Facial cysts are usually clogs of sebum or keratin in your skin and hair follicles. They usually feel like a small pea caught below the surface of the skin, and they may be ringed by a small red, white area. Although a cyst may look similar to a pimple, it is deeper in the skin and should not be “popped” like a white head. Fortunately, there are other strategies that can help to speed the healing of your cyst, as well as medical strategies that can remove it altogether.
Try using a warm compress. Wet a washcloth with warm water. Don’t use hot water, or it can inflame the skin. Press the washcloth lightly against the cyst and surrounding area. Leave it on until the washcloth becomes cool to the touch. You can repeat twice if the washcloth cooled down too quickly, and you can do this procedure a few times each day.
- The warm compress can help to disperse the protein or oil in the cyst and speed healing; however, it does not work in all cases.
- Using a warm compress on your cyst can cut its lifespan in half.
Do not try to pop or squeeze your cyst by yourself. Trying to pop or squeeze your cyst will likely only make it worse. This is because cysts can penetrate quite deep into the skin, and if you try to do this procedure on your own (without the help of an experienced physician) you are unlikely to do it effectively. Instead, you may worsen inflammation and cause the cyst to come back even worse than it was initially due to incomplete drainage and inadequate healing. Your cyst may also become infected. Therefore, always see a physician for this procedure rather than trying it on your own.
Recognize signs of complications. If your cyst has become infected or inflamed, you will want to see a doctor for guidance regarding treatment. Pay attention and look out for any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Soreness or tenderness around the cyst
- Redness around the cyst
- Warmth on the skin surrounding the cyst
- Grayish-white fluid leaking from the cyst that is often foul-smelling
- Any of these are an indication that your cyst may be infected or inflamed.
- Any cyst in your eye should be examined immediately by a medical professiona
Move on to medical methods if the cyst doesn’t go away on its own in a month. If you experience complications of your cyst, or if it fails to resolve on its own (and especially if is bothering you in terms of pain or cosmetic appearance), do not hesitate to see your doctor. There are many medical options available for the treatment of facial cysts.
Make an appointment with a dermatologist. If your health care coverage requires a referral to see a specialist, you will want to arrange for an appointment with your primary care physician first. Give your doctor an accurate description of your medical history, and explain to him or her the detailed history of your facial cyst.
Inquire about incision and drainage. Because cysts are generally fluid-filled, if your doctor punctures the surface of the cyst, much of the material inside can be drained (i.e. removed), thereby greatly speeding up the healing process. The one downside to this method, however, is that it does not prevent recurrence of the cyst down the road. To the contrary, although this method is extremely effective in the short-term, it frequently leads to recurrence of the cyst later on. However, it is worth a shot and may very well be the cure you are looking for!
- The doctor will pierce the cyst with a sharp object and ensure that all the keratin, sebum or other substances are ejected from the cyst so that it can heal.
- Incision and drainage will require careful cleaning and dressing to avoid infection. Follow your doctor’s instructions after the procedure to maintain good hygiene in the area.
- Never pop open a cyst at home or on your own, as doing it improperly could result in infection and scarring.
Move on to surgical options if your cyst recurs. If you find that you have a persistent cyst, and if you have been unsuccessful at treating it via the other methods, it may be time to consider surgery. Generally, in order to proceed with surgery, your doctor will want little to no inflammation around your cyst. As a result, if your cyst is inflamed, you may need to undergo a corticosteroid injection first to diminish the inflammation prior to surgery.
- You can opt for more mild surgery where just the front wall of the cyst is removed and the rest is left to heal on its own.
- Alternatively, the entire cyst can be removed surgically. This gives the greatest chance of preventing recurrence or any further problems down the road. This procedure will involve sutures for about a week afterwards, at which point you will return to your doctor to have them removed.
- If you are opting for a complete cyst excision, ask your doctor if it is possible to have an incision through the mouth in order to avoid a scar. This is a new surgical technique that is becoming more common, as it is cosmetically preferable.
Follow post-op instructions carefully. After surgery, carefully follow all the surgeon’s directions for optimal healing. Because the cyst was removed from your face, attention to proper healing is key in order to avoid cosmetic concerns down the road. Potential complications of surgery can include scarring, infection, and/or damage to facial muscles.
Ask your doctor about oral antibiotics. These can be an option for people with frequent facial cysts. If you get facial cysts often, your medical provider may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to prevent more cysts from appearing.