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It’s everyone’s nightmare: you wake up one morning with a huge, gross, painful bump. What is it? Where did it come from? And most importantly, how can you make it go away forever?

If the lump you see is soft and under the skin, there’s a likelihood that it’s a sebaceous cyst.

These can be small or large, and can cause the surrounding area to feel swollen and tender. The cysts cansometimes lead to pain and discomfort, especially if pressure is put on them.

While they’re annoying and unsightly, the good news about sebaceous cysts is that they’re not harmful to your body and don’t cause long-term damage.

However, as with any other harmless lump or bump, picking, poking, and popping can resultin infections. This in turn can lead to long-term damage, including abscesses and scarring.

So, what should you do if you find one of these irritating little new friends on your body? Many times a sebaceous cyst will clear up on its own, which means you may not have to do anything.

But if the cyst is painful, annoying, or just plain gross, there are measuresyou can take to calm, soothe, and remove it safely at home.

However, if you notice a lump thatchanges shape, color, or size, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

Read on to learn more, and no picking!

Thumbnail Photos: Flickr, 2

What Is A Sebaceous Cyst?


Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Technically, a sebaceous cyst can be one of two things: anepidermoid cystorpilar cyst.

They typically form around hair follicles or areas where the epidermal cells have infiltrated the dermis, such as through surgery or piercings.

The cysts are usually made of fibrous and fatty substances, and can appear anywhere on the body. They’re most commonly found on the scalp, back, face, and upper arms. They can also appear on the genitalia.

Men have a slightly higher chance of getting them as they have more hair follicles, but they can happen to anyone of any age.

So what can you use to get rid of them?

1. Tea Tree Oil


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Apply tea tree oil directly to the cyst two or three times a day.

This strong-smelling oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is great for keeping infections at bay.

It will help combat the infection that’s causing the blockage and swelling, and prevent other nasties from making themselves at home.

If you find that the oil irritates your skin, dilute it with olive or coconut oil.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar


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Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it to the cyst twice a day.

Its astringent properties will help draw out infection and also keep the surrounding skin free of excess oils that can cause other blockages and breakouts.

It also serves as a disinfectantand antifungal, whichkeeps the area clean.

3. Grated Potato


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Grate a small raw potato. You can squeeze the juice from the gratings and apply with a cotton ball, or you can apply the gratings right onto the cyst.

You can also lay a slice of raw potato wrapped with a washcloth, thenleave it on overnight. Repeat every night until the cyst disappears.

Potatoes contain glycoalkaloidsthat are natural anti-inflammatory agents, whichhelp combat swelling and infection.

4. Turmeric


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Mix ground turmeric into a paste with a little water and apply it to the cyst. Let the paste stay there for about an hour, allowing it to dry. Rinse it off.

Turmeric’s active chemical, curcumin, is great for bringing down inflammation. It has also been used inpore-cleansing and blood-purifying remedies for years.

You can also take turmeric internally for your whole body. It’s great in teas,or you can try a teaspoon mixed with some warm milk before bed.

5. Hot Compress


Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

A hot compress is also great for treating cysts.

You can soak a washcloth in hot water (just don’t scald yourself!) and hold it to the affected areas for a while, or until the compress starts to cool off.

The heat from the compress helps the body naturally drain the cyst from the inside by stimulating circulation.

It will also soothe any aching or tender feelings that may be bothering you.

6. Epsom Salt


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An Epsom salt soak solves a variety of ailments, and a cyst is no exception.

Depending on where your cyst is located, fill the bathtub or a bowl with warm water and Epsom salts. Soak the area in the mixture twice a day.

This will help the body drain the cyst and get rid of the bacteria causing the blockage.

7. Garlic


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Peel and grind two or three garlic cloves to make a paste.

Apply the paste to the cyst and wrap with a bandage. Leave the paste on for about half an hour, then remove the bandage and rinse.

Garlic has great antimicrobial properties that can reduce infection and inflammation.

8. Hydrogen Peroxide


Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

A 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution is also a great way to clear up a cyst if smearing yourself with food isn’t your thing.

Soak a cotton ball in the solution and hold it on the cyst for a few minutes. Remove the cotton ball, but don’t rinse the area. Do this two to three times daily.

Hydrogen peroxide is used as an antiseptic on all kinds of skin problems, and it will help reduce the cyst as well.

9. Coconut Oil


Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Simply rub coconut oil onto the cyst and leave it alone, and repeat every few hours until the cyst heals.

While it’s very soothing and perfect for calming irritated or inflamed skin, coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties, meaning that it will keep the skin clean while it soothes.

What If The Cyst Bursts?


Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Yes, it can happen, and yes, it’s less than pleasant! Ideally, you’d like to treat and heal the cyst before it gets to this stage.

If your cyst ruptures, bandage it up and keep it covered to keep infection out. If it looks deep and/or won’t stop oozing, consult a doctor.

To prevent cysts, keep your skin clean and free of germs. Additionally, eat a well-balanced diet to keep your body healthy from the inside out.

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