Apply a warm compress. Soak a clean washcloth, cotton pad, or sponge in warm water and apply it directly to the cyst. Keep it on the area until the cloth or pad cools down. Repeat this action several times each day until the cyst goes away.
- The heat thins out the liquid inside of the cyst, which ultimately causes the cyst to shrink and heal faster.
- The water should be very warm but not hot enough to cause burns. You should barely feel any discomfort when you touch the water with your bare skin.
- You can also make a warm compress by placing a wet cloth in a plastic bag and heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Test the cloth to make sure it isn’t too hot before you put it on your arm.
Consider adding Epsom salt to your compress. You can also mix 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of Epsom salt into every 2 cups (500 ml) of warm water used for your compress. The salt can speed up the healing process.
- However, using too much can also cause your skin to dry out, so you should only apply an Epsom salt compress once or twice a day.
Clean the area with soap and water. Use warm water and a gentle, fragrance-free soap that will not dry out or irritate your skin. It is important to have the area clean, especially if the cyst has opened up and dirt and bacteria can get inside of it.
- It may be necessary for you to get someone to help you clean the area if it is right in the middle of your back. If you can’t get someone to help you, try gently applying the soap with a shower brush and rinsing the area off in the shower.
Put topical first aid creams on the cyst. If your cyst continues to be sensitive, you may need to apply products to it to reduce the inflammation. Look for creams that are designed to draw the cyst to the surface, such as Boil-Ease. Some people may also find products such as anti-fungal cream or even hemorrhoid cream helpful. Regardless of which topical cream you try, you should apply a small amount directly over the cyst and cover the area with a clean band-aid. Remove the band-aid the following day and apply additional cream if necessary.
- Be sure to follow the directions included with your cream.
- If you have any questions about the application of your cream, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Avoid irritating the area further. If you have a cyst that is painful, it is a good idea to cover it with a band-aid when it is at risk of being irritated from rubbing against your clothes. However, cover it lightly and be sure to take off the band-aid when it is no longer at risk of being bumped or rubbed so that the cyst can breathe.
- For instance, try wearing a band-aid over the cyst during the day but taking it off when you get home and can have the area exposed to the air.
Ask your doctor for treatments that will give immediate relief. If your cyst is severely infected or you need to shrink the cyst on your back quickly, you can schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. For a quick and effective treatment, they may make a small incision to drain the cyst. If the cyst is very inflamed, an injection of cortisone or steroids into the cystic area may provide fast relief.
- Both types of injections should cause the cyst to shrink within hours, and both should also relieve any pain or itching caused by the cyst.
- However, the use of injections may cause the cyst to heal unpredictably, so you might be left with an indentation or scar after the injection takes effect. This result does not happen to everyone, but it is a definite possibility, so keep the risk in mind when considering this option.
Have your doctor drain the cyst. Depending on size and position of the cyst, your dermatologist may recommend draining it with a needle or a small incision. This is an inpatient procedure that can be done quickly in a doctor’s office.
- During the procedure, your doctor will usually numb the area before inserting a needle or small, sharp blade directly into the cyst. The pus and other fluids inside the cyst are then drained through the incision, causing the cyst to collapse in the process.
- The doctor may apply a little pressure to the area to help the pus and other fluids drain out, and to gently squeeze out the core of hardened pus at the center of the cyst.
- When done carefully, this procedure does not typically cause any major scarring or pain.
Ask about standard excision surgeries. Surgical removal is usually best when you have a cyst on your back that returns time and time again. Standard excision surgeries are usually relied on for most cyst removals. They can be done with a wide or small excision, depending on your cyst.
- Conventional wide excision surgery removes the cyst completely, so it is especially worthwhile if the cyst is suspected to be malignant or if it has caused other health problems.
- Minimal excision surgery uses a smaller excision to extract the cyst, and as a result, the scarring is much lighter and more likely to heal completely. It is not as effective as wide excision surgery, however, so there is some risk that the cyst will still return.
- Even with minimal excision surgery, the incision must be a little bigger than the cyst and will need to be closed with 1 or 2 sutures. This procedure is likely to leave a small scar.
Consider getting laser-enhanced surgery. Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may recommend the use of a laser with a punch biopsy excision. During the procedure, the doctor will use a laser to make a small hole in the cyst. The contents of the cyst are then drained, leaving the outer walls to collapse naturally.
- Roughly 1 month later, the drained outer walls are surgically cut and removed.
- This procedure takes longer to heal overall, but it leaves minimal scarring and usually prevents the cyst from returning.
Follow all aftercare instructions carefully. After removing the cyst on your back, your dermatologist should recommend some form of aftercare treatment. This will be designed to minimize scarring and complete the healing process. Most aftercare treatment involves the use of an antibiotic ointment. This ointment should be applied to the affected area as directed, and you should continue using it until the area completely heals.
- Aftercare treatment is especially important when a cyst is removed surgically.
- Some dermatologists may also prescribe a scar cream to lighten and minimize possible scarring.