the problem (even though his job is to do just that. working in construction, if i screw up, i go back and fix it for free. not sure how doctors can get away with being incompetent and still charge you a few hundred dollars for a few minutes of their time.) whatever the case, thank you for sharing your experience. its ridiculous that dermatologists dont have a good enough understanding of cysts to even suggest things like the salve you mentioned. seems like something they should be googling in their freetime like their clients do.

    Reply
  29. Yogesh

    Hi lachlan
    Thanks for posting your story.Presently i m also undergroing the treament for Infected sebaceos cyst and must admit reading your story has made me feel a lot better in terms of alleviating my fears.My cyst on the backside of my shoulder/neck was looking very similar to the 1st photo u posted and has ruptured just a couple of days back.I went to the doctor who gave me an antibiotic with a painkiller.However he hasn’t recommended Ichthammol cream to help the quick draining of the cyst.I am doing it all myself by slowly squezzing it out but thats grossly painful.i have to do it 3-4 times a day and inbetween i keep the cyst covered with neosprin powder and bandage.I read that it took you 8-10 days to drain out the pus/contents of the infected cyst.Did u keep using the Ichtammol cream during that time ? Will using Ichtammol cream now ( since the cyst is already draining though slowly) will help me to speed up the draining process?

    Reply
  30. uzi

    I had a cyst on my head ,front side , 10 years ago. I had it removed surgically , it didn’t come back and hair on that area also . then i found a cyst on my back upper left side, its been 8 harmless years now , but now 4 days ago on
    23 rd April 2013 , it got infected, i am on antibiotic and later will remove it surgically. I am feeling so low, i am feeling bad , its not under my control i know but still i am very sad :(. i had been through surgical treatment of mastitis (a big infected abscess on my breast) 1 year ago. it was very expensive treatment as i live in singapore , i don’t work and thus no medical insurance. My husband had all the burden. now i have another surgery of this sebaceous cyst, another burden for my husband. i am feeling so dependent , i wish i could pay all my medical
    expenses. Though my husband never complaint , but still i feel very bad :( what if i get it again :(
    want to cry :’

    Reply
    • Lachlan

      Uzi, have you tried putting Ichthamol cream on it? you may be able to avoid surgery. It draws the infection out.

      Reply
  31. Herb Rand

    I wouldn’t hesitate to visit a Romanian doctor for something as basic as excising or treating a cyst, boil, or carbuncle. Despite Romania’s economic problems, the standards of education in Romania have always been high, and the best Romanian doctors are as well-educated as doctors anywhere. In fact, one of the problems facing the Romanian health care system is that many of Romania’s best doctors have been leaving Romania to take better-paying jobs in Italy, France, and other European countries.

    You do have some Romanian friends, right? But even if you have to ask your concierge, landlord, employer, or the owner of your favorite restaurant, no Romanian friend or acquaintance is going to refer a traveler to an incompetent doctor. The grapevine in Romania functions brilliantly when it comes to finding reputable doctors and other tradespeople.

    Romania’s public hospitals are much cheaper than the private clinics that have been organized since the Revolution, but the private clinics tend to attract the best doctors and nurses. For simple procedures like treating a cyst, chances are that you would receive appropriate care at any public hospital, private clinic, or even a doctor’s office. I would be surprised if you couldn’t find a doctor fluent in your native language or some other language you both share. French is like a second language in Romania, and in my experience about one in ten Romanians speaks English. Even if all you can do is take off your shirt, point, and groan, chances are you will receive the appropriate treatment.

    One thing that takes a little getting used to in Romania is the custom of giving gifts to your doctor and perhaps even the friend who helped refer you to the doctor. For treating a cyst, I suggest you give the doctor something worth ten or twenty percent of what the treatment is worth in Euros–maybe a bottle of good whiskey, or something appropriate to the doctor’s interests. Look around his office for clues. Gifts from your own country–whiskey and articles of clothing, for instance–are usually appreciated and appropriate.

    Even a letter that says “I imagine you sometimes treat people who can’t afford the appropriate medicine or procedures. This is a gift to one or more of those people. I trust you to use it where it will do the most good.” And then put a couple of twenties or a portrait of Benjamin Franklin in the envelope.

    Be sensitive, and don’t be surprised if the doctor doesn’t seem to need or want your gift, although in that case I would still leave the gift behind anyway, without drawing any more attention to it.

    Reply
  32. Marti

    I, too, have been dealing with an infected cyst – under my breast. That area is really, really hard to get something to heal apparently. I had the cyst lanced and drained about 4 weeks ago. It is still oozing – sometimes it appears to be healing, then flares up again and clear fluid, pus and blood come out. My question is – can you put Icthammol directly on it while the wound is open? I’ve been using Neosporin but really, it’s just not healing up. So frustrating!

    Reply
  33. lal

    same thing just happened to me!
    small cyst on my back for years and years. erupted today, have covered it in Magnaplasm to draw it out.yes, it is quite sore isn,t it!!!!
    i do know though, that it will recur unless the sac is removed

    Reply
  34. Joe

    Lachian, et al. Thanks for your insight. About 3 weeks ago, I had a lump in my right arm pit that became very red and sore. I happened to be at my dermatologist for something else. She removed it and sent it out to make sure it was not cancerous – it was not:-) However, a week later, two additional ones appeared in my right arm pit and a third one appeared under my left armpit. All were initially red and sore. Called the doc back. Could not get an appointment for a week. By the appointment, today, all three had shrunk (one completely gone). They were no longer red and no longer sore. She did take-out the left one. The right ones were no longer bothersome. I have a few questions to throw out there. My doc was not all that knowledgeable…
    1) I am 51 and never had sebaceous cysts before. Any ideas on what causes these cysts?
    2) Is the cause from the outside in, or from the inside out?
    3) Is it typical for them to flare-up and then subside?
    4) Although the doc did remove some white/yellow stuff, mine never got to the point of “popping” on their own, it this because they were not infected?
    5) I am diabetic. During the flare-up last week, my fasting blood sugars were higher than usual. Is there a diabetic component with these cysts?
    Thanks again for any insight.

    Reply
  35. Michelle

    Hi there.

    I just found this, I’ve had a tiny cyst on my neck for a decade, but in the last few days, it’s become swollen and I fear infected. I will try the hot water and ichthammol treatment, but I was wondering what specific kind of antibiotics are typically taken for this? I don’t have insurance and I might need to ask a dentist friend of mine to write me a scrip. Thanks

    Reply
  36. Hannah

    I have got a swollen inflamed cyst near my collar bone. I visited my GP and he tried to remove the pus by pulling it out through syringe.He did this process twice in a week .He prescribed antibiotics as well as paracetamol to reduce the fever. I felt bit better after that but unfortunately, the swelling and the pain is not reducing. He advised that if it doesn’t reduce in another 4-5 days, I need to get it drained out, but am worried to go under the knife. After reading your blog and so many comments, I am planning to try ichthhamol before really heading for the surgery. Can I get it over the counter or we need a prescription for it. Hope it gets better with Ichthammol.

    Reply
  37. rrivers

    Hi I get these nasty things on my thighs. I found out if you use a piece of a alovera plant on then it will dry them out!

    Reply
  38. Karen

    I developed a subaceous cyst on my breast. Due to the location, my doctor insisted it be surgically removed. I had that done which left a scar. After a couple of years, a small hard lump developed next to the incision. Last year the thing flared up and got infected. The doctor gave me antibiotics and wanted me to go to the surgeon again. The antibiotics took care of it so I skipped the visit to the surgeon. One year later, it is back and very angry. So, I guess I am going to have to have it removed again. The surgery was not painful and because of the location of the cyst and the potential dangers, I am not going to try the home treatment. However, thanks for the info.

    Reply
    • Lachlan

      Fair call. I would have opted for the surgery as well in this case. In fact, I would have had surgery before I left New Zealand had I known how miserable I was going to be in a strange country…
      Good luck, Karen. Hope you get well soon.

      Reply
  39. Clark

    I have one on my shoulder blade. It is probably the size of a baseball in diameter, and has protruded outward. I am on an antibiotic, and since taking it…..it has came up to a head…along with putting tea tree oil on it…as ruptured….but I still feel that there is a lot underneath that hasn’t came out yet. My shoulder hurts, and the area around the shoulder blade, and even near the arm pit…did you have muscle pain around yours?

    Reply
  40. Gail

    I currently have a cyst on the cheek of my face. I used warm Epsom salt compresses for 15 minutes several times a day for three days. The cyst ruptured this morning while soaking it and I was able to drain a good bit of the blood and puss from the area but not much of the keratin came out. I applied an activated charcoal compress on the area for an hour which brought more of the infection and the keratin to the surface to be eliminated. It is still draining but there is much less ooze coming out of it now. I have dressed it with silver solution salve and covered with sterile gauze. I have kept the area clean by washing with Hibiclens several times per day. I have never heard of Icthammol but am willing to give it a try. Is this a product that I need to ask the pharmacist for or is it usually stocked on the shelves.

    Reply
  41. conor

    I have the same thing my upper back closer to my neck. Although it’s not infected i’ve still been trying to drain it every day. but now it seems like no think is able to come out. It’s just a fairly larger hard mass. Thinking of just going to the doctor to get it taken care of.

    Reply

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