Cysts Q&A

What are cysts?

Cysts are fluid-filled or air-filled pockets that can grow anywhere under your skin. While some cysts can become cancerous, most are non-cancerous (benign).

There are several types of cysts that the A to Z Dermatology team can diagnose and treat, including:

Epidermoid cysts

Epidermoid cysts are small, slow-growing cysts that develop because of a buildup of keratin under your skin. These cysts often grow on the face, neck, head, back, and genitals.

Sebaceous cysts

Sebaceous cysts develop most often on the neck, face, and torso because of trauma to the sebaceous glands. These glands produce sebum, an oily substance that lubricates hair follicles and skin.

Ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts are round, gel-filled lumps that can develop near tendons or joints, especially in the hands, wrists, feet, and ankles. The cyst may develop due to trauma, overuse injuries, or for no identifiable reason.

Pilonidal cysts

Pilonidal cysts form in the skin in the cleft of the buttocks, often after puberty. This type of cyst might develop because of hormone changes, hair growth, and friction from clothing.

Pilar cysts

Pilar cysts are non-cancerous bumps that develop just under the surface of the skin, usually on the scalp, due to a buildup of proteins in the hair follicles.

How are cysts diagnosed?

If you have an unusual growth on your skin, it’s important that you schedule a diagnostic evaluation with the team at A to Z Dermatology, even if the cyst isn’t bothering you or causing pain.

The dermatologists will physically examine your cyst and may order X-rays or other diagnostic imaging tests to determine what kind of cyst you have. You might also need a biopsy, a procedure that uses a needle to withdraw a sample of fluid from the growth for further evaluation under a microscope.

Once the team determines the type of cyst you have, they can discuss your options for treatment.

How are cysts treated?

If you have a cyst that’s large or painful, the team at A to Z Dermatology will customize a treatment plan for you.

You might need another needle procedure known as an aspiration to remove excess fluids from the cyst. In some cases, you may need surgery to remove a cyst that’s not treatable with a needle aspiration.

To find out if you need treatment for a cyst, call the A to Z Dermatology office nearest you or book a diagnostic consultation online today.

Mesa Office


4540 E Baseline Road, Suite 109,
Mesa, AZ 85206