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

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.Β  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.Β  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.


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.


 Add your comment
  1. 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)

  2. 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 πŸ™

  3. I have to tell you what you had was most probably a carbuncle.

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

      • 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 ?!

  4. 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

    • this comment is for Becky, I am dealing with the same issue often caused by childbirth. If you have it drained or aspirated it will return. It needs to be excised and the entire sac removed cleaned and sutured. If even one molecule remains the cyst will return which is what usually happens will self treatment. I hope all turned out well for you and hope mine will too, I have insisted on surgical excision, cant deal with it any longer. Best of luck to you.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 —

    • 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

      • I have the same problem! Please help, did you fic the issue?? I used that black cream and now I’m stuck with a big hole on my butt. How should I fix it?

  8. 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.

    • 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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 ?

  12. 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!

  13. i too have had an infected cyst on my 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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:

    For pictures and explanations on how to make your own MOV producing vinegars, go to . 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).

  17. 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.

    • Sandra, yes, mine became sore overnight.

      • 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)

    • yes, I had mine for 5 years and then overnight it became infected. got antibiotics and it started draining on it’s own but did not heal. back to the dock for more antibiotics because it was still draining two months later. referred to dermatologist. they cut out a piece of skin and coterized it a week ago. smaller now but guess what? still small amount of white stuff coming out and will not heal. 4 months and still doctoring it daily! About tired of this! Not sure what next step will be if not healed up soon.

  18. 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

    • 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!

  19. 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.

    • 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!!

    • Seek Acupuncture. If you have reoccurring issues with cysts in these areas it may (or may not) be a sign of worse issues down the road. Any time you have reoccurring problems with Anything it means you have an imbalance. An acupuncturist can help you determine the root cause of the issue and help you restore balance thus (hopefully) solving the problem and preventing future problems.

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

  21. 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!
    –Diane in California

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

    I would have rather just had it surgically removed.

    • 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.

  23. 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?

    • sprinkle Epsom salts into warm bath water. Soak for 15-20 minutes. I also used a heating pad with moist towel to help bring the infection to skin surface. This helped mine drain. I’m allergic to most antibiotics so having cyst drain naturally is my best medicine. I have been to the doc numerous times and the last one said to do: warm water baths with Epsom salts, baby powder to keep area dry (between the fat rolls), allowing air to get to the area. These occur on inner thighs/groin area for me. I am beginning to think it’s more than a boil or cyst. Like cystic acne and I am 44. Grr

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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. πŸ™‚ 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.

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

    • 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.

      • 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 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.

        • I have had a cyst on my back near my shoulder blade for over 20 years. Recently it has grown and it looks like it’s infected I’m very nervous. When I put warm heat on it, it drains. It doesn’t get smaller. Would I be hurting it using that cream to draw out the infection? If I didn’t have this cyst I feel great otherwise. No fever, not hot to the touch just very red and raw. Thank you

  28. 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!!!

    • 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.

      • I wish you would have given a doctor in Romania a chance, you are misinformed as it’s far from being a third world country. I’m from there and live in Canada so I can compare. But I’m glad you got it all better anyway. Still, can’t help but think you would have suffered less if you would have had a little more trust. People die in the US and Canada from infections too. Anyway, I’m reading your blog because I had a cyst for about seven years on the top of my head that started out very small and for the last two weeks it began bothering me and got bigger, almost like the size of a cashew. Tonight it felt wet above so I went to the bathroom to look and saw a little fluid bubble right on top of it. So I started squirting. Lots of gross stuff came out and a broken sac came out too soon after. Then lots of blood. Since its late at night and my kids are sleeping I chose not to go to a clinic. I put a white powder, a sulphamide, I think it’s the name, we buy in the pharmacy in Romania that I love to use always when you get a cut and under a band aid, it helps heal really fast and takes the pain away instantly. I really hope it will heal and the cyst will not come back. Not sure if I should get antibiotics anyway.

    • 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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?

  31. 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 πŸ™ what if i get it again πŸ™
    want to cry :’

  32. 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.

    • Thank you Herb, I couldn’t have said it better. You are right on everything you said about Romania and it’s medical system. One exception, doctors that work in private clinics do not receive little extra gifts. They get their fee anyway. The ones in the public system don’t get paid that well, so gifts go a long way to better service. And pretty much 99% speak English.

  33. 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!

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

    • 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.

  40. 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… 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?

  41. 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.

    • Gail… Icthammol used to be shelf-stocked, but now you must ask the Pharmacist for it. Some people know it as “Black Salve’. I have used it for years as a drawing salve…it smells like tar but if you have a boil or a splinter or a cyst that needs to be brought to the surface, it is the best stuff I know. Good luck!!

  42. 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.

  43. All comments really interesting. I currently have a cyst that just ruptured after warm compresses and generaly building up of internal pressure. I’m going to derm in 2 days hoping she will remove the sac. It is in my armpit and was horribly painful for a week before it started draining. I’ve had it a year and if I had a chance yo do it over again I would have had it removed 6 months ago while it was still small and uninfected. I would have saved myself a lot of frustration and pain.

    • I have a nasty infected cyst under my right armpit too, unfortunately it flared up while I was out of town so I’ve just had to deal with it. I am considering going to urgent care when I get home if it hasn’t “popped” and started to drain by Saturday night. It’s such a painful spot. My whole right upper chest and shoulder just ache. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone!

  44. A few years ago I developed a cyst on my back. I went to see a dermatologist about it and was informed that until it became infected the surgery to remove it would be considered cosmetic by Blue Cross and that therefore the cyst removal was not covered. I opted not to pay out of pocket to have it removed even though I hated it and was embarrassed at the thought of anyone seeing it (especially the 15 year younger guy that I was seeing!). As a single mom of two kids that I have to provide for I just couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on something that was considered cosmetic.

    Fast forward 3 years.

    I’ve had a knee problem for several years now. It doesn’t always bother me, but does flare up from time to time. On this particular day it was quite painful so I stopped by local pharmacy and bought a bag of sea salt to soak in (a nice hot bath with sea salts does wonders for the joints). At this point the cyst had also been bothering me for a few days but not enough that I had considered doing anything about it. So, into the bath I went. I spent over an hour soaking that day. When I got out the cyst was huge, bright red, and had a big white head in the middle of it. I dried off and headed to the other bathroom where the lighting was better, turned around so I could see my back in the mirror, reached around to the cyst, and gave it a squeeze. The amount of blood and other material that came out was astonishing! I immediately began searching the internet for cures. Much to my dismay they were few and far behind.

    Ultimately I decided on a combination of iodine and Manuka Honey (you can read about Manuka honey here: I spent the next several days expressing the cyst, putting a little iodine on it, slathering it in honey, and then putting a bandage over it. Within about 10 days the cyst was gone and mostly healed. I do have a small hole in my back where the cyst was but thankfully it has not re-filled to date. I am sure it is only a matter of time though. Thankfully I feel much better equipped to deal with it when it does.

  45. Hi Lachlan, thanks for sharing this info. I feel your pain, brother! I have a sebaceous cyst on my right shoulder blade that has occurred again in exactly the same place it did last time. It was insanely painful to have it removed last time, as it was infected. The dr. did an excision in office and I screamed so loud they thought he was killin’ me! Because it was infected, it would not numb all the way and it was like he was digging and forging for freakin’ gold in there!! He said he got it all…but now it’s back and getting infected again…it’s still small, but I’m not willing to go through THAT again, so I’m going to have it removed tomorrow. My question is, for those that get them on the shoulder blade, have any of you experienced headaches and muscle spasms in the shoulder/neck associated with the cysts? Since before I noticed this latest one, I have been getting terrible headaches along with the muscles in my neck and shoulder in almost constant spasm. I think the cyst is pressing on that nerve in the shoulder blade…
    Anyway…God Bless every single one of you.
    Namaste’ and much ????,

  46. Hey guys, reading through some of your comments and trying to take on board as much info as possible. I have recently (4 days ago) developed what I believe to be a cyst in and unquestionable area, It’s on the bikini line. It has increased in size quite a bit since then and I’m not sure if I’m going about treating it the right way. It does not seem to have a head but it is quite inflamed and sore when I walk, sit down etc. I’m currently treating it with a warm washer for 10-15 minute intervals and having warm baths to soak in, also keeping the area very clean. Would love it if somebody could offer advice as I would preferably not want to visit the doctor due to the area it is in if it can be avoided. What should I do?! Thanks.

    • Hi Jess, sorry to hear of your predicament. My cyst had no head on it either, but using Icthammol brought it to the surface and after a couple of days a head did appear, then it was possible to drain it. Perhaps you could a female doctor if it’s in a sensitive area? Best of luck. L

    • I have had these for years in the bikini area so I know exactly what you are talking about. Normally, I’m able to drain them on my own but I have gone to the doctor a couple of times when it was so bad that I couldn’t walk. Do not let this prevent you from seeking medical help. It’s more common than you think. Much love!

  47. Wow, lots of good information here. I have one of my scalp in the front, right at my hairline. It started out about the size of a grain of sand but since I can’t keep my hands off of it, has grown to about the size of a quarter. I have had it for several months in spite of antibiotics which made me dizzy, a problem I never had before, so I had to go off those. I knew about Ichthammol which is good, but slow and doesn’t draw it all out. I am having better luck with a plaster of equal parts of turmeric, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and granulated garlic. I just take a butter knife, stand over the sink and cake it on there at night, takes about 45 minutes to dry but then it’s on there. Stays on all night and dries out the area which I needed because it was “weeping.” The turmeric does turn your skin yellow but some shampoo and extra scrubbing gets all the yellow off. This is a drawing salve for sure. If it dries out, just add a little vinegar (not white vinegar, Bragg’s with the mother vinegar). One tsp of turmeric, One tsp fresh or granulated garlic, One tsp of Bragg’s vinegard, mix it all, plaster it on. Once it dries, it stays in place pretty well and REALLY works to draw. It keeps filling up so I must not be getting it all. I’m going to try putting liquid bandage on it to protect it from my own touching. I also read where a paste of aspirin and water will take down the swelling but I haven’t tried that yet since I’m on a roll with the turmeric-vinegar-garlic paste. It’s too yellow to wear in the day, I’ve been putting tea tree oil and antibacterial on it alternating. At least it is no longer growing. It is also good to take the turmeric and eat garlic and onions I read somewhere to discourage cysts and boils. I’m doing that too. Thanks for sharing all your experiences.

  48. I think I get these on my boobs. They pop and hurt. And leave dime size holes. I get them all over my body. Advice Wouk be amazing. Tia

  49. Just went through this with my boyfriend. He had a sebaceous cyst on his back for years and it was the size of my fist. I noticed several months ago that it would look reddened and warmer than the skin around it. He said it didn’t bother him and so he ignored it. He had been to several doctors in the past and each one said to just leave it alone unless it bothered him. Well about 4 weeks ago the cyst grew in size, became extremely red, was very painful and he thought he might be running a slight temperature the last few days. So he took a NSAI and made an appointment with his primary care physician. His primary care physician took one look at it, put him on an antibiotic and sent him to a surgeon. The surgeon lanced it and gave him more antibiotic, and told him to change the dressing and to pack it lightly for the first 2 weeks. Since I am a nurse, he decided to ask me to change the dressings. I was horrified the first night when I removed the packing to have a large stream of pus running down his back. I also applied slight pressure to the surrounding area – 360 degrees around. Out would spurt this fatty looking goo about as long as my thumb and the same size around. The smell was unbelievable, the entire bathroom would smell and I have a very large bathroom. This went on for over a week. He finished his antibiotic. He went back to the surgeon’s office after 2 weeks and saw a nurse practioner. The wound is still open (a nice 1 inch incision), has stopped draining and no longer needs to be packed. His back is as flat as the other side now. I do believe when he returns to the surgeon next week, the plan is to remove the actual sac that held all the sebaceous material. Not sure what this miracle drawing salve everyone is talking about. I’m thinking it might work well on the occasional pimple I get.

  50. Using ichtammol. Draing, how often should I apply ?

  51. I told you all of the saga of my boyfriend’s sebaceous cyst. After the surgeon lanced it, it was kept open for several weeks. He then went back to have the sac removed. If the sac is left in place, it will continue to refill. Boyfriend decided he didn’t want to go through the experience again and got it taken out. Sutures were removed two weeks ago and all has healed. Except for the scar, his back is flat as a board, no irritation at all.

  52. my husband is prone to these cysts on his back. He used to go to the doctor to have them removed until we realized, after much research, I could safely do it at home. It was very expensive to have the doctor do it as it is considered ‘cosmetic’. We’ve dealt with many inflamed/infected ones very similarly to the way this gentleman did. He asked me to look at something on his back last night. It was another inflamed/infected cyst, but it terrified me! It is huge! It’s larger in diameter than a silver dollar. There is so much pressure, when I squeezed it, the contents hit the ceiling, THE CEILING! This one is so much bigger than any in the past, I’m afraid it may be beyond my scope of treatment. Because of its size and inflammation, there’s the possibility it may not be considered ‘cosmetic’, but my husband, being a man, doesn’t like the doctor and I’d like to be able to treat it at home. Any suggestions on treating one of this magnitude would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  53. I have had many cysts over the years from when I was in my twenties, the first two I had removed surgically after a course of antibiotics, the third years later the doctor lanced after once again a course of antiboitics and after about a week of daily squeezing from the doctor it was left to heal. The fourth, antibiotics again but this one my teenage daughter did the squeezing after it opened and began to ooze, she did a beautiful job and a year later not a sign of it left. Well I am off to the doctor today for number five which is on my back, about 25mm in diameter and enflamed, I will do what the doctor recommends although for me both methods of treatment have so far been successful. Good luck to all you other suffers and I hope you find successful treatment.

  54. i have this pimple or so i thought on my back that later brings out smelling liquid substance, after a while it became solid and does not pain me when i press it,but i feel it solid on my back when i touch it with my finger,but still brings out a solid smelling substance, i saw a doctor and had test done and took treatment mainly antibiotics for infection but it’s still there, i have it for 5 years now,what can i do.

  55. I get these all the time. Usually in my bikini area, but I have gotten them on my face, behind my ears, underneath my breasts and I do have one large one on my back that luckily hasn’t gotten infected yet. I drain it about once every two weeks. I think in some people it is a genetic thing because my mom and grandmother have them as well. It certainly isn’t from a lack of personal hygiene in our cases. Some things that have worked for me: ichthammol ointment covered by a sterile gauze pad. I change the pad and reapply the ointment about three times a day until it has fully drained. Instead of a hot cloth, a tip I picked up from somewhere was to use a hot, wet teabag that has been squeezed as dry as possible. It retains the heat longer than a cloth. I have also used a heating pad if I am really miserable and want to draw it out more quickly. I take turmeric supplements as per the directions on the bottle daily and it helps keep them at bay. If I feel one coming on, i will soak in really hot Epsom salt baths. When it comes to a head and starts to seep, after cleansing it with Hibiclens, I bite the bullet and squeeze the infection out, every few hours. It won’t heal until all of the pus/chunky stuff is out. My mom calls it the core. Once it has completely drained, I cleanse it with Hibiclens three times a day, apply Neosporin and cover loosely with a gauze. In general, I cleanse the areas that they usually pop up with the Hibiclens once a day as part of my bathing regimen. Hope this info helps. These things suck and are embarrassing. I wish that no one had to suffer with them.

  56. I just seen this!! I have a cyst on my lower back and I’ve had it for a 2 years or more I think. Well my husband thought it was just a inside pimple that just never got popped we’ll he poked it with a needle and squeezed it barley anything came out. It’s infected and red and very painful!! It doesn’t have a head yet but where he poked it, there became dead skin so he pulled it off so that it maybe easier for it to get a head. What could help bring it to a head and get rid of this? I’m scared to go to the doctor… Will that salve stuff help it?

  57. I had one on my neck for over 2 months. Went to doc 3 times. Just gave me antibiotic shots. Last time I went they made appt with surgeon, unfortunately he couldn’t see me for 2 weeks. Few days before my appt, sac came out in one huge lump. Still went to see doc, he sliced hole bigger so rest of infection could come out. We got one more big piece of sac out. Now in healing process. Heat seemed to make mine worst, ice made it feel better. When it first came up, we thought it was a risen because I have history of having those.

  58. Lachlan, I thank you (and subsequent commenters) for a very helpful and informative posting.

  59. I have had a cyst on the top of my left shoulder for years I had it completely removed and left with a big open hole in my back for weeks which had to be packed every other day, and it came back again, so the last time it flared up I got anti biotics from doctor and let it do it’s own thing eventually it burst, what a relief, I kept it clean and allied Mepore dressings on it everyday, the operation I had to remove it was not really painful but the hassle of having to have it packed etc is a drag especially as it returned, for me I would rather let it run its course as sergury to remove it is no guarantee it won’t return, now sat here with it sore and now on antibiotics.

  60. I have a yellow smelly subtance oozing from a cyst on my sternum
    Could it still be the type of cyst you are talking about?

  61. Thank u so much! My mother is going through this but hers is located on her beautiful face. We have been using the warm wash cloths and heating pad but have not been successful with the cyst draining. We will try the drawing agent (ichthammol) tonight and hope relief comes soon! Thank u so much for your information.

  62. Great information to read. I had six sebaceous cyst in my two breast. I had all of then remove and a year later they are doing back on top on the scars from the other cyst. they are infected, bleeding and hot to touch. it looks like i might had to have them removed again…which they took three out in the same operation so i was very sore. but it is nice to know I’m not the only one going through this.

  63. Your story is about an inflamed cyst, but I have had an un-inflamed cyst about the size of a small marble on the back of my neck for years, and my primary care doctor says to leave it be. But it itches and looks bad from behind so I set an appt with a dermatologist to see what he thinks. I would prefer that he lance it first instead of removing it if that would work, but will consider “ging under the knife” if it doesn’t. Very worried that the cyst is so close to my nerve trunk on the back of my neck and that removing it may cause nerve damage. If no assurance can be made of that, I will let it be. The cyst is slightly right of dead center on my neck, and exactly where my neck meets my skull. Anyone with a similar situation? Suggestions?

  64. I had a cyst on my butt very close to my lady parts. It got infected and hurt so bad. But I was too scared to go to the doctor. For about three days I soaked in the bathtub five times for about an hour each time and it helped a lot. I also put Epsom salt it the bath and it was soothing. I put bacon fat on the cyst through the night for a few days and it helped tremendously to draw the cyst to a head and pull out the core. It was very effective. It sounds very strange and will probably turn you off bacon for quite a while but it was definitely worth it.

  65. I had a cyst near my scrotum next to the base, about 12 inches back from the head of my penis. I put warm compresses on it two or three times a day until I got to the doctor. He removed it and the sack that it was in. It is a lot better now.

  66. Thank you so much for posting this… I have been dealing with one for about 5 days now…i’ve have these all over my head.. Had done surgely removed… But the one I’m dealing with now is in the back of my head inflamed.. And hurts like a b@#%*.. And don’t have the extra $$ to go see the Dr .. I’m going to the store and picking some of this stuff up.. Hope they have it here in Fl.. Thank you again.. I’ll post my experience with the itchhammol…

  67. So glad I’ve found this site. I’m current sat in pain with a 5cm cyst on my left shoulder and it’s on my scapula nerve, just great. I’ve had it for about 4years where I think it was originally a giant blackhead I don’t think I got all of it, then it was a lump and now it’s angry, red with two white heads on and skin peeling. I’ve got an appointment to get it surgically removed but it’s in a months time and still just a consultation. I’ve been trying to get seen by a doctor all week but with it being a bank holiday, no such luck. It’s getting worse by the day, I’m going drop in centre in the morning.

  68. I had a cyst on my back about 2-1/2″ in diameter and it protruded about 3/4″ and was extremely painful. I read all of the comments here and headed to the drugstore. I found “PRID” by Smile’s, followed the directions. After about three days, I and had lots of thick yellowish fluid and small pieces of yellow solid like the pics above. Ewww….It has gone down considerably, I’m going to continue until it is flat. I thank you so very much for all of the help!

  69. I was born with a very large cyst in my stomach. Although my mother took me to my doctor, concerned about a larger belly then other babies, he said it was normal. Eleven years later, living in a different state, I started to lose my appetite and was just feeling blah all the time, while I had these weird air bubble feelings rolling up my stomach. I was taken to the doctors and was put into Vanderbilt hospital the very next morning, as the doctor knew something was NOT normal. After about three days of ongoing ex rays and exams, I was scheduled for surgery and had a five pound cyst taken off of my intestines. The surgeons said I hardly bleed as they didn’t even need the extra blood bags they had on hand, and that I would still be able to have children, as this was a major concern before the surgery. It took me about two weeks to get back on my feet again and about another month before I felt more normal, and I say more normal because before the surgery, I always wondered why I didn’t look like other girls my age because I basically looked like I was seven months pregnant, standing up I couldn’t see my feet. After surgery, I felt like a new person. I was already thin, except my stomach, but now my stomach was flat!!! Being at Vanderbilt was so great! I was basically a test subject as in the doctors never saw anything like it. I had medical students coming and going all through the days and nights to take a look at the before and after surgery. Needless to say after giving birth by cesarean section to a five lb cyst, I felt light as a feather. Thirty-some years later, I can say I had no side effects at all, except the scar that ran across my belly, which I would take with a smile on my face any day! Flash forward to my age 38, I have had developed a couple pea size lumps on my head. One got itchy and I scratched it and it bled a little. A day later, it crusted over but felt harder then your normal scab. I began to pick it and some white mush came out of it. It then crusted over again the same harder kind of way. I then picked at it again but the scab would not scratch off. I then began to pulling at it with my finger nails, and ended up pulling out a thick little white sack. Being on the side and in my head, it made a little wet suctioning sound as it came out. It bled a little for about two min. making a tiny hole. The next day it was sealed up. I have done another since that first one on my head five years ago, and still have a larger one but the size of a quarter, instead of a pea. Thinking about getting this one done professionally. I’m not really concerned much about it, as my father had about four of them removed from his head also, when I was younger. I remember the Doctor removing them in his doctor’s office. My dad was in and out like a regular doctors visit. They gave him a shot to numb his head, made a small incision and pulled the little buggers out. No stitches were needed, and his was the size of quarters. He had really thin hair, so you could see them by just standing next to him. Hope this story full of my cyst memories helps those who have any concerns. I was a first at Vanderbilt Hospital in TN and I’m walking, breathing, and would do it again in a heart beat if I had to go back! If you have any questions, hit me up on here and I’ll try and answer them.

  70. I just got my first cyst and of all places its at the lower part of the bottom of my head. And it hurts really bad. I have been putting a hot cloth on it and some gooey stuff comes out but it hurts like crazy. I dont know what else to do. I dont wqant to go to the hospital where they would cut it out. Is there anything else i can do at home. Please someone help me!!

  71. I have had one of these puppies pretty much dead center on my back for 4-5 years, just a lump like a marble was 2/3 buried in my skin. A few weeks ago it began itching and I was scratching it carefully with a back scratcher, but apparently that finally tore a small opening. Then that puppy really flared up; I assume it became infected, and tripled in size and hurt like a mother.

    I asked my wife to see if she could get anything out of it, and so over the last 3 days now we’ve been ‘bleeding it’ twice a day. My son has also filled in when she was unavailable. Well, this morning, my son said I had what looks like a bullet hole in my back now, all the sebum is gone, he got several lumps of keratin out as well but it really is just a red hole about the size of a 9mm bullet.

    Now what? Should I “pack” it with something? Or just try to keep it clean and bandaged? I have been applying an icthyol (sp?) ointment called Boil Ease onto it and onto the bandages we continue to apply. I keep the bandage over it during my shower, and then it gets changed immediately after. But I don’t know what to do about my new hole now.

  72. Removing the “sac” (the entire cyst) is the only way to completely rid these. Having them drawn out, lanced and drained are just a temporary fix. Doing so will definitely ease the pain because you have decreased the pressure of it being full. But given enough time most likely it will fill back up because the sac remains. Also running the risk of severe infection, or worsening of, simply isn’t worth that effort.
    I have a sebaceous cyst on my left shoulder that is infected, being red and painful plus enlarged from the swelling. First my doctor will prescribe a round of antibiotics to temporarily heal the infection, then completely remove it. Having any surgical procedure done is avoided, if possible, when there is active infection present. And not only the direct area but even a general infection, such as having the flu, for obvious reasons.
    I’m sorry for those who do not have health insurance and cannot afford the services of a physician. So a Big Thank you to All for sharing your stories and what has personally worked for you πŸ™‚

  73. Hey dude i feel your pain… Im going through it again as the cyst keep coming out once a year im in baltimore md these bitches just wanna give you antibiotic …and my experience is anther month of itching pain till it goes back down…i myself want cut and this shit removed forever…kno what i mean is no joke eric head

  74. I had one before on my inner thigh and for me it started out as just a little pimple, popped it then got infected..I had help from ppl who had gone through the same thing before and they said to put like a sort of hot pad on it from time to time to help drain it and that’s the most important part!!! And please ppl try to keep the cyst covered with a band aid and if it ever starts out with a small pimple and if you ever think it might become a cyst run it under hot water and wash it with soap to prevent it from being infected!!! I think this method would work I haven’t tried the cream ever but if it ever happens again I’ll be sure to try it!!

  75. I have had many episodes with these cysts which occur in my ears and ear lobes. My past doctor would open the sac with a scalpel and scrub the lining with silver nitrate to break the wall and stop the bleeding. She would prescribe antibiotics and pack the wound with gauze. One was surgically removed by a ear, nose & throat specialist. He showed me a pea sized pellet which was as hard as a stone. My current doctor says that the scar tissue from these past episodes actually causes more problems, and therefore will not remove the sac walls. The antibiotics he prescribes will cause them to shrink, but months later they begin itching and slowly swell again. I have just partially drained a current cyst ( ear lobe), which temporarily relieves the pressure…. My bane!

  76. Thank you for putting your story out there, I had one surgically removed from my ear, doctor did say it might return if he hadn’t remove every single bit, sometime after it reappeared and infected, this time i dealt with it myself. Now i have one my upper back, that got infected and had antibiotics , as its under my bra strap, it’s really aggravating me plus it gets very itchy, I think i may have scratched it to hard and it’s seeping so must treat it with antiseptic. Will i have to wait till it’s healed before i try magnesium sulphate paste on it.

  77. Try using triple antibiotic. Neosporin was not helpful. Triple antibiotic is a standard with 3 different topical antibiotics. I used it once last night and again this morning when I lay down for a nap and was pleased that this morning I could rest on the side with the cyst, located on side of my neck, very comfortably. The cyst also is less puffy, somewhat flatter. (Prior to the triple antibiotic, I was putting on warm compresses. Then following those with the Prid drawing salve which was wonderful. This was very helpful but I seem to be at a standstill until the triple antibiotic. I hope this helps I am still finding out myself what the progress will be. Thank you all for all of your comments which have been very helpful to me.

  78. I feel foolish. I have just discovered from research and from calling the pharmacist that neosporin is identical to triple antibiotic. It may have been the stage of healing at which I applied the triple antibiotic that gave me comfortable results and improvement. I did learn one thing however: that the cream is for smaller areas of coverage and the ointment is for larger areas of coverage. They both adhere the same. Sorry for my lack of knowledge!, I certainly do appreciate your web site . Thank you.

  79. Thank u my husband had one for 16 years with no problems until 2 months ago we went to the ER they lanced it and set us up with a surgeon over the last month his has drained and drained just like yours did we are to go Tues for surgery but his back has no sign of a cyst except where they cut it to drain he is opting out of surgery since there’s nothing there now. Thank you again I feel better after reading this on letting him cancel the procedure.

    • You may not see it but the cyst wall still exists. This can lead to the cyst filling up again. The original author of this article did have his cyst removed when he returned home. My boyfriend went through having his cyst get infected, lanced, drained, and then had the cyst removed. Unless your husband wants to go through this experience again I would suggest getting it removed even though it may look fine now.

  80. Ive also been dealing with an infected cyst. Its not painful unless touched. Its been swollen for a week now and i have been on antibiotics, using warm compresses and the ointment but it hasnt drained yet. How long should my cyst take to drain and how often should i use the ointment?

  81. I have had these cysts in various parts of my body for the last 40 years. I have had four polynidal (sp?) cysts on my tailbone, and had ALL of those surgically removed. Obviously having them surgically removed does not prevent you from ever getting them again in the exact same place since I had three more on my tailbone. The third time I had a polinydal cyst on my tailbone the doctor had me admitted to the hospital and did some very invasion surgery to remove any possible fragments. I got another one in the same place five years later. I prefer getting antibiotics rather than going through the extremely painful surgery. I am going to try the cream (thank you Lachlan for that information) as I have one now on my back that is infected and I have been taking antibiotics. These cysts are very painful and make your body feel like it has the flu. It makes you dizzy and sick to your stomach, not to mention the constant pain. Suffering with this is no joke and I hope that one day they will figure out WHY we get these so it can be prevented.

  82. I’ve had a pea size cyst on my back for years. I could actually squeeze it after a hot shower and drain it. It would go away and come back. That was 10 years ago. Now, like within days it has grown to the size of a golf ball and is inflamed. Have doctors appt. tomorrow wish me luck. Thanks for your story.

  83. I Just wanted to thank you for this post, I have one on my shoulder at the moment and this post has helped to alleviate all my fears as it’s progressed.

    • that is what it looks like, i am sue that is it what can i do at home the 3 weeks is the same for me as well, can you tell me how to treat it , i,ve been putting hot towells seems to help ,what else can i do

  84. The doctor will prescribe Bactrim if a cyst gets infected. You can order your own Bactrim at calvetsupply dot com. It’s called Fish Sulfa Forte. It’s the same antibiotic as we get from the pharmacy. I keep some on hand because I have had problems from time to time.

  85. I have an infected cyst on the back of my neck – it feels as big as a house and is very painful to touch or if my collar presses on it. Now on third lot of antibiotics and no change yet. It’s a complex multi-locular cyst with at least 7 heads but it’s not been discharging at all. Am scheduled for excision in 2 weeks but only if infection has gone. Started magnesium sulphate poultice and dressings today. Not sure how much is the cyst and how much is the antibiotics but I feel quite rotten. It’s come only 2 months after I has surgery for early breast cancer (all gone now) so it’s not been a good year so far!

  86. Thank you for sharing. It’s good to read the stories of others with experience. I get the cysts on my scalp and have had 6-7 surgically removed with stitches or staples to close holes. I have also removed two on my own because they broke through the skin and started oozing or hardening the exposed part. After several weeks of pinching, squeezing and working at it to pull it out, they finally came out in one white hard in tact sac. The first one I did, closed and healed up well. The second one however had been 3/4 under skin & 1/4 exposed for about 2 weeks. So after it came out (I pulled it out easily by twisting the hardened exposed part, when it was ready) I was left with a big hole. Not sure how to take care of it and get it to close. But at least it’s out and no more annoyance or pain. It was only painful when I picked at it.

  87. Many thanks Lachlan and everyone for all the information. my husband has one on his back at the first stage picture. He is due to have it removed in late June but I will get the cream now and see what happens. At the moment have just used a warm flannel as it has been weeping and then dabbed with top. Good luck everyone maz

  88. Just had a very similar one on my back drained by my dermatologist. It’s been three days and it’s still oozing but feels great now.

  89. I’ve had a small bump on my back, right under my bra strap for several years. A dermatologist told me during a skin cancer screening that as long as it stayed the same, didn’t hurt (which it didn’t) and didn’t change to not worry about it. She could remove it but she’d then have to send it for biopsy and I opted to just leave it to avoid all the terrible lab bills. Forward to 4 years later and suddenly I had tenderness in the area that I first thought was just a stiff muscle from sleeping wrong. Within another day or 2 it became obvious that that long dormant ‘bump’ had become infected. It became quite unbearable, about the size of a quarter with a black head on it. I did my own research on it and read about colloidal silver first aid gel. I had resigned to calling a Dr on Monday, because of course this thing became terrible on a Friday night. I first applied a very warm damp washrag to it several times and then put some of this colloidal silver gel on a bandaid, applied the bandaid over this angry cyst and then covered that with a large bandage to keep it in place. Went to bed, the next morning there was less pain and the swelling had gone down some. I removed the bandages and darned if this thing hadn’t drained some, there was some muck on the bandaid. I repeated the procedure and that’s where I am right now. But this thing is noticeably better. I probably saved myself a couple hundred dollars too because now I won’t be making a Dr appt. These things always seem to just come back anyway after going dormant for awhile, or even after lancing and draining at the Dr’s. Now I know how to handle this thing on my own. And yes I have health insurance which costs my an obscene amount out of my paychecks but with a $2,000 deductible I’d have had to pay out of pocket anyway for any procedures.

  90. Amazing how common these cysts are! Husband has had one on his back for over 20 years, it has been addressed surgically 4 times and still keeps recurring. An odd stain on the bedsheets was the first clue it was back again and draining. I asked him if he had had any indication it was there again and he said it was itchy, he scratched the scar (just like all the other times) and he must have broken it open before bed. Oddly enough this time it’s not really swollen, but pressing on it expressed about a tablespoon of ‘gunk’. Due to the stiffness/solidity of the scar It seems to be swollen to the inside this time and is running in a half-circle shape along one side of the suture line scar that was left from the last few surgeries he’s had to get rid of the thing. I’m guessing he’ll never be done with these things we’ve seen 4 different surgeons and gone through all sorts of procedures/antibiotics and we’re still addressing the problem. Funny, every single one said they removed the casing and every one of them said it shouldn’t re-occur because they did. Apparently they can and do return. Very strange to realize how comforting to know we are not alone in trying to deal with this strange human condition! Thanks for posting your experience and a big thanks to everyone else for sharing theirs too!

  91. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way Ill be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly. akdeekgkkekdagac

  92. I read your article the cyst on my chest I think it is infected it hurts like a b**** and there’s a massive hole in it I think you should have went to the doctor you could have died it could have been Mercer or something like that

  93. Suffering with this now, it’s very painful…I’m going to check the pharmacy for the cream you used and pray it works or that they even carry it. With no insurance, I’d like to resolve this at home if possible. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you!

  94. Thanks for sharing, I left a comment that I would try the ichthammol ointment and it worked fabulously!! Thank you so much!!

  95. Did you lancet it before starting to apply the cream

  96. Well thanks everyone for all your information and stories! I just developed a sebaceous cyst on my chest that got infected. It was drained but obviously not fully as it is two days later beginning to be painful again. I’ve been giving it warm soaks, apply bacitracin on it but No resolve. One doctor thought I should go on antibiotics, The dermatologist disagreed. But meanwhile it’s getting bad again. Any suggestions?

  97. First, I send love to all of you who have suffered the unfair pain of a sebaceous cyst. I too am a club member. Heck, I may be the president. Only one person made the suggestion of seeing an acupuncturist to find the imbalance. I found that interesting. Many of us have said “why me”. Or, this is unfair. You’ve all read many remedies for the physical. I want to start the dialogue of the psychological.
    Whether you have gone to the doctor or self doctored at home, I understand. I understand the unfairness, self consciousness, and the sadness this can bring. Once again I send you love and a big hug. I want to thank you all for sharing because sharing helps so many others. For those who are experiencing their first cyst it can be a scary adventure and you all have helped their psyche.
    You all are special and loved and part of this club. By having compassion and love for all other sufferers you have awakened yourselves to a higher self. This self can travel anywhere anytime with love and compassion. This makes you a very special person. The physical experience dealing with the cyst has given you humility. Believe me, I know.
    I wish you all the best of luck, just remember, you gained a higher level of compassion through this experience. Going forward know that I love you and will continue to send you all love. Everything will be okay, hang in there, and be generous with the gift of compassion you’ve earned. Sincerely.

  98. I had a skin condition most of my life that was painful boils under my arms, under my breasts, in my groin and my pelvic areas. I searched for years to find out what this was. During this time I would also develop pilodinal cysts on my tailbone that made it impossible to sit or lie on my back and walking was painful. I finally found out the name of the condition and it was Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I tried Ichthammol salve, Hibicleanse, warm compresses, suction with a bottle boiled and contracted as it cooled, puncturing them to get them to drain, etc. I finally healed all of this with my diet. I learned about Eat Right 4 Your Bloodtype. I no longer get the swollen, pus filled golf balls that I used to nor pilodinal cysts, and it also cured my debilitating migraines. I still have hard tracks under my skin especially under my arms that still are mainly unsightly but not like the condition was. I also had a cyst on my middle finger for many years that I resorted to get surgically removed and have not had it come back. I recently developed a large cyst on my butt cheek. It is not painful but just large and ugly. I decided to try the icthammol salve on this to see if it will open it up and drain it so I do not have to get it surgically removed. I hope others that seem to have the painful, widespread cysts might look into Hidradenitis and understand the condition and help them heal. I endured many years of antibiotics and constant pain that never resolved until I figured out the diet effects. I hope that what I have currently is a simple sebaceous cyst that will resolve with the salve.

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