Underarm Cyst Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Infection and Home Remedies

Do you have a lump in the armpit and are not certain what it is? In this post, learn what an underarm cyst is, its symptoms, causes and treatments. Also discussed are sebaceous cysts, infection on armpit cysts as well as home remedies to treat them at home.

Underarm Cyst

Underarm cysts are lumps that appear under the skin in the armpit. They are caused by any damage exerted on the skin, bodily hygiene as well as underlying health conditions.

Once a cyst starts growing, it fills with a protein called keratin that has a yellowish color and foul odor. This sac grows to create a small protrusion on your skin at the source of the initial injury.

According to Medhealth.net, an underarm cyst is only annoying but never dangerous for your health. They do not only appear in the underarms but can be experienced in other parts of the body.

Cysts tend to go away on their own but a few interventions through both medical and home treatments can help hasten the process. In the following parts, we explore the symptoms of underarm cysts, their causes and treatments.

Underarm Cyst Symptoms

Not all underarm lumps are cysts. Proper diagnosis is best done to ensure that correct treatment is done. This is best done by a doctor. However, there are some pointers that could help you into identifying cysts. Here are some of the basic symptoms of cysts.

Mostly underarm cysts will occur after skin injry processes are conducted on the skin. this could include after shaving, experiencing acne as well as suffering irritation or skin damage from skin care products.


Pain as a symptom of an underarm cyst may manifest before the actual formation of the cyst. In other situations, it will occur once the cyst ruptures, becomes infected or inflamed. The level of the pain is aggravated by any movement of the arm.

Tiny Wiggling Skin Colored Lump

When one is dealing with a cyst, it is usually skin colored if not infected. They are small in size being less than five centimeters large. Upon squeezing the lump between your fingers and moving it back and forth, it should wiggle if it is a cyst. The lump should also feel smooth to touch.

Underarm Cyst Photos

To help understand the symptoms of underarm cysts better, below are some photos:

Infected underarm cyst

Infected underarm cyst

Burst underarm cyst

Burst underarm cyst

Underarm Cyst Causes

There is a wide range of causes that could see you experiencing cysts in your underarm. these underarm cyst causes are as discussed below.

1. Shaving

An underarm cyst could result from irritation after shaving. Shaving as one of the underarm cyst causes is common in teenagers who are beginning to shave their bodies. Wrong shaving techniques as well as the use of blunt razors can greatly contribute to this.

2. Antiperspirants and Deodorants

The use of underarm care products such as deodorants and antiperspirants could cause irritation on the skin or block the sebaceous glands. This could lead to the formation of underarm cysts.

3. Bacterial, Viral and Fungal Infections

The nature of the armpit is such that it is warm, moist and dark; conditions that are favorable for the growth of microorganisms. Bacterial infections such as staphylococcal and streptococcal can cause formation of cysts.

In other situations chronic fungal infections could be the reason you have underarm cysts. Where one has viral infections such as shingles or chicken pox cysts could arise.

4. Autoimmune Disorders

Problems with the immune system make you vulnerable to various disorders. Arthritis, lupus as well as HIV can see you suffering underarm cysts.

5. Vaccinations

Typhoid, small pox and such vaccinations can cause cysts to appear on the body. In other instances, vaccinations such as those for measles, rubella and mumps could result in allergic reactions thus formation of cysts.

6. Fibrocystic Breast Changes

This refers to a benign condition in which some women experience lumpy, swollen or painful breasts just before their periods begin. At times, this condition could extend to the armpits causing formation of cysts there. These should go away with time.

7. Lipoma

Another cause of underarm cysts is Lipoma. This refers to a benign deposits of adipose tissue beneath the skin. This tends to be soft to touch is painless and is most common on the back, shoulders, neck and in the armpit.

8. Keratin Buildup

A buildup in keratin in your underarms could cause the formation of epidermoid or pilar cysts. These are usually painless, grow slowly and will rarely need treatment unless they become infected.

9. Underarm Cyst or Cancer?

Mostly, a cyst that exhibits the symptoms indicated above will not be cancerous. However, some forms of cancer such as those affecting the lymph nodes may initially appear like cysts in the underarm. Where you are having doubts about the cause of the cyst, see a doctor immediately for correct diagnosis.

Underarm Cyst Treatment Options

In most cases, underarm cysts do not require any medical attention. However, in case they are a bother, become painful or infected, it is best to go and see a doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Depending on severity, some of the treatments that may be offered include:

underarm cyst treatment

underarm cyst treatment


Where the armpit cyst is infected, antibiotics may be offered by your physician to kill away the infections and facilitate quick healing.


Where your underarm cyst is filled with any liquid whether plain clear or pus, draining it can be done. To help relieve pressure, the doctor will use a needle to get the fluid out. To avoid infections, it is best to have it done by your physician as opposed to doing it at home.


To get rid of any inflammation that may have affected the cyst, corticosteroids can help. When administered, these will help bring down any swelling there may be.


This is mostly done on severe cysts that are very painful, cause discomfort and make performance of normal daily activities impossible. Other situations where a cyst may be surgically removed is where the doctor suspects it to be cancerous. In this case, it will be removed and a biopsy done.

Home Remedies

in addition to the above medical treatments, there are a few things you can do at home to help relief discomfort caused by the cyst.

Warm Compress

Sebaceous underarm cysts can be treated at home using a warm compress. Dip a towel in water and wring out any excess water. Hold the now warm compress on the armpit cyst to enable it drain. This method should not be used on infected cysts.

Infected Underarm Cyst

Infection may occur in the underarm especially after the cyst raptures. In most cases, an infected cyst will be pus-filled. Once it bursts, a foul smell may be felt. When an infection on your armpit cyst occurs, it is important to keep it clean. Use some soap and water to wash the area. Follow this up with an antibacterial liquid application using cotton balls. To keep dirt and other impurities from getting into the cyst, cover it up with a gauze pad. See a doctor soon enough for further treatment and to stop the infection from becoming severe.

Underarm Sebaceous Cyst

Beneath the skin are sebaceous glands responsible for production of sebum. At times, the duct responsible for draining the gland may get blocked causing any sebum produce to collect around. This leads to a cystic swelling referred to as a sebaceous cyst. The treatment of this kind of underarm cyst is drainage. At times, the lump will disappear within no time while in other situations it may keep recurring. For permanent removal in such situations, see a doctor.


Mayo Clinic: Fibrocystic Breast

Health Line: Lumps Overview

Med Health: Armpit Health