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Doctor insights on: What Are The Differences Between A Pimple And A Cyst In Your Skin

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What are the differences between a pimple and a cyst in your skin?

What are the differences between a pimple and a cyst in your skin?

Depth: A pimple is typically on the surface with a white head. A cyst is typically beneath the surface in the fatty tissue and usually larger.
They are treated differently. ...Read more

Cyst (Definition)

A cyst is a structure or mass that consists of a cellular lined sac. It is typically filled with fluid but may be filled with solid material. It can be congenital, traumatic, or acquired. They may develop nearly anywhere in the body and usually require complete excision for eradication or they are likely to recur. Fluid filled sacs that are not cellular lined ...Read more


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I have a very large cyst or pimple I'm not sure what it, it'sunder the skin but I popped it using a needle, is there anything I can do now?

I have a very large cyst or pimple I'm not sure what it, it'sunder the skin but I popped it using a needle, is there anything I can do now?

Infection: You need to watch for signs of any reddness or pain. Popping anything yourself with a needle can be dangerous. Suggest you see a doctor if you notice anything occuring at the site ...Read more

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I have a lump (not sure if its a pimple) under my skin on my cheek I don't know what do to, is it a cyst?

I have a lump (not sure if its a pimple) under my skin on my cheek I don't know what do to, is it a cyst?

Sebaceous Cyst: The most likely thing is a sebaceous cyst which is benign. It should be evaluated and removed while it is still small. In this location, I would recommend seeing a plastic surgeon to minimize the appearance of the scar. ...Read more

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I have a small pimple/bump (painless) under my chin, it is under the skin and won't go away. Is it a cyst?

I have a small pimple/bump (painless) under my chin, it is under the skin and won't go away. Is it a cyst?

Maybe, likely not: Many small bumps, especially in hair covered areas, can be caused by pimples or ingrown hairs that never reach the surface of the skin. Most of these will go away on their own in a few months. ...Read more

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I have a small pimple 2 months ago, I pinched it then it turned harder like a cyst, it doesn't hurt or pain like dead skin, how to get rid of it?

I have a small pimple 2 months ago, I pinched it then it turned harder like a cyst, it doesn't hurt or pain like dead skin, how to get rid of it?

See a dermatologist: Sometimes these pimples are actually small cancers- like basal cell or squamous cell cancers, rarely melanoma depending on the type of skin and exposure to sun you have had in your life. The best way to diagnose a non healing pimple or ulcer is to biopsy with the dermatologist and have an expert pathologist look at it. ...Read more

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Noticed pea size bump (4days ago)under skin (has no head like a pimple would) it's deep under the skin. Doesn't seem like a cyst. It's hard&doesnt move?

Noticed pea size bump (4days ago)under skin (has no head like a pimple would) it's deep under the skin. Doesn't seem like a cyst. It's hard&doesnt move?

A lump like this`: Really needs to be felt by your PCP (Primary Care Provider) however it sounds like an old inflammed LYMPH NODE (gland) from an old infection! The LOCATION as well as the SIZE and CONSISTANCY are used to determine if it needs to be removed!
Get it seen!

Hope this helps!
Dr Z ...Read more

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I get under the skin pimple/cysts just under my jaw line. I get about 5 and they last months before disappearing and new ones showing up.

I get under the skin pimple/cysts just under my jaw line. I get about 5 and they last months before disappearing and new ones showing up.

Pimples or cysts: This may be a recurrent acne issue or a viral phenomenon. You should see a dermatologist and they can sort this out for you. Good luck. ...Read more

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I have seriously bad skin at the moment, and they don't seem to be all pimples, one looks like a small cyst almost, it's been there over a week. I'm washing my face 2x times a day plus a spot cream 2x a day. It's not even forming like a pimple?

I have seriously bad skin at the moment, and they don't seem to be all pimples, one looks like a small cyst almost, it's been there over a week. I'm washing my face 2x times a day plus a spot cream 2x a day. It's not even forming like a pimple?

Pharmacist or GP: Spots on the face in young people are often caused by simple infections needing antibiotics or skin conditions like acne. Acne is treated with lotions, antibiotics or other medications if more severe.
You could see your pharmacist for advice and to see what is available over the counter. Your pharmacist can also advise on whether GP appointment is necessary for a diagnosis or prescription. ...Read more

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I have this flesh colored bumps on my nose and they are not skin tag. They are like pimples but, without the itch, redness, cyst. What's this?

I have this flesh colored bumps on my nose and they are not skin tag. They are like pimples but, without the itch, redness, cyst. What's this?

Worth getting seen: We can't diagnose you at a distance, but this is worth discussing with your physician, now if it is new, or at your regular appointment if it is not. This may be anything from the "adenoma sebaceum" of mild tuberous sclerosis to early deformity from rosacea to sebaceous hyperplasia. I'll bet on the last. ...Read more

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Do I have a not normal pimple or cyst problem? Recently I got pimples but just all white not red and swollen on my body but I have had them on the back of my head for some months now but they seem to be poping up on my back, stomach, ribcage, and gentials

Do I have a not normal pimple or cyst problem? Recently I got pimples but just all white not red and swollen on my body but I have had them on the back of my head for some months now but they seem to be poping up on my back, stomach, ribcage, and gentials

Hello.: Hello. With these symptoms it isn't possible to identify your lesions via this format. It is concerning if the lesions are also appearing on your genitalia. I recommend that you be dermatologically evaluated to determine the correct diagnosis and if it is an infectious etiology, to possibly determine what it is. ...Read more

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I get a lot of blackheads on both of my cheeks. I also get Cyst pimples next to my eyes on the side of my faces. I have oily skin so even my forehead isn't acne-free. What can I do?

I get a lot of blackheads on both of my cheeks. I also get Cyst pimples next to my eyes on the side of my faces. I have oily skin so even my forehead isn't acne-free. What can I do?

Blackheads and cysts: There are many skin care regimens to treat acne. You may have your skin evaluated by a rmatologist who can prescribe a medication to treat the cystic acne. ...Read more

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I have a cystic pimple that is painful. My skin has peeled and is very red and inflamed around it. There is still clear pus in it. How do I treat it?

I have a cystic pimple that is painful. My skin has peeled and is very red and inflamed around it. There is still clear pus in it. How do I treat it?

Acne: Don't wash your face with body soap. Also don't use alcohol or comedogenic products on your face. Try to find an acne wash system like neutrogena, pangeaorganics or something with benzoyl peroxide. Following low sodium diet might help too, since acne-causing bacteria like salt. You can try to prevent spreading bacteria onto your face by not touching your face, washing your phone, etc. ...Read more

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I just got rid of a very bad pimple under my skin (cystic) it left behind a deep scar how can I quickly repair my skin?

I just got rid of a very bad pimple under my skin (cystic) it left behind a deep scar how can I quickly repair my skin?

Body/skin rebuilds: Always based on existing structure. Thus scars (as body tears itself down & rebuilds) are also rebuilt, either more or less obvious over time depending on internal controls beyond current knowledge. The only fast way to resolve scars is to surgically remove them & carefully re-close the skin using plastic surgery techniques while protecting both wound blood supply & minimizing chances of infection ...Read more

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I have very clean skin and yet I still get huge cystic pimples. I know genetics is a factor but there's gotta be something that can help me?

I have very clean skin and yet I still get huge cystic pimples. I know genetics is a factor but there's gotta be something that can help me?

Immune problem?: Some people, like Samoans, have poor neutrophil function and tend to get boils. Suggest an immunology consult. Many suggest bleach bathes for the whole family to eradicate staph--1 cup bleach in a bathtub every week, then once a month, and bactroban (mupirocin) for the nostrils to counteract staph colonization. If it is localized to the face and back, it is likely cystic acne--see a dermatologist. ...Read more

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Seldom have pimple/cystic acne. ONE cystic appeared 1mnth ago, no longer red but big bump remain & it won't come to a head. How do I treat it?

Seldom have pimple/cystic acne. ONE cystic appeared 1mnth ago, no longer red but big bump remain & it won't come to a head. How do I treat it?

Let it be: Leaving it alone is the best option. You may try warm fomentation. Do not try to pop it as that will only lead to a scar. For good health - Have a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat milk and milk products, nuts, beans, legumes, lentils and small amounts of lean meats. Avoid saturated fats. Exercise at least 150 minutes/week and increase the intensity of exercise gradually. Do not use tobacco or alcohol in any form.
Practice safe sex.
Get HPV vaccine. ...Read more

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Can oral herpes start out underneath your skin above the upper lip, like a little cystic pimple?

Can oral herpes start out underneath your skin above the upper lip, like a little cystic pimple?

Yes: Herpes has what is called a prodrome period or a period of mild discomfort before a full outbreak occurs. This is when prescription Acyclovir is most effective and can prevent the full outbreak. If you see your dentist or physician right away, they will generally give you a prescription to take now with refills to use during future onsets - but they need to see it to diagnose it correctly. ...Read more

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What is the solid, yellow, stuff that squeezes out of a zit/black head/whitehead when you pop it? I've seen it on cysts too.

What is the solid, yellow, stuff that squeezes out of a zit/black head/whitehead when you pop it? I've seen it on cysts too.

Sebum: The white cheesy material present in acne and in sebaceous cysts is called Sebum. It is essentially the waterproofing of the skin produced by sebaceous glands. When these glands get blocked by oils and dead skin cells, it results in an acne blemish. If the gland ruptures into the deeper tissues it can result in the growth of a cyst containing the same material known as a sebaceous cyst. ...Read more

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Hello, I have what looks to be a pimple just above my lip. It appears to have a white head. It is a little sore. I do have cystic acne and get pimples on my face. I'm writing you to find out if it is just a pimple or whether it could be a cold sore. I d

Hello, I have what looks to be a pimple just above my lip. It appears to have a white head. It is a little sore. I do have cystic acne and get pimples on my face. I'm writing you to find out if it is just a pimple or whether it could be a cold sore. I d

MOST LIKELY COLD SOR: The location and description is more suggestive of a cold sore. Having said that it is very difficult to say with certainty what it is without looking at it. If you are concerned about it get it checked by your doctor ...Read more

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I have really bad acne and no time or money to see a dermatologist, I have blackheads on my nose, cystic pimples, and red irritated skin what can I do?

I have really bad acne and no time or money to see a dermatologist, I have blackheads on my nose, cystic pimples, and red irritated skin what can I do?

No time?: Any licensed physician can handle all but the most severe cases of acne. I trust you're already using topical benzoyl peroxide 5% 2x/day; your personal physician can write for the oral contraceptive pill (if right for you), topical / systemic antibiotics, topical spironolacton, or retinoic acid derivatives. College / free health clinic can help. No time for any health care? Big change is needed. ...Read more

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Nose had been noticeably itchy for a month, now around mouth and spreading to the cheeks are patches of itchy skin with whiteheads in it. Some developing into cysts. I have mild acne, nothing ever like this. Could it be stahp or secondary infection?

Nose had been noticeably itchy for a month, now around mouth and spreading to the cheeks are patches of itchy skin with whiteheads in it. Some developing into cysts. I have mild acne, nothing ever like this. Could it be stahp or secondary infection?

Unlikely infection: A staph or secondary infection Would be more likely to be red, pimple like, and painful. This sounds more like eczema, and the itchy nose suggests allergic rhinitis. When the skin is dry, the oil gland pores are plugged and cause the white heads. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a pimple and a sebaceous cyst?

What is the difference between a pimple and a sebaceous cyst?

Pimple and sebaceous: A pimple is an infected oil gland in the shin. A sebaceous cyst is an accumulation of oil gland material in a membrane that forms the cyst. It usually contains a cheesy material. A sebaceous cyst can get infected in which case it behaves like a giant pimple. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a cyst and a pimple?

What is the difference between a cyst and a pimple?

Infection vs not: A pimple is a tiny infection in a pore. The white stuff inside is pus. It's basically a very small abscess. There are many different kinds of cyst, but basically it's a walled off sac of fluid, but not an infection. Cysts can sometimes go away on their own, sometimes need surgery. Acne is generally treated topically (soaps and creams) and sometimes with oral antibiotics. ...Read more

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How can I tell the difference between a cyst on my face and a large pimple?

Are the same.: All pimples are "cysts"of retained skin oils. Some may become large. Your dermatologist can help with the smallest scar. ...Read more

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How do you tell the difference between a boil, whitehead pimple, and cyst?

How do you tell the difference between a boil, whitehead pimple, and cyst?

Physical exam: Some are bigger, some are smaller and some are more or less inflammatory. Let your treating doctor decide. ...Read more

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I have dozen of knots on everywhere of my head. It's seem cysts or Epidermoid? These are soft and felt pain when I press like an acne.

I have dozen of knots on everywhere of my head. It's seem cysts or Epidermoid? These are soft and felt pain when I press like an acne.

Need to examine: It is not feasible to provide a meaningful opinion without examining you and your symptoms warrant evaluation by a physician. It may require an excision biopsy of one of the lesions and examination of the tissue by a pathologist to settle the issue. ...Read more

Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
2,492 Doctors shared insights

Pimples (Definition)

A pimple is a small inflamed spot on the skin. Also known as zit, ...Read more