What are the symptoms of an infected sebaceous cyst? How do you treat, remove or get rid of an infected sebaceous cyst on back, scalp, neck or armpit? This page provides detailed information on infected sebaceous cyst, treatment including how to get rid with home remedies.
In most cases, a sebaceous cyst is used to refer to either an epidermoid cyst or a pilar cyst. This two types of cyst contains keratin, not sebum and neither originate from the sebaceous glands. Epidermoid cyst originate from in the epidermis whereas pilar cyst originate from the hair follicles. Since they do not technically originate from the sebaceous glands, technically speaking they are not sebaceous cysts.
True sebaceous cyst, however, originates from the sebaceous glands and contain sebum (an oil secretion of the sebaceous gland that helps keep the skin and the hair follicle soft and moisten). A sebaceous cyst is rare. They are also known as steatocystoma simplex. They are not cancerous and will often form on the face, neck, upper back, and upper chest but can occur on any part of the body.
So can a sebaceous cyst get infected? , you ask. The answer is yes, a sebaceous cyst can get infected especially when popped, drained or scratched with dirty hands. Sebaceous cyst grows slowly and does not cause pain. When infected, they become inflamed with the overlying skin condition becoming red, tender and sore.
Infected Sebaceous Cyst Symptoms
Infection of a sebaceous cyst will often occur on a site that is consistently irritated. It is common to have an infected cyst on your neck that rubs against your collar. A sebaceous cyst in such case becomes infected as a result of the continued contact with bacteria and virus from your hands and clothes. A sebaceous cyst can also become infected due to trauma.
We have seen that true sebaceous cyst arises from the sebaceous glands. When the cyst is formed, they continue to increase in size. This happens as a result of the continued accumulation of dead skin cells, sebum, pus, and bacteria. The continued overgrowth of bacteria in this cyst is what may lead to an infection.
Typical and common signs and symptoms of an infected sebaceous cyst on your body will include the following:
- Redness of the skin around the cyst
- Tenderness of the bump
- The area over the cyst may feel hot
- The cyst may drain fluid with waxy and oily appearance
Most of the symptoms of an infected sebaceous cyst are often mild and can be relieved, cured or treated at home with simple natural remedies. You will, however, need to seek immediate medical attention if you notice the following signs start to show up:
- Increased redness that spread from the infected area or around the infected area
- Severe pain and swelling caused by the cyst
- Abnormally high fever especially in children
- Smelly pus start to drain from the pus
Infected Sebaceous Cyst NHS
NHS defines a sebaceous cyst as a fluid-filled bump lying just underneath the skin. They say that a sebaceous cyst is common and harmless and will often go away without treatment. It can be hard to tell whether a lump is a cyst or something else that might need treatment. As such, NHS recommends you see a general practitioner so that the cyst or lump on the skin can be properly diagnosed.
Most people according to NHS confuse between skin cyst and boil and abscess. The difference between them is that a cyst may develop into a boil or an abscess when infected. Boils and abscess are therefore painful collection of pus that indicates an infection.
NHS describes a cyst as a round, dome-shaped bump. Yellow or whitish in color often with a small dark plug through which one may be able to squeeze out the pus. The bump will often range in size from a smaller pea size bump to a bump few centimeters. The say the cyst is slow growing, does not hurt and will often become tender, sore and red when infected. For other people when an infected sebaceous cyst is drained, it might ooze smelling pus.
Unless infected, a sebaceous cyst should be left to heal on its own, this is because the cyst is usually harmless and will in most cases not bother you. A simple warm compress over the sebaceous cyst could be all you need to reduce swelling and inflammation and also speed up the healing process of a cyst.
You are advised not to pop or attempt to drain the cyst as you may risk spreading the infection to other parts of your body. For an infected sebaceous cyst, oral and topical antibiotics may be used. If the sebaceous cyst becomes too bothersome, you may choose to have it removed. You dermatologist or skin care practitioner may use an anesthetic t numb your skin, make a tiny cut on the side of the cyst and squeeze the cyst out.
Infected Sebaceous Cyst on Back
Cyst occurs on any part of the body. On you back you can develop either a sebaceous cyst or an epidermoid cyst. Though the two are often used interchangeably, the two type of cyst is said to be different. While sebaceous cyst arises from the hair follicles, an epidermoid cyst develops from your skin cells.
A sebaceous cyst will often occur after a hair follicle become swollen. True sebaceous cyst develop from the sebaceous glands, the glands that secrete sebum (an oily substance that lubricates the skin and the hair)
Epidermoid cyst, on the other hand, originates from the skin. To be specific, this kind of cyst from the epidermis, the layer of the skin that consist thin layer of cells. Normally your skin will continue to shed this cells. However, when these cells move deeper into the skin instead of shedding off, they can multiply leading to the formation of a cyst- epidermoid cyst.
An epidermoid cyst and sebaceous cyst forming on your back can be hereditary at times. For example, Steatocystoma multiplex is a rare inherited disorder in which multiple sebaceous cyst forms. Most skin cysts are slow growing, as such, a cyst on the back can remain small for years or they could keep growing large. Unless caused by an underlying medical condition, a sebaceous cyst on the back will require no treatment as most will disappear on their own.
Infected Sebaceous Cyst on Scalp
Infected sebaceous cyst on the scalp can be painful and cause a lot of discomforts. Your scalp is the part of the skin on the skull, deeply attached to the skull. Sebaceous cyst on scalp develops in the hair shafts found on the scalp.
Unlike other parts of the head skin, the scalp has five different layers of unique facial skin. When a sebaceous cyst on the scalp is infected, it becomes red, tender and painful. An infected cyst on scalp should be treated as fast as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body.
The best way to treat an infected sebaceous cyst on the scalp is by draining it out. Makes sure to observe good wound care after you have drained the wound. Have a dermatologist examine the extent of the infection and perform the procedure. To drain a sebaceous cyst on the scalp, a small incision is made on the side of cyst then the cyst is squeezed out.
The wound formed after draining a cyst will take around two weeks to heal. You need to keep it clean and free from dirt to prevent the infection from sneaking back. Use a mild soap and warm water to always keep the wound clean.
Infected Sebaceous Cyst Armpit
Armpits are one of the most common sites, sebaceous cysts occur on. In most cases, a sebaceous cyst in the armpit can be small or large and noticeable. The cyst will often form on, around or near the armpits. Just like on other parts of your body, an infected sebaceous cyst on armpits occurs when an oil producing gland becomes blocked.
The blocked gland will then leave a hollow sac that gets filled with a sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Continued accumulation of bacteria and the other substances is what leads to the formation of a painful, red and tender lump in your armpit.
In armpits, an infected sebaceous cyst can grow into a boil or an abscess is urgent medical attention is not taken. An infected cyst under armpit may:
- Form into a boil or abscess
- Burst under skin as a result of continued friction and irritation
- Bleed or ooze foul-smelling pus
- Feel very painful
- Cause fever or abnormal temperature especially in children
Infected Sebaceous Cyst Pictures
An infected sebaceous cyst will vary in size and color. The cyst will also often develop on different parts of the body. Here are some images, pictures or how an infected sebaceous cyst looks like.
Infected Sebaceous Cyst Treatment
Even though most sebaceous cysts are considered harmless, an infected sebaceous cyst on any part of the body should be treated as soon as possible. An infected sebaceous cyst is often large, tender and painful.
Treatment for an infected sebaceous cyst will often vary depending on the extent of the infection. Removing an infected sebaceous cyst is considered the best way to treat this kind of cyst. By removing an infected sebaceous cyst, you minimize the risk of spreading the infection to other parts of the body.
Other treatment options available to treat an infected sebaceous cyst will include the following:
1. Using oral or topical antibiotics
The choice between whether to use oral antibiotics or topical gels and creams to treat an infected sebaceous cyst depend on the extent of the infection. For a case of bacterial infection, a cyst cannot be removed until the infection treated.
Antibiotics such as penicillin, Amoxil or any other oral antibiotic may be prescribed to try and get rid of the infection. Only infected sebaceous cyst can be treated with antibiotics. For inflamed sebaceous cyst (those that appear as red, dome-shaped lesions that are tender to touch). The inflammation of a sebaceous cyst occurs when the cyst ruptures, only the cyst cavity becomes red.
In most cases, both topical and oral antibiotics may be used.
Corticosteroid injection and cream are used to treat an inflamed and infected sebaceous cyst. A common corticosteroid injection your dermatologist might prescribe for the inflammation if triamcinolone.
Apart from corticosteroid injection, you doctor might also prescribe topical corticosteroid creams to try and get rid of the inflammation on an infected sebaceous cyst.
3. Draining the cyst
An infected cyst is often filled with a lot of substances. This would include sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Draining an infected sebaceous cyst involves removing the pus, dead skin cells and other content of the cyst.
Draining an infected sebaceous cyst can be very painful and when not done correctly could leave your skin with scars. To drain an infected sebaceous cyst at home, start by applying a warm compress around the cyst. This will help reduce the pain and make draining less painful.
Use sterilized equipment and avoid sharing them. If you are draining it for another person, please wear protective gloves. Keep the resulting wound clean and avoid leaving it open and exposed.
Infected Sebaceous Cyst Removal
Removing an infected sebaceous cyst is considered the best way to treat an infected sebaceous cyst. A surgical procedure is often prescribed in case of large, painful infected sebaceous cysts. Depending on what the underlying cause and extent of the infection, small, pea sized infected sebaceous cyst may be left to heal on their own or other options of treatment may be recommended.
Surgical excision of an infected sebaceous cyst is done at the doctor’s office. Most doctors and dermatologist will go for the least invasive technique. A minimal excision technique that does not leave the patient with a big scar is often used.
The removal of an infected sebaceous cyst should only be done one the underlying infection has to be identified and treated. That is why you are discouraged from popping or attempting to drain and remove an infected sebaceous cyst at home.
How to Get Rid Of Infected Sebaceous Cyst with Home Remedies
You can also treat an infected sebaceous cyst at home. Getting rid of an infected sebaceous cyst at home will involve the use of natural simple home remedies. Though the remedies may help relieve the pain, get rid of the swelling and inflammation, most of these remedies will not properly treat an underlying infection affecting the sebaceous cyst.
Common home remedies you might use to get rid of an infected sebaceous cyst will include the following:
1. Warm compress to relieve swelling and inflammation
A gentle warm compress can be really helpful in relieving swelling or inflammation caused by an infected sebaceous cyst on different parts of the body. When a warm compress is applied around an infected cyst, it increases the blood flow around that area. Increased blood flow helps speed up the healing process of an infected cyst.
To apply a warm compress:
- Soak a clean face towel in hot water
- Get rid of the excess water by squeezing it but not too much
- Gently hold it on an around the infected sebaceous cyst
- Do this repeatedly 4 to 5 times a day
2. Fresh aloe Vera gel
Of all the natural home remedies used, aloe Vera is the most used to treat different skin infections. Aloe Vera gel contains both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe and get rid of a bacterial infection.
It is easy to use aloe Vera gel, all you need to do is apply the freshly extracted gel on the infected part of the body twice in a day. In most cases, you will need to extract a fresh gel all the time. You can find readily extracted gel from shops around you.
3. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider is the other great home remedy you can use to treat an infected sebaceous cyst. Apple cider is an acidic substance with strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can help fight infection.
When using apple cider, make sure to dilute it first before applying it on your skin. You can then apply the dilute solution on the affected part of your body using a clean cotton ball. Do this twice daily for a week and if the cyst does not seem to improve, have it checked out by your doctor.
4. Tea tree oil
Apart from aloe Vera and apple cider, you could also use tea tree oil to get rid of an infected sebaceous cyst at home. Tea tree oil is especially good for epidermoid cyst and ganglion cyst. This remedy contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial property that can be really helpful in treating an infected sebaceous cyst.
To use tea tree oil to treat an infected sebaceous cyst, you will need to:
- Clean the area around an infected sebaceous cyst
- Dilute the solution of tea tree oil. Use one part tree oil to three part water. If you are using a tablespoon of tree oil, add three tablespoons of water.
- Use a clean cotton ball to apply the dilute solution of tea tree oil on the infected sebaceous cyst.
- Do this repeatedly twice in a day for a week
Sources and reference.
- Infected sebaceous cyst: http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/infected-sebaceous-cyst.html
- Skin cyst: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/skin-cyst/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Causes and symptoms of an infected sebaceous cyst: http://www.treatcurefast.com/cysts/infected-cyst/infected-sebaceous-cyst-back-neck-face-treatment-removal-remedies/
- Epidermoid cysts (sebaceous cysts): http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sebaceous-cysts/basics/complications/con-20031599
- Sebaceous cyst: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebaceous_cyst