There are many types of cysts, which are generally benign growths with a lining that forms under the skin. A cyst may be soft, hard, pigmented, or growing. It may be caused by clogged oil glands or hair follicles, acne, or infection. No matter the cause or type of cyst, you might find that it is painful or irritating, especially if the cyst forms in a sensitive area. At Arlington Dermatology, your dermatologist can quickly identify the type and cause of the cyst and create an effective, customized treatment plan.

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What Causes Cysts?

There are several common causes of cysts. You may develop a cyst because of:

  • Clogged oil glands or hair follicles
  • Infection 
  • Foreign bodies (such as entrapped hairs) 
  • Acne

What Types of Cysts Are There?

Some types of cysts included:

  • Epidermal inclusion cysts, caused by clogged sebaceous glands/hair follicles
  • Pilar cysts, firm bumps under the skin typically found on the scalp
  • Pilomatricoma, small hard bumps below the skin
  • Ganglion cysts, a swollen bump found on a tendon, usually on the hands or wrists
  • Dermoid cysts, which are usually present at birth
  • Cystic acne, a more severe type of acne

How Can I Prevent Cysts?

Because most preventable cysts form due to clogged oil glands or hair follicles, an appropriate hygiene and skincare routine can help you to prevent cysts. This may include an exfoliating routine, using a recommended cleanser, or acne treatment. Your dermatologist will recommend at-home skincare that is suited to your skin type and can help you prevent cysts from forming. 

Why Treat Cysts?

Cysts can continue to grow if left untreated or cause uncomfortable symptoms at any size. You may want to treat a cyst because it is:

  • Large or growing
  • Infected
  • In a sensitive area
  • Painful 
  • Draining 
I feel so fortunate to have found Arlington Dermatology! My entire experience from booking — check-out was easy. The practice is sparkling inside and Dr. Livingood was incredibly thorough and friendly. He made it easy to understand each step of my appointment and all of the communication I received before and after was helpful and clear. Highly recommend!
Katelyn M.

How Can I Treat Cysts?

Depending on the type of cyst you have, your dermatologist may recommend one of several different treatment options. The most common include:

  • Draining the cyst (lancing) 
  • Cortisone injections 
  • Surgically removing the cyst

Schedule an Appointment 

If you have a painful, irritating, or growing cyst, do not delay treatment. Our board-certified dermatologists can help treat your cyst through an effective yet simple solution that is best suited to you. 

To schedule an appointment at Arlington Dermatology, please call our office or request an appointment online. 


What is inside a cyst?

A cyst may contain fluid, air or debris such as dead skin cells.

Can a dermatologist remove a cyst?

Dermatologists can deflate cysts by draining (lancing) but that is not permanent. Surgery in which the cyst lining is removed is required for complete removal of a cyst.

Can a cyst be hard?

Some types of cysts may be hard. This usually occurs when a cyst has ruptured and scar has formed.

Can you pop a cyst?

It is not advisable to pop a cyst or otherwise try to remove it at home. This can increase the risk of infection.

Do skin cysts go away?

Some cysts will shrink to being imperceptible without treatment.

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