Cysts are pockets of tissue that can be filled with pus or fluid. They are fairly common on the skin and can appear anywhere. Cysts may feel like a large pea under the surface of the skin, but are noncancerous.
Anyone can get a cyst at any age. Typically, cysts are caused by infection, clogged oil glands, or inflammation around a foreign body such as a piercing.
Skin cysts can appear anywhere on the body. They are usually painless and grow slowly. Cysts typically feel smooth to the touch and may roll under the skin. Generally, cysts are painless unless they are irritated or ruptured. If an infected cyst ruptures, it could leave an open wound that needs to be treated medically.
A soft tissue growth could also be a lipoma. Unlike cysts, lipomas are made up of fat cells in the dermis. Lipomas are not harmful, but if the growth becomes too large, it can become painful. Lipomas, like cysts, can also be removed for cosmetic reasons.
Cysts typically will not go away on their own, but because they do not usually cause pain, some cysts are left untreated. You may choose to have a cyst removed to prevent it from becoming infected, because it is uncomfortable or for cosmetic reasons.
If a cyst ruptures, becomes infected or causes pain, it can be drained with a scalpel. Cysts can also be treated with an injection of cortisone, which will cause the cyst to shrink, or be removed surgically. Some cysts require a topical or oral antibiotic.
*Results may vary by individual