Cysts are benign, closed pockets of tissue that can be filled with protein material, fluid, or other substances. Cysts are common in the skin and are usually filled with keratin, a skin protein. They can appear anywhere, especially on the face, back, chest and scalp. Cysts often feel like soft, movable nodules under the surface of the skin. They are often asymptomatic, but may become inflamed or infected, resulting in discomfort or pain.


Although cysts do not require treatment, it is often necessary to treat cysts that become inflamed or infected. If infected, a cyst may need to be drained. Otherwise, an inflamed cyst may require an oral medication or injections of cortisone to shrink it. Usually cysts need to be surgically excised to completely remove them. This is best done after resolution of the redness and inflammation.