How Can I Treat Sebanceous Cysts?

In the last 3 years these cysts have gotten so bad I always end up in the hospital and surgery. I have seen almost every kind of doctor & they all tell me "It's just my body, learn to deal with it"!! This is unacceptable, I'm 40 and have missed alot of work in the last 2 years. The cysts are mainly on my buttocks & face, rarely do I get them anywhere else. I'm in pain 60% of the time and now my internalist wants to put me on accutane. I took this medicine in 1996 (twice) and didnt work

Doctor Answers 3

A Few Alternative Recommendations

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You may have a condition known as hidradenitis suppurativa.  Either way, it sounds quite debilitating.  There is some evidence that you are more prone to cysts when your body is deficient in iodine.  I recommend applying topical iodine twice daily to these areas of your body (this would be difficult to put on your face though, due to the color of the iodine.  I also recommend finding a doctor (they would be oriented toward more natural remedies) who can do an iodine loading test and check for bromide toxicity.  You might benefit from supplementing with Lugol's iodine solution or Iodoral tablets. 

Typically we might recommend Accutane, but if it didn't work twice in the past, it doesn't sound promising.  Lastly, topical tea tree oil is a good antiseptic and you can apply a dab to the affected areas each day.

Burbank Dermatologist

It sounds like you need to see a dermatologist

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From your description, it is not clear that your have sebaceous cyst.  You may have a condition called hidradenitis.  It sounds like you have a chronic, frustrating skin condition.  You need to see an expert in skin disease, i.e. a board-certified dermatologist, who can give you a correct diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment.  If you do, in fact, have sebaceous cysts, surgical excision is the only treatment.  Good luck!

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

The only way to treat sebaceous cysts is with excision

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The question in my mind is whether the lesions on the buttocks are sebaceous cysts.  They may be hidradenitis or an infection, like Staph.  They need to be examined by a dermatologist.

It is common to have cystic acne on the face and have hidradenitis in the body fold locations and buttocks.

You need to see a dermatologist to determine what these are.

There are treatments for hidradenitis, although it is a difficult and stubborn disease to treat.  Only about 30-40% of patients with hidradenitis respond to Accutane, unfortunately.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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