Sebaceous cyst treatment – naturally, gently and without surgery

Today I wanted to write a post about a personal experience I had with successfully treating a sebaceous cyst. Before you read on, I should say that at the time of writing the sebaceous cyst is reduced to about 30-40% of it’s original size but is still there, so I can’t yet promise that what I’ve tried gets to 0% of the original size, but the methods I’ve used have helped me reach this much reduced cyst-size state.

My doctor’s advice for treating a sebaceous cyst:
About 10 years ago, I noticed a little bump start growing on my scalp and eventually it grew into a chick-pea-sized sebaceous cyst that stuck out of my hair and looked really unappealing and made me really self-conscious every time I went out. The doctor said that it’s not dangerous to leave it but if I wanted to remove it for aesthetic / cosmetic reasons, surgery was the only treatment. He then followed that up by saying that for surgical removing you’d need to shave your head in that area, have stitches, and that there’s a chance the cyst will grow back after surgery. So, being a girl who is quite attached to her hair and also terrified of the idea of surgery, I really didn’t want to go down this conventional medical route and thought I’d explore non-surgical, more natural, gentle methods of treatment.

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Exploring more gentle & natural Treatments for sebaceous cysts removal:

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Treatment method 1: Acupuncture

Acupuncture. Acupuncturist inserting a needle Postcard At the start of my alternative-health treatment journey, I experimented with acupuncture for treating the cyst. (Here is a post I wrote about what having acupuncture is like). This method did seem to help reduce the cyst size a little (the cyst became about 80% of the size it was originally) but also had some other side effects on my emotional state which I didn’t like. (e.g. When he treated my liver channel, I had uncharacteristic angry outbursts the following week – and it kinda scared me!). After 7 acupuncture treatments and the cyst staying put since session 3 at about 80% it’s original size, the acupuncturist said that in his experience it would also need me to take Chinese herbs to really help it go completely. I was reluctant to do that because after already experiencing some weird emotional side effects from the acupuncture, I didn’t want to mess around with my body chemical composition too much. So I decided to try another avenue.

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Treatment method 2: Essential Oils

Aromatherapy Poster I’d been using therapeutic-grade essential oils by a company called Young Living for several years and have always had very positive, effective experiences with them in treating all sorts of things from skin conditions to upset tummies, so I thought it may be worth researching if essential oils can help treat and remove a sebaceous cyst.

I did an internet search and found several recommendations. This was my journey trying different essential oils:

a.) Treating the sebaceous cyst with Thyme & Castol oil

I’d read that oregano was good for treating sebaceous cysts but having had a negative experience with oregano where it burned my skin once I didn’t want to try that again. Instead I tried the second recommended essential oil: Thyme; another hot oil that’s meant to be more gentle than oregano.

I put diluted thyme essential oil in a bottle of castor oil because I’d read that both these things can help sebaceous cysts be healed. The results were unfortunately disappointing. In my personal experience, this didn’t help at all. I tried this treatment for several weeks and there was no result other than my skin starting to become really dry and flaky because I think the thyme was too strong and harsh for it and lead to some chemical burning when I applied this 3 times a day for several weeks. So yeah, in my experience I wouldn’t recommend this method. Having said that, just using castor oil by itself without infusing it with thyme essential oil would probably be a more gentle method to try, though personally this didn’t work for me.

b.) Treating the sebaceous cyst with Frankinsence essential oil:

After letting my skin heal from the unpleasant thyme & castor oil experience, I decided to try using Frankinsence essential oil (this one -> Link by Young Living), which is said to be helpful against irregular cell growth which a cyst seems to be. Frankinsence is really gentle on the skin and I felt really good when putting it on two times a day (morning and night). I’d put 1 drop neat straight on the cyst. After several months of adding Frankincense on the sebaceous cyst every day, the cyst had shrunk to about 50% of it’s original size. I was very pleased! After several months of treatment it seemed like the effect was plateauing off, the cyst staying put at 50% it’s original size, so I thought it may be time to try a new route. I would recommend trying Frankinsence though – it was effective in making the cyst shrink for me.

c.) Treating the sebaceous cyst with Grapefruit essential oil
I’d read that grapefruit essential oil can help melt fatty things, and since sebaceous cysts are formed by fatty materials accumulating under the cyst, I thought it was a suitable oil to try. I started applying the grapefruit oil (this one: link) twice a day (morning and night, 1 drop neat straight on the cyst) and I’ve now been doing that for a couple of weeks and have seen the sebaceous cyst decrease in size even further. It’s now maybe 30-40% of it’s original size.

(Note: I’m not 100% sure but if you’re on certain medications, I think using grapefruit may be contraindicated. If you’re taking medications, it may be a good idea to double check if grapefruit essential oil is safe to use in conjunction with your meds.)

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Treatment method 3: Massage

It makes sense to me that a sebaceous cyst is some kind of stagnation, so if you improve the circulation around the area with massage, there’s a chance it can help to get things moving to lift the stagnation and help drain it away in a natural way using the body’s natural flow. For example, if your sebaceous cyst is on your head like mine, I’ve been giving myself occasional head massages and also massaging my neck, thinking that circulation flows to and from the head via the neck, so it’s important to make sure the circulation path is nice and smooth, without any tense muscles preventing good flow of blood and lymph.

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Treatment method 4: Looking at possible emotional contributing factors

On a very general scale, is it possible that a cyst is a metaphor for some kind of build-up of stagnation in your emotional life, or a build-up of something that you’re suppressing rather than expressing? Are you feeling stagnant or repressed about something? Sometimes I feel like our body is trying to tell us something and although I know it’s not scientific in the slightest, I like to consider whether the condition is some kind of metaphor… and if it is, maybe if I fix the cause (eg. express whatever needs to be expressed instead of suppressing it; or take some kind of action to get moving in the subject where you’ve been feeling stagnant), maybe it can help the physical manifestation of that “feeling” to get better.

As you can tell from the name of my website, I’m open to spiritual and less conventional interpretations for things too so just thought I’d mention this other point that is in line with teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine:

As you may know, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), they believe in the concept that certain points on the body are meaningful and this is the basis of acupuncture.
Human Meridians & Pressure Point Chart Poster
Extrapolating from this, the position where your cyst exists, may be meaningful. I recommend doing an internet image search for “acupuncture points on head” or “acupuncture points on (whereever your cyst is)” to figure out if the point has significance. Different TCM points often relate to certain emotions. I personally found this TCM insight helpful to me so I just thought I’d list the emotions linked to different points in case it’s helpful to you too:

  • Cyst on a gallbladder point (often seen as “GB” followed by a number): The gall bladder points in TCM may relate to emotions such as issues with courage, shyness, timidity, problems with deicision making, indecision and issues with listening to your inner wisdom. Side note: My own cyst fell on a gall bladder point and I suspect it may have something to do with my indecision about “what to do with my life” and to be honest, all the emotions related to the gallbladder are things I struggle with, so it seems to work for me. I also noticed that once I made a decision of something I wanted to do in life, this coincided with the sebaceous cyst shrinking – though I was also treating the cyst with essential oils at the time, so it’s hard to know which component was the main factor working – maybe it was a combination of factors at work.
  • Cyst on a kidney or urinary bladder point (often seen as “KD” or “UB” followed by a number): The gall bladder points in TCM may relate to emotions such as issues with fear (eg fear relating to feeling secure or isolated). Willpower and self-discipline issues are also commonly linked to the kidney or bladder points.
  • Cyst on lung or large intestine point (often seen as “LU” or “LI” followed by a number): The lung and large intestine points in TCM may relate to emotions such as sadness, grief, longing, feeling stuck, and feelings of emotional detachment.
  • Cyst on Liver point (often seen as “LV” followed by a number): The liver points in TCM may relate to emotions such as anger, frustration, irritability, moodiness, bitterness, resentment and strong emotional stress.
  • Cyst on Heart or Small intestine / Duodenum points (often seen as “HT” or “SI” followed by a number): These points in TCM may relate to emotions such as blockages of joy which may manifest as issues with self-love, self-acceptance, stress and uptighteness; shock, demonstrating inappropriate emotional responses (eg smiling when you hear bad news) and being easily startled.
  • Cyst on Spleen or Stomach point (often seen as “SP” or “ST” followed by a number): These points in TCM may relate to emotions such as worry, overthinking and overworking.

So the theory of using this information is, that if you work on and start to resolve the emotional aspect that’s related to the cyst location, the cyst may shrink on its own through the resolution of the emotion that may be behind it.

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Update of the state of my sebaceous cyst after all the treatment and emotional improvements I’ve gone through:

Soon after finishing this article, the sebaceous cyst that was on my head shrunk to a level where although it was still there, it was much much flatter and no longer seen through my hair at all so I felt a lot more confident knowing that people couldn’t see it when I went out.

2020 update: A couple years after writing this article and now the sebaceous cyst is pretty much gone! There’s the tiniest little 1 mm elevation where it used to be, but other than that – flat and gone! And all I did was everything described in this article plus giving it some time to sort out on its own.

So the essential oils and emotional improvement seems to have been a huge help!

I just wanted to share my experience of treating sebaceous cysts in case it can be helpful to anyone else out there.

If you have any other tips you’re welcome to leave them in the comments section below.

Related Products

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The information contained in this article is just based on my personal experience. Suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a health professional. All matters regarding health and supplementation require medical supervision and careful examination of contraindications. The author does not accept responsibility for the use of this information, nor shall the author be liable for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestions in this article.

This site is working in affiliation with and, and although I was not sponsored in any way by the specific brands mentioned in this article, the links to any products in this article are referral links via my Amazon and Zazzle associates account.

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14 Responses to Sebaceous cyst treatment – naturally, gently and without surgery

  1. simon petkovich says:

    add turmeric capsules to the grape seed oil -one capsule three times a day-for a full recovery

    • Bryan says:

      Hi Simon,

      How true is it that turmeric powder can shrink sebaceous cysts?
      Please share if you know the procedure.

      Many Thanks!!!!

  2. This is exactly what I have too – went to the doctor a year or two ago, concerned since I didn’t know what it was. He said the same thing yours did – that I could get it surgically removed if it really bothered me. I have very thick hair, and it didn’t hurt at all, so I left it go. But now, it has gotten larger to the point when I have to really think about how I wear my hair so it doesn’t show through, plus it is starting to be slightly tender. I just ordered myself some frankincense (I love essential oils, and don’t know why I didn’t think about this!) so I’m hopeful it will help me as well. Any update on your cyst?

    • SpiritualCookie says:

      Hi Kelly, I hope the Frankincense is as helpful for you as it was for me : ) Ever since my bump became small enough that it was no longer noticeable through my hair, I took a break from treating it. Several months on, the cyst is still there, but is staying small, flat and not noticeable through my hair so it’s not really a problem for me anymore. For now I’m happy with leaving it since it’s not bothering me anymore, but if it were to bother me again, I’d definitely go back to the Frankincense and / or Grapefruit essential oils and also take a closer look at sorting out any emotional stuff that may be contributing. Wishing you speedy success in your journey to non-bumpiness! : )

  3. Robin says:

    I have a sebaceous cyst on my scalp also & received same comments from my dermatologist. I have been researching essential oils when I came across your article/personal experience. I’m definitely going to go your route & try the Frankincense & Grapefruit essential oils. I will report back w/ my results in the very near future. Thank you for sharing!

    • SpiritualCookie says:

      I’m happy if my experiences can help others who are going through the same thing. I hope the Frankincense & Grapefruit method will be as effective for you as it was for me! I know not everyone is on board with the emotional part but if you ask me, from a holistic perspective, it might also be worth considering if there are any emotional components – if there’s anything you’re feeling stagnant about, or anything that’s built up and not been released emotionally, that may be contributing too. If you can diffuse the emotional aspect / get the flow going again, it might help the situation. Good luck! : )

  4. Sheila says:

    Hi. I have had sebaceous cysts on my scalp in the past that I did have surgically removed. I had about 3-4 small ones and one larger one on my scalp. You couldn’t see them but I was embarrassed when I went to the salon for cuts and stuff. The surgical procedure was quick and easy and they didn’t really have to shave my hair. They parted my hair and made small incisions which healed in a matter of days. It was so easy and painless that I wish I hadn’t waited so long to have it done. I was finally cyst free and stayed that way for a number (15 or so) years however in the past year or so I have a few new cysts coming up….ugh. I just read a post where an herbalist said she used straight “Purification” by Young Living 2 drops, 2 times daily on a couple of her clients cysts and within days the skin opened up and the cysts came out. I don’t know if I like the thought of having gaping holes in my head but perhaps it’s worth a try if it gets rid of these things.
    Here is the link to that post

  5. Julie Lappin says:

    Just so you know – “Du” doesn’t mean duodenum (although I can certainly see why you would think that). It is the Chinese name for the Governing meridian, which goes up the spine, up through the middle of the head, down the forehead and nose to the back of the throat. Emotions related include ability to stand tall in your courage/truth, knowing where you’re heading in life (or not), have “backbone” (it literally goes up the spine).

    • SpiritualCookie says:

      thank you so much for this Julie : )
      I’m a hobbyist TCMer rather than a pro and still have a few missing pieces to fill regarding my understanding of the theory – thanks for helping me fill in the Du piece ♥️
      I’ve amended the blog post accordingly :)

  6. Rosemary Hall says:

    Oregano oil from Young Living was recommended to me. I had a nasty one on my groin. I used the oil for about a week. Last night I felt something seem to come out. It fell away in the darkness. This morning I noticed my underwear was soiled. I looked at my groin. The cyst had opened up. It seems ready to heal. Now I’m not sure what to put on it.w

  7. Lady Bonser says:

    I’ve had a small one around the elbow. It wasn’t big, but I noticed it. Didn’t know what it was, though. Then, for a weight gain issue I was having, I started taking some plant based supplements from a company named Plexus & detoxing, both physically & emotionally. It’s been a year now. I’ve noticed lots of improvements, but I didn’t notice the cyst, until recently. It’s almost gone. Nobody else would ever notice it.
    Be Blessed,

  8. Tracey says:

    You say “Frankinsence is really gentle on the skin and I felt really good when putting it on two times a day (morning and night). I’d put 1 drop neat straight on the cyst.”

    Just wondering what you mean by “I’d put 1 drop neat straight on the cyst.”?
    Did you not dilute the Frankinsence with another oil (castor, mineral etc)?

    • Tracey says:

      I’ve done some research and answered my own question : )
      Thank you though for your original post!

      • SpiritualCookie says:

        Hi Tracey, I’m glad you found your answer :)
        You probably don’t need my answer by now, but yes, that’s what I meant: I didn’t dilute the Frankinsence with another oil personally, and just put it straight onto the area, straight from the bottle.

        For anyone else who would find clarification useful, here’s a quote from another website on topical use of essential oils:

        [START QUOTE]
        “There are 3 main classifications of oils for topical use: Neat, Dilute, and Sensitive.

        - Neat. Essential oils categorized as “neat” can be applied topically without dilution on most people. These oils are considered mild and generally do not induce skin sensitivity. Examples of “neat” essential oils are frankincense, lavender, melaleuca, melissa, and sandalwood.
        - Dilute. If categorized as “dilute,” essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application in every case. Oils that fall into this category are those with a high proportion of constituents that are especially potent, such a phenols. Examples of essential oils that require dilution are cassia, cinnamon, clove, oregano, and thyme.
        - Sensitive. “Sensitive” oils are those that should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. Examples of “sensitive” oils are peppermint, ginger, eucalyptus, wintergreen, and black pepper.”
        [/END QUOTE]

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