What is a cyst?

Cysts are abnormal, fluid-filled sacs that can develop in tissues in any part of the body. They are relatively common, and there are many different types. The most common type is an epidermoid cyst, which grows right under the skin.

The only way you can remove this evil is through medical intervention.

Netherveless, you can also try home remedies for your epidermoid cyst. These may help shrink it, reduce its appearance, or alleviate discomfort.

Good to know

Before discussing home remedies, it’s necessary to go over a few important details:

  • You should never try to remove or pop a cyst at home. This increases the chances of infection. Popping also doesn’t guarantee a cyst will go away permanently.
  • None of the remedies in this article is known or proven to remove cysts completely. However, science suggests they may help in indirect ways.
  • Even if they’re not yet proven to work, trying these remedies poses few risks if used correctly.

Remember: If your cyst isn’t causing you problems, you don’t necessarily always need to remove it.

Talk with your doctor if the cyst:

  • bothers you aesthetically
  • gets infected
  • causes pain
  • grows rapidly in size

1. Hot compress: Home Remedies for Cysts

Simple heat is the most recommended and effective home measure for draining or shrinking cysts.

Here’s how it works: Heat may reduce the thickness of liquid in the cyst. In the case of liquid-filled epidermoid cysts, this may help fluid drain quicker into the lymphatic system. This system helps maintain fluid balance in the body and plays a role in protection against infection.

Keep in mind

Though this remedy is widely recommended by doctors and reputable sources, there are still no studies testing or showing that it’s effective. There’s also no research supporting the science of how it works.

 using direction

  1. Heat clean water to a warm or hot temperature, not boiling.
  2. Wait for the water to cool to a tolerable, but hot, temperature for skin contact.
  3. Dampen a clean cloth with the water and apply to the cyst for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat a few times each day.

2. Tea tree oil: Home Remedies for Cysts

Essential oil from the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) may help some cysts, albeit in an indirect way.

Research shows tea tree oil has antimicrobial activity. This means it kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens, though it’s not as strong or effective as synthetic compounds.

Some cysts are caused by ingrown hairs. These form when hair follicles don’t grow properly, leading to infection of a sebaceous gland. This creates a pus pocket that may become a cyst, referred to as a sebaceous cyst.

As an antimicrobial, tea tree oil may help kill bacterial infections caused by ingrown hairs. It may decrease the chances of getting a cyst caused by ingrown hair or reduce its appearance.

Keep in mind

Overall, tea tree oil isn’t a proven cyst remedy. There are still no studies that show it can remove or prevent cysts.

Also, since not all cysts are caused by ingrown hairs, tea tree oil is highly unlikely to help all types of cysts — though trying it is low risk and may help in shrinking the cyst.

  1. Dilute tea tree essential oil in clean, warm, or hot water. The dilution ratio is two to three drops per 1 ounce of water.
  2. Apply the mixture directly to the cyst several times per day with a clean cloth.

You can also combine tea tree oil applications with the above hot water compress remedy. Simply add essential oil to the hot water in the proper dilution ratio.

Avoid applying undiluted tea tree essential oil directly to the cyst or skin. This may cause discomfort, irritation, or burns. Always dilute the oil before topical use.

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3. Apple cider vinegar: Home Remedies for Cysts

Apple cider vinegar is another recommended natural remedy. It may help with cysts to a limited extent.

There are no studies showing apple cider vinegar reduces cysts or removes them.

But, like tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar is shown to be antimicrobial at full strength. This is thanks to the acetic acid. It might not be as effective at lower strengths against some types of microbes, but it’s still important to dilute it before applying it to your skin.

Keep in mind

Apple cider vinegar may be effective for certain kinds of cysts, such as those caused by bacteria, but there’s no guarantee. It may still be worth a try since there are very few health risks.

 using direction

  1. Mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Apply this dilution directly to the cyst several times per day.

You can combine apple cider vinegar applications with the hot water compress home remedy. Simply add the apple cider vinegar to the hot water in the proper dilution ratio.

Never apply undiluted apple cider vinegar directly to the skin. Acetic acids may cause discomfort, irritation, or burns.

4. Aloe vera: Home Remedies for Cysts

Research shows that aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Both may help with pain and irritation in cysts.

Aloe vera may also help reduce the appearance or get rid of certain cysts caused by bacteria or other pathogens.

Keep in mind

In studies, aloe vera hasn’t been shown to reliably remove, drain, or reduce the appearance of cysts. It could be helpful for discomfort and pain, though more research is needed to fully support this.

 using direction

Following label directions, apply a pure aloe vera gel, cream, or lotion directly to an irritated or painful cyst as often as needed.

Only source aloe products from reputable and trustworthy companies. It’s best to look at the ingredients list to be sure you’re getting pure aloe.

5. Castor oil: Home Remedies for Cysts

Oil from the castor plant (Ricinus communis) may help cysts in the same vein as apple cider vinegar or tea tree.

Research shows castor oil is antimicrobial. It’s notably effective at killing bacteria that live in the skin, which can cause acne and cysts.

Keep in mind

Castor oil isn’t a proven cure for cysts, nor is it shown to reduce their appearance.

It’s also unlikely to help all types of cysts, only the types caused by bacteria though there’s no guarantee it helps with those types either.

 using direction

Make sure to source a 100 per cent pure castor oil product. Only purchase products from trustworthy companies with good reputations.

  1. Put one drop of castor oil on your finger and apply it to the cyst.
  2. Apply more if needed, as often as needed. A few times each day is recommended.

Avoid ingesting castor oil if you’re pregnant or allergic to the substance. Also, be aware that it can cause diarrhoea if consumed.

6. Witch hazel: Home Remedies for Cysts

Witch hazel is a common topical wash for acne. Research indicates it may help acne due to its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.

These properties could also benefit epidermoid cysts. Witch hazel’s astringent tannins may help shrink them, while anti-inflammatory effects could ease the pain.

Keep in mind

There are still no direct studies showing that witch hazel can treat cysts. It’s unlikely that it helps to remove them, though it may ease discomfort.

 using direction

  1. Dab a cotton ball with witch hazel.
  2. Apply to the cyst area.
  3. Repeat a few times per day or as often as you’d like.

People with sensitive skin may have reactions to witch hazel, but this can be avoided by diluting witch hazel with water.

7. Honey: Home Remedies for Cysts

Some recommend honey for cyst management, though research on this is scarce. However, a 2017 review of trusted Sources of studies indicated it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Keep in mind

There’s not enough research to call honey a cyst treatment or remover. Using it may help with discomfort as well as cysts caused by bacteria.

 using direction

One method is to create a poultice by mixing honey, preferably raw and all-natural, with other antimicrobial herbs and ingredients. You then apply the mixture to the cyst and leave it on overnight.

Alternatively, try this simpler technique:

  1. Put a dab of pure honey on the cyst site.
  2. Leave the honey on the cyst for a few hours, as a longer amount of time may help it to be more effective.
  3. Wash the honey away, and apply more as often as you would like.

8. Turmeric: Home Remedies for Cysts

While turmeric alone won’t get rid of a cyst, the spice has well-known anti-inflammatory properties that may help with the healing process.

Keep in mind

Turmeric isn’t a cure for cysts. There’s also no guarantee that it’ll prevent or reduce swelling. And it might not help at all with certain types of cysts.

 using direction

If possible, use fresh turmeric powder.

  1. Mix turmeric with water to create a paste.
  2. Apply it to the cyst as needed.

A word of caution: Turmeric may cause skin reactions in some people. Before applying it directly to your cyst, patch test it on another small area of skin.

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Can you prevent a cyst from forming?

You can’t prevent a cyst from forming, but you can prevent one from getting infected. The best way to do this is to avoid:

  • squeezing it
  • popping it
  • poking it with anything
  • cutting it open

Can cysts go away on their own?: Home Remedies for Cysts

It depends on the type of cyst. However, most epidermoid cysts go away on their own and don’t require a doctor’s visit.

The bottom line

Some home remedies can help with certain aspects of cysts, or specific types. Hot water compresses are most recommended by reputable sources.

Before using topical natural remedies, do a skin patch test: Apply a small amount to your forearm, and then wait for 24 hours to see if you have an allergic reaction. Though these are rare, they could happen.

If a home remedy causes discomfort, irritation, or other unusual symptoms, discontinue use immediately. Talk with your doctor instead about cyst treatment. You can also book an appointment with a specialist.


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Review and edited by Oluwaferanmi DJIMA on 15/03/22



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