Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. Unfortunately, this type of inflammatory cyst is also the most difficult to get rid of on your own.
Most cysts don’t have heads. They’re located deep in your skin around the hair follicles. Sebaceous cysts are a combination of oil (sebum) and bacteria that gets trapped in this area.
This causes the infamous fluid-filled bumps. If irritated, these can become painful. They can also turn red from swelling.
Like other types of acne, you shouldn’t try to squeeze out a cyst in order to “pop” it. But there are things you can do at home that can help work the cyst out from deep in your skin so it comes out on its own.
This process takes time, so be patient as you await the results.
Home remedies for cysts
Acne cysts aren’t dangerous on their own, but they can become infected if you pick at them. Home remedies may help you get rid of the cyst safely without the risk of infection and scarring.
Never squeeze a cyst
While you may want to pop your cyst open, you should never do so by squeezing or picking at it. Most cysts are nearly impossible to squeeze out with your fingers alone.
Plus, you can send bacteria and sebum deep below the hair follicles, causing the materials to spread and make even more cysts. Picking at your skin also increases the risk of scarring.
Instead of squeezing a cyst open, try home remedies that encourage the trapped substance in the clogged pore to exit.
It’s important to keep up with your regular cleansing routine while you’re trying to get rid of a cyst. This means cleansing your face twice a day and bathing daily. You may also consider gently washing the cyst alone up to three times per day.
Also, avoid scrubbing your cyst when you wash your face. This can irritate the area, making it more inflamed. In turn, you also make the cyst more noticeable. Use gentle, circular motions when washing your face, especially if you’re using an exfoliating cleanser.
Once the area surrounding the cyst is clean, apply a warm compress to the area. The warmth and moisture helps encourage the trapped substance to work its way out of the hair follicle without the need for popping the cyst.
You can also use a soft warm, moist washcloth for the same results. In either case, you can use this method up to three times per day for five to ten minutes at a time until the cyst drains.
Ice for inflammation
A sebaceous cyst is usually more bothersome to look at than it is painful. However, these cysts can become inflamed (swollen). You’re especially at risk if you keep picking or scratching at the cyst.
Signs of an inflamed cyst include redness and swelling. The cyst may also grow in size. You can use ice to treat the inflammation in between warm compresses for drainage.
While the warmth helps to get rid of the trapped materials in the hair follicle, ice can help reduce redness and swelling. In turn, the cyst may decrease in size and overall appearance. Ice can also help with any pain that might arise.
Cysts on your back
While you might be most worried about cysts being noticed on your face, this type of acne is commonplace in hard-to-reach areas like your back. Sebaceous cysts can occur anywhere on your body except for the bottom of your hands and feet.
Working a cyst out of your back is a bit more challenging, logistically speaking. You can use the same home treatment methods as for your face. Since it’s hard to see pimples on your back, you need to use extra caution. You also want to avoid scratching at the cyst.
For hard-to-reach areas of your back, consider using a benzoyl peroxide body wash instead. You can also consider getting a back facial from a professional aesthetician or dermatologist. They can help remove the cyst from your back without using harsh chemicals.
Home treatments take time
It can take up to 12 weeks for an acne breakout to clear up. As frustrating as cysts are, patience is critical with home treatments. Simply squeezing a cyst can make it worse, trapping sebum and bacteria further underneath your skin.
If a cyst doesn’t improve with self-treatment after several weeks, it may be time to have your dermatologist take a look at it. Also, some cysts are so deep that they’re impossible to clear up at home.
Your dermatologist may drain the cyst or perhaps prescribe antibiotics or retinoids to help clear up your acne once and for all.
You should also see your doctor if you develop signs of an infection, such as increased redness, pus, and pain. Scars from cystic acne may also be treated by a dermatologist.