Cysts are extremely common and can appear anywhere on the body. They are a lump filled with fluid under the skin, and whilst they aren’t harmful (in most cases), many people choose to have them removed. Cyst removal should be done by a medical professional. However, some people are attempting the removal at home, and this is quite dangerous.
Following a staggering 600% increase in interest for the term ‘home cyst removal’ in the past 12 months¹, our team of skin specialists reveals the five biggest dangers of at-home cyst removal:
It may not be a cyst
There are many types of cysts, and they can often be confused with boils or skin abscesses. With this in mind, a cyst will usually be sent off for tests to check for any abnormalities. If you’re attempting to remove something on your skin at home by yourself and it’s not a cyst, you will worsen the situation.
Cysts can be mistaken for other skin abnormalities, especially as they grow over time. They can start very small, however, they can grow over time to become a few centimetres wide. If you’re concerned about a lump, we would always recommend seeking an expert opinion from a medical professional.
Can lead to infection and permanent scarring
Popping, bursting or squeezing a cyst with no medical assistance will likely lead to a permanent scar and likely a nasty infection. Some ways to remove a cyst professionally include drainage, fine-needle aspiration, surgery and laparoscopy. Which method is chosen for you will depend on the type of cyst you have. You will have a small scar after having your cyst removed professionally, however, the process will be safe.
When being removed, the entire sac of fluid must be taken. Therefore, if you attempt to remove a cyst at home, this increases the risk of some fluid being left in the area, and the cyst returning. If the cyst becomes infected, it can become sore, red and filled with pus.
The cyst will grow back
Common cysts such as epidermoid and sebaceous cysts are inclusion cysts, which means they have a capsule around them. The whole capsule needs to be removed to keep the cyst from reappearing, which requires a specialist in cyst removal.
Not only will attempting to remove a cyst at home have a high chance of infection, but it’s also unlikely that the whole cyst will be removed. If the cyst is not completely removed, fluid will be leftover. When the cyst grows back from pre-existing fluid, it tends to come back with a thicker cell wall, making it even harder to remove later.
Risk of spreading infection
If a cyst becomes infected, it will often become red due to inflammation, and it can also cause a lot of discomfort. Other signs of an infected cyst include a white appearance due to the presence of pus.
Instead of attempting to remove the cyst at home and spreading the infection further, you should arrange to see a specialist skin clinic that will prescribe you antibiotic medication before removing it. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to minimize the discomfort, such as applying a warm compress, cleaning the cyst regularly, and avoiding covering it with cosmetic products.
The cyst may need to be tested
There is always a risk of a lump on your body being something sinister, this is why r specialist skin clinics (like us!) will often have your cyst biopsied when removing it. By removing the cyst at home, you risk the potential for a biopsy. Warning signs of the cyst being cancerous include bleeding or oozing, colour change, fast growth, itching, and looking red or swollen. If any of these symptoms appear with your cyst, you should contact your doctor and have the cyst looked at.
Our advice on cyst removal
Private cyst removal is an essential treatment for clinics to offer. Cysts are extremely common, and whilst the majority are benign, this may not always be the case and should be treated accordingly. This is not possible to do at home.
We strongly discourage any attempt of home removal of a cyst, as well as picking or squeezing your cyst, as this can cause infection or permanent scarring and can harm the surrounding skin.
When removing a cyst at Aventus Clinic, we use a local anesthetic to numb the area, reducing as much discomfort as possible, before surgical excision. This method requires making a small incision around the cyst and removing it completely, then stitching the wound. We arrange a check-up for 10-14 days after the procedure to have the stitches removed. Whilst a linear scar will remain, it will fade with time.