Cysts are harmless pockets of skin that develop most commonly on the back, neck, or scalp.

What are cysts?

Cysts are harmless pockets of skin that develop most commonly on the back, neck, or scalp. They feel like small round growths under the skin. These growths often have a pore that opens to the surface, and if squeezed, a white cheesy material may be expressed.

What causes skin cysts?

Epidermoid and sebaceous are two types of cysts that commonly develop underneath the skin. Both usually appear as whitish-yellow or flesh-colored smooth lumps. An epidermoid cyst will form when surface skin cells go deeper into the skin and multiply. These skin cells will create a wall and secrete keratin (a soft, yellowish substance), which fills the newly formed cyst. Sebaceous cysts form inside glands that secrete sebum (an oily substance). If normal gland secretions become trapped, a pouch with a thick, cheese-like substance will develop.

What are the symptoms?

Cysts can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the type and its location. A skin cyst is typically painless and grows slowly. Although they are usually small, they can grow to the size of golf balls. If your skin cyst ruptures or becomes inflamed, you may experience pain. Additional symptoms include tenderness, swelling, and redness.

How are cysts treated?

Treatment is only necessary if the cyst becomes inflamed and painful, or is growing rapidly. A problematic cyst may be drained or excised. The whole capsule of the cyst can be removed to prevent re-growth, but it will leave a small scar.

Your need for treatment and the type of treatment will depend on the type of cyst, your symptoms, and the location of the cyst. For an inflamed or large cyst, the providers at Boise Dermatology & Medspa may recommend draining it. Skin cysts often have a surrounding capsule that also needs to be removed to prevent the cyst from returning.

Request an appointment in Meridian, Idaho

If you think you have an inflamed skin cyst, schedule an appointment at Boise Dermatology & Medspa today. We will assess your skin and determine if treatment is necessary. If your cyst needs to be drained or surgically removed, the procedure can be done in our office. Request your appointment online or give us a call at (208) 888-0660.


We're happy to answer any questions you may have, feel free to call us at
(208) 888-0660