Cysts are harmless growths in the deeper layers of the skin. They are small closed sacs containing fluid or solid material composed of dead skin cells. There are many types of cysts of different sizes that appear on various parts of the body. Ruptured cysts can become inflamed (red and painful) and discharge pus. Occasionally cysts become infected and resemble a boil.
Cysts may form when the lining of a hair follicle gets blocked. The cyst sac is filled with a whitish material that can sometimes ooze out onto the skin’s surface (most commonly when the cyst is manipulated or traumatized). It is not known why cysts appear or why some people are more prone to get them than others.
How is a cyst treated?
In most cases, fluid of the cyst can be drained by inserting needles into the cyst cavity, resulting in collapse of the cyst. Some cysts may need to be treated by making a surgical opening in the skin and removing the sac (excision). Cysts may recur and need further treatment. If the cyst is inflamed or infected, antibiotics may be prescribed.