DIY cyst removal: Is it worth the risk?

by Dr Wan Chee Kwang
December 4, 2023

Sebaceous cysts, those round bumps filled with pus-like matter, can appear on the face and body. While they are usually not painful, their appearance can annoy you. 

Understandably, those who have them often wish to remove them quickly. They may even be tempted to pop or pick on the cysts as an easy way out. But is it worth the risk?

In this article, we'll share more about sebaceous cysts and discuss the risks and dangers associated with DIY removal. We'll also highlight the benefits of professional removal and available methods for cyst removal in Singapore.

Understanding cysts

Sebaceous cysts are noncancerous, closed pockets of oil and dead skin cells that typically develop beneath the skin. They can grow to various sizes, from a tiny pea to a marble-sized lump. While they are usually painless, they can become inflamed, infected, or tender over time, making them a cause for concern.

Cysts can grow anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, neck, back, and genitals. They are formed when the sebaceous glands that produce oil to moisturise the skin and hair become blocked or damaged. 

This blockage can lead to the accumulation of sebum (the skin's natural oil) and dead skin cells within a sac, forming a cyst.

Why some people consider DIY cyst removal

Removing a cyst at home can be tempting for various reasons.


Sebaceous cysts can linger for weeks or months, causing discomfort and self-consciousness. Some individuals may grow impatient and seek immediate relief.


Handling the issue at home, on your own time, without the hassle of scheduling appointments or dealing with medical bills, can be appealing.

Cost savings

Some people think that DIY cyst removal can save them money. However, this ignores potential risks and dangers of doing treatment without medical supervision. With a botched DIY removal, you might end up incurring more costs as you seek a specialist to remove your cyst and address any complications you cause.

Risk and dangers of DIY cyst removal


When you attempt to remove a cyst at home, there's a significant risk of introducing bacteria into the open wound, leading to infection. Infections can be painful, require medical attention, and leave scars.

Incomplete removal

When removing cysts, it’s important to remove or destroy the cyst wall to ensure lasting effects. This cyst wall, however, is deep inside the skin and DIY methods are unlikely to reach it. With DIY methods, your cyst may end up returning or becoming even more inflamed.


Improper removal techniques can result in unsightly scars that may be more noticeable than the original cyst.

Pain and discomfort

Self-removal can be painful and may lead to unnecessary discomfort.


Without proper medical evaluation, you might misdiagnose the lump as a cyst when it could be something more serious that requires immediate medical attention. In some cases, a cyst could end up being a sebaceous carcinoma, a type of tumour.

Benefits of professional cyst removal

We recommend proper treatment by medical professionals if you want to remove a cyst. Choosing professional removal of your sebaceous cysts comes with several advantages.


Medical professionals, such as dermatologists or surgeons, have the necessary expertise to assess the cyst, determine the appropriate course of action, and perform the procedure safely.

Minimal scarring

Professionals can minimise scarring, ensuring that you have an aesthetically pleasing result after cyst removal. 

Reducing recurrence

A doctor can ensure the complete removal of your cyst, reducing the likelihood of it recurring.

Reduced risk of infection

Medical facilities maintain strict hygiene standards, reducing the risk of infection during the removal procedure.

Reliable diagnosis

Professionals can provide an accurate diagnosis and rule out any potential underlying issues, like injury or infection.

Peace of mind

With professional handling of the cyst removal, you can have peace of mind knowing that the procedure is done correctly and safely.

Cyst Removal in Singapore

If you've decided that professional sebaceous cyst removal is the way to go, here are some methods available in Singapore.

1. Incision and drainage

This method is generally used for infected cysts. It involves making a small incision in the cyst and draining the contents. This method generally does not involve removing the cyst wall and, as such, may lead to a recurrence of the cyst.

2. Surgical excision

Surgical excision is the standard recommendation for cysts and involves cutting out the entire cyst, including the wall. This method, however, may result in a large scar. 

How 1Aesthetics approaches cyst removal

At 1Aesthetics, Dr Wan is conscious of the need to minimise cyst recurrence and reduce scars. That’s why he uses alternative approaches to get the best outcomes for patients. 

1. Minimal incision extraction

Minimal incision extraction is a less invasive technique that involves making a small incision and using specialised instruments to remove the cyst. It can result in smaller scars and faster recovery times. However, this method also requires more time and technical precision. Dr Wan will assess each person’s cyst and its particular condition before recommending this treatment. 

2. Laser

Laser therapy may break down the cyst's contents or remove the cyst wall. It's a minimally invasive method that can be effective for benign lumps and bumps. It shows potential in reducing scarring and lowering recurrence rates for cysts. Depending on the patient’s cyst condition, Dr Wan will decide if minimal incision extraction, laser removal or a combination of the two treatments works best. 

Remove your cyst safely and effectively with 1Aesthetics

While DIY cyst removal may seem tempting, the risks outweigh the benefits. Though typically benign, sebaceous cysts should be evaluated and safely removed by trained medical professionals to prevent complications and avoid misdiagnosis.

At 1Aesthetics, various cyst removal methods are available, and we will recommend the treatment that suits you best. We always strive for an optimal balance between removing your cyst and giving you an aesthetically pleasing result.
Seeking professional guidance and treatment for cyst removal with 1Aesthetics will give you peace of mind. Book a consultation today.


  1. Hamid, Ramiz N MD, MPH.(2022). Sebaceous Carcinoma of the Scalp Masquerading as a Pilar Cyst. Dermatologic Surgery.

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