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Skin Cyst

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Last updated May 9, 2024

Skin cyst quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your skin cyst.

What is a skin cyst?

A skin cyst is a small sac or lump that’s filled with fluid, air, fat, or other material like keratin. A skin cyst can grow anywhere on the body, just beneath the skin. Most skin cysts are epidermal inclusion cysts, which contain keratin and have a pore in the center.

When cysts become infected or inflamed they become painful, red, and may ooze pus.

A skin cyst feels like a firm ball under the surface of your skin. Sometimes you’ll see an opening on top of the cyst that may be filled with pus or keratin (a white cheese-like material).


  • Skin-colored, marble to golf ball-sized bump with or without a central opening (pore)
  • May have oozing of keratin (a white cheese-like material) from the center
  • When inflamed or infected, it becomes red and painful


A small cyst does not require treatment. But if it bothers you or interferes with movement, a dermatologist can cut it out by doing a simple surgical procedure called an excision. Don’t try to “pop” a cyst yourself, since it can become inflamed or infected.

If the cyst becomes infected, you should see your doctor. The treatment for an infected cyst is cutting open the cyst and draining the pus. You may also need to take antibiotics.

Here are some over-the-counter treatment suggestions that might help:

  • Antibacterial Soap: Keeping the skin clean around a cyst can prevent infection. An antibacterial soap can help maintain hygiene.
  • Pain Relievers: If the cyst is causing discomfort, OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen can help manage pain and reduce swelling.

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The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
BonoloPosted May 13, 2024 by B.
I have a bump in my lower armpit, it has no colour and i have had it for almost 3 weeks . When it startedi only felt pain under my armpit but now the rest of my arm is also painful
Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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