It’s pretty common for people to get tiny bumps, or cysts, under their skin. They can develop on most parts of the body, with some even found in hair follicles. Cysts can develop for many reasons and sometimes for no obvious reason at all, which often leaves us questioning our skincare routine and feeling like we need to hit up a dermatologist. 

Cysts don’t typically need treatment, as they are usually painless and nothing to worry about—that is, unless they become sore or infected, in which case you should definitely seek medical advice. Like, ASAP.

Think you might have a cyst? If so, hello! In this article, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about these little bumps and how you can keep them at bay. So grab your cup of tea and get comfy.


What exactly is a Cyst?

Cysts are small pockets of tissue in the skin that are filled with substances such as pus, fluid, and air. They can occur on nearly any part of the body and there are hundreds of different types, affecting people of all ages. The most common ones are  on top of the skin (epidermis). Sometimes they may feel like a strange, or new bump or lump. 

Since cysts tend to vary in size.Small cysts may be detectable only under a microscope and in other cases, they can grow so large that they displace organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule. 

Cysts form through a variety of processes in the body, including: 

  • Tumors

  • Infections

  • Blockages to the flow of fluid, then build up of fluid

  • Chronic inflammatory conditions

  • Defects in developing organs in the embryo

  • Genetic (inherited) conditions

In some cases, you can feel a cyst yourself. For example, cysts of the skin (epidermoid cysts) or tissues beneath the skin are usually pretty noticeable. Just trust yourself. Cysts in the breasts also may be palpable, which just means you can feel lumps when you examine the area with your fingers. Cysts on your internal organs such as the liver or kidneys (often pseudocysts), however, may not produce any symptoms at all, making them a little more challenging to detect. 


Types of Cysts

Did you know that there are literally hundreds of different types of cysts? Cysts occur commonly in numerous organs and tissues and are often named according to their particular anatomic location. For example, if you have a cyst on your ovary, you have an ovarian cyst

Here are some of the most common types of cysts:

Acne cysts

You get acne when dead skin and sebum clog a pore. This often results in a small growth or what we all know as simply a pimple. Pimples usually go away on their own or with top-notch over-the-counter drugs. But if your zit is more serious or gets very irritated, you might get a larger, squishy growth known as an acne cyst. It’s okay though, it happens.


Baker’s cysts

A soft, fluid-filled lump can form behind your knee if you injure the joint because of a torn ligament, inflammation, arthritis, or other causes. You might mistake this type of cyst for a blood clot.


Bartholin’s cyst

The teenyBartholin glands are located deep under the skin on either side of the vaginal opening. If something happens to block a duct in one of these glands, it automatically will fill with mucus, causing it to get bigger. It could even become infected and form a sore called an abscess. (Whew!)


Breast cyst

You might notice one or more small, smooth lumps on your breast, but you can’t always feel them. They may be a bit painful in the days just before your menstrual cycle comes or when you drink a little too much caffeine. (Yes, there unfortunately is a thing as too much caffeine *sigh*) They’re very common and more likely right before menopause or afterward, especially if you take replacement hormones. 


Urachal cyst

In the womb, a tiny tot’s bladder connects to its belly button through a channel known as the urachus in the abdominal wall gut. If it doesn’t close by the time the baby is born, a small lump of tissue and fluid -- aka a cyst -- can grow there. If it gets infected, the baby could have belly button pain, fever, and bloody urine. 


Sebaceous cyst

When a sebaceous cyst occurs, something blocks a gland around a hair or irritates the follicle, often on your ear, head, face, trunk, or groin, causing a bump to grow slowly beneath the skin's surface. It’s usually soft enough to move when you touch it and doesn’t hurt, but you might notice a smell. 


Pilonidal cyst

When a loose hair gets pushed back into the skin, your body naturally sees it as a threat and builds a little pocket of fluid around it. Thanks, body. With a pilonidal cyst, you might notice some irritation at the base of your spine in the crease where your bootybegins. If it gets inflamed and infected, it can become very painful and, in many cases, needs to get removed. 


Ganglion cyst

A ganglion cyst is a lump filled with liquid, most often near tendons or joints on your fingers or wrist. Joint or tendon stress might cause it, but experts are still not totally sure. Either way, relax yourself angel! 

This cyst may hurt and sometimes change in size. 



Eggs from a pork tapeworm -- a parasite -- can pass into your drink or food contaminated with poop. Yikes! They then hatch in your gut and send small round “oncospheres” through your blood to the liver, muscles, brain, and other organs, where they form cysts. This is known as cysticercosis. 


Mucous cyst

 A mucous cyst,  a fluid-filled lump that forms on the lip or around the mouth when the salivary glands become clogged with mucus. These cysts are pretty common and are caused by lip or cheek biting, lip piercings, rupture of the salivary gland and/or poor dental hygiene. 


How to Treat Cysts

By now, you know exactly what a cyst is and understand that there are many different types of cysts, but what is the best treatment to get rid of ‘em? 

Well, the treatment really depends on the underlying cause of the cyst and whether or not the cyst is causing issues. Many cysts are benign (not cancerous) and require no medical treatment at all. However, large cysts tend to result in symptoms due to compression of normal tissue and obstruction of ducts. Most of these cysts can be treated by simply draining them, thereby collapsing the cyst, but others need to be seen by a healthcare provider, possibly for surgical removal, especially if there is any suspicion of malignancy (cancerous, especially skin cancer). 


Are There Any Home Remedies For Cysts?

As tempting as it may be, self-treatment by popping or squeezing a cyst (or any pus-filled lesion) is never advised because it could exacerbate the underlying cause in some people. Additionally, it may also cause the cyst to enlarge or become infected, making it a million times worse. Just chill.


Well, Is It Possible to Prevent a Cyst?

The short answer? For the most part, nope. However, if an underlying cause of a cyst is prevented, then the resultant cyst may also be prevented. 

Take acne cysts, for example. These red bumps can result from a combination of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells that get trapped in your pores, not to mention skin conditions that induce acne. 

So, to prevent an acne cyst from occurring, your skincare routine is of the utmost importance! Washing your face with only the best products  can do wonders for your skin, keeping bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells at bay, which helps prevent acne cysts from ever occurring in the first place. 


Bottom Line

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in tissues in any part of your body. They're relatively common, and there are many different types. Tumors, parasites, injuries, and infections can all cause a cyst. 

If you have a cyst, don’t panic! Most of them are noncancerous and tend to go away over time without ever needing to be seen by a healthcare professional. However, if you’re worried and experiencing pain, you should check in with your doc right away. 

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so taking care of it is of the utmost importance. Use science-backed and dermatologist approved products like the ones at Topicals to help combat oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, which could ultimately result in a cyst. 

With scientifically-proven ingredients, formulated by experts and made for every shade, Topicals is the ultimate tool for your already beautiful skin.