Natural Cures for Sebaceous Cysts

Annette McDermott
Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
diagram of a sebaceous cyst

Natural cures for sebaceous cysts include homeopathic remedies, vitamins, herbs and hot compresses. Sebaceous cysts are cysts or lumps that form under the skin. Although they are generally benign and often go away on their own, they can prove annoying and unsightly and, in some cases, become infected so it's important to treat them to avoid complications.

Natural Cures

Natural remedies for sebaceous cysts provide gentle, inexpensive healing options, often helping you avoid an uncomfortable medical procedure. Although these remedies are usually considered safe alternative treatments, they can cause side effects so you should consult your doctor or a naturopath before trying.

  • Moist heat: According to PubMed Health, moist heat such as an unplugged moist heating pad (never use a plugged in heating pad with moisture) or warm cloth compress can be applied to sebaceous cysts to help encourage draining and healing. Avoid using a piping hot heating pad as this can sometimes cause an infection by encouraging bacteria inside the cysts to multiply -- gentle, medium heat for short periods is best. If the cyst doesn't respond to using moist heat, you should consult a doctor.
  • Tea Tree Oil: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) suggests that tea tree oil has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Since many sebaceous cysts become infected with bacteria, applying tea tree oil to the cyst may help prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Aloe Vera: Some naturopaths recommend the gel of this plant as a cure for sebaceous cysts because it's believed to fight bacteria and relieve pain. Medline Plus states that some studies show aloe vera gel to kill bacteria and increase the rate of wound healing.
  • Immunity Boosting Nutrients: A strong immune system helps the body heal sebaceous cysts on its own. Eating antioxidant rich fruits, whole grains, and vegetables -- including berries, citrus fruits, and dark leafy greens -- and taking herbal supplements such as red clover, and burdock root, may help boost immunity and remove toxins from the body.
  • Stay Clean: To help avoid infection, wash the affected area daily with antibacterial soap.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle for Prevention

Following healthy lifestyle guidelines helps keep your body in optimum health to reduce your risk of developing a sebaceous cyst:

  • Get Adequate Rest: Too little sleep weakens the immune system and can lead to many problems. Be sure you are getting adequate rest.
  • Avoid Refined Sugar: The Cleveland Clinic states that the average American eats 22.2 teaspoons of sugar each day. Too much sugar can suppress immune system function and lead to inflammation and disease. To reduce the amount of excess sugar in your diet, avoid sodas, sweetened fruit juices, and processed baked goods, cereals, and snack foods.
  • Reduce Stress: Some natural healers believe stress increases the chance of sebaceous cysts. In fact, the Mayo Clinic states that too much stress alters how the immune system responds and puts you at risk for illness. Learning positive ways to deal with stress may be helpful with this condition as well as many others.

When to See a Doctor

Sebaceous cysts that don't go away on their own may require a doctor's intervention. Consult your physician if any of the following apply:

  • The cyst grows large.
  • The cyst becomes heavy.
  • The cyst is painful.
  • The cyst shows signs of infection such as inflammation and redness, or it becomes hot to the touch.

Infected, large, or painful cysts may require removal by a doctor. This is usually a simple procedure done in the doctor's office with a local anesthetic and usually takes no more time than a typical doctor's appointment. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following steps may be taken when removing a sebaceous cyst:

  1. First, the cyst is incised or excised. Incising the cyst involves a physician making a small cut in the cyst, and excising a cyst involves the surgical removal of the complete cyst or cyst wall.
  2. Next, the doctor will express the contents of the cyst to drain it and the area is cleaned.
  3. In some cases, sutures are required, especially if total excision is performed. Sutures are usually removed within one to two weeks.
  4. Depending on the location and type of cyst you have, a doctor may choose to vaporize it with a laser. This procedure causes minimal scarring.

Rarely do sebaceous cysts or the removal of cysts cause complications. Never attempt to open, squeeze or drain the cyst on your own since this can lead to infection and should only be done in a doctor's office.

Try Natural Remedies First

Fortunately, sebaceous cysts are more annoying than dangerous, and trying natural remedies and lifestyle changes is often all it takes to relieve symptoms. However, keep in mind that a natural cure for sebaceous cysts may not work all the time -- some cysts don't respond to natural cures and require conventional treatment.

If you have a sebaceous cyst and it's not causing you pain or discomfort, try using moist heat, herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies, and/or lifestyle changes before resorting to surgical procedures to see if they resolve your problem.

Natural Cures for Sebaceous Cysts