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Boils and Cysts

Ever Wonder what the Difference Between Boils and Cysts are?

What is a Cyst?

  • Cysts are little sacks within the skin, which are usually filled with gas, hair, liquid and other semi-solid material.
  • A cyst is caused because of a gland or organ that has a fluid build up that cannot be secreted. It can also be caused by a parasitic infection,  for example the tapeworm.
  • Cysts may also become infected if not looked after properly, an infected cyst is called as abscess.
  • Cysts can be found on any part of the body, but are commonly found on the buttock skin region, on the ovaries, kidneys, liver, brain and on the inside of tumors. Internal cysts very seldom become infected abscesses.
  • Most cysts are not deadly, but ovarian cysts need to be removed, in-case they release their fluid into the body, which can be very dangerous.
  • A cyst is an autoimmune reaction.
  • Cysts are usually painless.

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Sebaceous Cysts

This type of cyst is an enclosed sac under the skin that is usually filled with an oily substance called Keratin.

Sebaceous cysts are generally found on the face, neck, upper torso and are also commonly found on the female genitalia. They usually grow gradually over a few years and are typically not painful.

This type of cyst can become infected and turn into an abscess, but this is very rare.

A cyst should always be examined by a doctor to rule out the possibility of cancer.

What causes a sebacious cyst?

  • Swollen blocked hair follicles.
  • Injury to the skin can also cause a cyst.

Symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts

  • A painless lump that can move freely under the skin.
  • The lump may disappear all on its own.

Symptoms of an infected sebaceous cyst

  • Painful, warm to the touch and slightly red.
  • A cyst may have some putrid smelling matter that drains from it.
  • The top picture, is an example of an infected cyst.
  • Mild cysts can be treated at home.

Home Remedies and Sebaceous Cysts Treatment

  • Applying a warm compress to the area can get the material inside the cyst to liquify and be reabsorbed in the body. You can do this frequently over a period of a few weeks. The cyst should gradually disappear.
  • Always keep the area clean and dry to prevent it from becoming infected. Use an anti-bacterial soap.
  • If you sense that the cyst has started to become infected you can use some tea tree oil and orange oil, which have both antibacterial and healing properties.
  • Follow a balanced diet and take extra vitamin E, A, B and zinc supplements.
  • So far there is no proven cure for sebaceous cysts.

Sebaceous cyst removal

Sebaceous cyst treatment is not always necessary and should be left alone if it is not causing any discomfort.

Surgical removal is usually only done if the cyst becomes infected and painful or is very large. Some cysts may also return after surgery if the sack is not removed.

Never try to drain the cyst on your own as this could cause an infection.

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Cystic Acne

You may have a child who suffers from cystic acne or you may have it yourself. Acne can strike at any age. What causes cystic acne? Often the cystic acne is caused by hormones called androgens, which increase in teens. But, adult acne cysts can happen at any age due to fluctuations in hormone changes. Other causes of cystic acne could include hereditary factors, diet and lifestyle choices.  

Cystic Acne can Cause: 

  • Oily skin with large open pores
  • Itching and peeling
  • Depression
  • Low self esteem
  • Worry and anxiety 

Cystic acne is an infection deep under the skin. You might only see a painful bump, but it may be filled with pus. 

Cystic Acne can affect the skin on your face, back, shoulders, chest and arms. It may linger for years and leave you with permanent scars. Your skin gets clogged with dead cells, bacteria gets trapped and that is how it spreads. The earlier you start an acne cyst treatment, the better. 

Men get severe cystic acne more than women. It usually affects women on the cheeks and chin. It may be worse with menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause and polycystic ovarian syndrome. One is also more prone to get cystic acne if your parents had it. 

Cystic Acne Remedies

  • Virgin coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. Coconut oil is one of the best natural cystic acne treatments. Just apply the oil as a moisturiser after cleansing your skin. Read more about this here.
  • Homemade natural facial cleansers can help rid your skin of unwanted, harmful bacteria, while keeping your skin fresh and healthy. Get the free recipes here. 
  • Milk thistle as an acne treatment, has been found to be very effective. MIlk thistle improves the liver's ability to remove toxins from the blood. The less toxins in your blood means less chance of acne.
  • Jojoba oil simultaneously cleanses and moisturizes the skin. It helps to dissolve the oil production that causes blackheads and pimples.
  • Castor Oil. Ricinoleic acid in Castor oil fights acne-causing bacteria. It is a good remedy for acne because it penetrates the skin layers quite effectively. After cleaning with warm water, which will open up your pores, gently massage the oil into your skin, and wash it off the next morning.
  • Argan oil. The anti-oxidants in Argan oil will help lessen skin inflammation. Argan oil is non-greasy and is absorbed easily. You can apply your night cream after using Argan oil in your evening facial routine.
  • Grape seed Oil. Linoleic acid in Grape Seed Oil has anti-inflammatory, acne reductive, anti-allergen, and moisture retaining properties. Grapeseed oil can also be used to treat dermatitis, allergic reactions, eczema and dry or itchy skin.
  • Avocado honey mask for acne prone skin. Mash 1/2 a ripe avocado with a teaspoon of warmed raw honey.  Mix into a smooth paste. Apply to face and neck areas, leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with cool water.
  • Tea tree oil. Contains anti bacterial properties and is a popular remedy. Mix one drop of Tea tree oil with 9 drops of water. Dab this mixture onto acne. Leave on for at least 15 minutes before rinsing off. 
  • Honey and cinnamon acne treatment

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Pilonidal Cysts

What is a Pilonidal Cyst?

This cyst is also referred to as a pilonidal abscess (inflamed pilonidal cyst), pilonidal sinus or sacrococcygeal fistula.

The cyst will contain skin and hair debris, but if it becomes infected and turns into an abscess, it will contain pus.

Most people with this type of cyst will not have any symptoms, but if the cyst becomes infected it can become very painful. Draining of an abscess can give some pain relief.

A sinus tract in the skin may open up to the surface of the skin allowing the abscess to drain. Some people may have more than one sinus tract opening up to the outside.

Where is it found?

  • Along the tailbone (coccyx) (near the cleft of the buttocks)
  • It is also sometimes found (but very rarely) on the navel, armpits and penis

How common is it?

  • Not very common, only about 26 cases have been found per 100 000 people. There are many people who develop this condition and are completely unaware of it.
  • It is mostly found in Caucasian men between the ages of 15 and 24, but can be found on anybody and at any age.

Causes of Pilonidal Cysts

  • Some pilonidal cysts are hereditary congenital defects of the skin of the lower spine. The tracts of this defect become clogged up with sweat, skin and hair. The larger the cyst gets, the further it moves inside the body (pilonidal tunnel). This can become even more painful as infection sets in. Some babies are born with a Pilonidal dimple.
  • Injury can cause inflammation of an existing cyst.
  • Excessive sitting can also cause inflammation.
  • Excessive sweating and ingrown hair.

Symptoms of a Pilonidal Abscess

  • A common symptom is pain at the bottom of the spine.
  • Reddening of the skin accompanied by heat,at the bottom of the spine.
  • Swollen area at the bottom of the spine.
  • A hole with pus coming out.
  • Fever.

Natural Pilonidal Treatment

  • A warm bath can decrease the pain. You can also put a handful of Epsom salts in the bath water.
  • Warm compresses can be applied hourly to reduce pain.
  • Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. You can take this as a supplement…found at any health food store.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out your system.
  • Try to prevent an infection of the cyst by keeping the area clean with antibacterial soap. Also try to keep clean and dry and avoid excessive sweating.
  • A few herbal remedies for pilonidal cysts may include; Myristica, Silicea and Hepar Sulph.
  • Eat a well balanced diet and exercise. This keeps the body healthy and the immune system up…which will help in preventing infections.
  • If you are going to try draining the cyst yourself at home, you need to take care that you use sterilized items as well as keep the area sterilized afterwards too.

What medical cyst pilonidal treatment is available for this?

  • Antibiotics
  • Hot compresses
  • Depilatory creams
  • Lancing
  • Pilonidal cyst surgery, which is the pilonidal cyst removal of sinus tracts.
  • Pilonidal flap surgery
  • Scraping of sinus tract and filling with fibrin glue.

A pilonidal abscess may recurr often or leave long periods (even years) before showing symptoms again. It is possible for it to disappear on its own.

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What is a Boil?

picture of a boil, boil picture, image of a boil

What are Boils?

  • Boils are found within a hair follicle or gland that has become infected by bacteria. The affected skin is reddened and contains pus. The boil will usually form a head and then drain out on its own after a few days.
  • Boils are also found anywhere on the body, but mostly found on the face, neck, armpits, thighs and buttocks.
  • Boils are usually very painful.
  • Boils are mostly caused by the bacteria staphylococcus, ingrown hairs, blocked glands and poor diet.

A sunlight soap and sugar (1:1 ratio) solution applied to a boil with a plaster, draws the head of a boil out quickly. 

Skin boils will usually take ten days from start to finish. You don’t need to wait for a boil to run it's course, there are natural home remedies for boils that will help you get rid of boils sooner. (natural remedies below)

What does a boil look like?

  • Boils are pus-filled and swollen.
  • The surrounding skin is usually red and inflamed.

The Difference between Boils and Cysts

A cyst is a closed sac that can contain air, gas, fluid or semi-solid matter. It is encapsulated by lipid tissue. A cyst is usually not painful and just gets bigger and bigger over time.

A boil is usually a painful, pus-filled follicle caused by infection and has a life span of only a few days.

NB – You should try to treat your boils as soon as possible to prevent permanent scarring.

Are boils contagious? 

Some types of boils are contagious; this is why it is so important that you refrain from sharing personal items such as razors or towels.

Try to keep it clean and disinfected before it spreads. Clean the boil with an antiseptic soap and cream.

Symptoms of a Skin Boil

  • A painful nob appears first on the skin, the lump then becomes bigger and causes a lot of pain and sometimes itching too.
  • Boils may be found together in clusters or on its own.
  • Once the boil has ripened, it will start to ooze. Sometimes there is a “head" visible inside the boil, which is seen as a little white or black spot in the middle of the boil.
  • A mild fever may be experienced. Your lymph nodes may also become swollen.

Treating Skin Boils and Prevention of Boils

  • How to  facilitate boil drainage ~ Apply a warm compress. The warmth will help increase blood circulation to the area. This will also help the boil ripen faster.
  • Boils that are found in areas of friction such as groin boils , boils on buttocks, inner thighs, under the armpits will need to be seen to immediately as they can become exceptionally painful, especially those in the groin area.
  • You can detox your body for a few days by eating only fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water. After the detox you should avoid things like coffee, salt, sugar, processed foods and alcohol. 
  • Exercise can also detox your system and clean your blood.
  • Once the boil has popped, you can start cleaning it with an antibacterial soap.
  • Do not pop/pierce the boil yourself, this usually just makes the infection worse.
  • Do not share bedding, clothing or any personal hygiene items with somebody who has a skin boil.

What Causes Boils?

  • Staphylococcus bacteria which enter the sweat gland or hair follicles.
  • Toxic blood “dirty blood" This occurs because of a poor diet.
  • Constipation can cause your body to try rid itself of toxins through your skin, which could result in all types of skin problems including boils.
  • Ingrown hairs and blocked sweat glands

What increases your chance of getting boils?

  • Diabetes, blood disorders, HIV, cancer, anemia, a person with an open tear in the skin, obesity.
  • Stress can also make the occurrence of boils more frequent.
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals and poor hygiene
  • A weakened immune system, from illness.

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It is best to let a boil pop on it's own instead of trying to burst it yourself. Popping a boil can cause infection. Here are some natural home remedies for skin boils.

Boil Home Remedies

  • The best home remedies to cure boils are garlic and onion - both natural anti-biotics. The juice of these may be applied on the boil to ripen them. Garlic can be taken as part of your diet to detox the body. 
  • Cumin seeds can be ground into a paste and applied to the boils.
  • Warm some raw honey and place it on the boil, this will bring the boil to the surface faster and help heal it quicker too.
  • Boiled parsley can be used as a warm compress…just make sure you do not burn yourself. The parsley can be wrapped in a thin cloth. 
  • Take Vitamin A, E, B, Zinc and C supplements. Take vitamin D, and omega 3,6 and 9 supplements.
  • Calendula ointment can be applied to the skin as an antiseptic and is often used as a skin boil treatment.
  • Turmeric powder can be applied directly on the boil to speed up the healing process.
  • A warm Epsom salts bath can help for boils. You can put a handful of Epsom salts in your bath water every day.
  • Tea tree oil mixed with a little olive oil can be applied directly to the boil. This serves as an antiseptic and helps heal the wound.
  • 1 Cup of bitter gourd juice can be mixed with one tsp of lime juice and drank on an empty stomach for a few days. This is a great remedy for blood filled boils.
  • Drink lots of orange juice and plenty of water to cleanse your system. Avoid things like coffee, salt, sugar, starch and processed foods.
  • Ice cubes can give symptomatic relief...gently rub the ice cubes over the boil.
  • Eat lots of nutmeg either with your food or drink it in some water. Nutmeg helps to clean the blood by stimulating blood circulation. This therefore helps your body fight a bacterial infection.
  • Aloe vera can be applied directly to the boil to quicken healing.

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I have a knot under my right arm pit . I can't tell if it a cyst or a boil . It's just now starting to hurt . On a scale of 1 thru 10 it's a major 10 steady …

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