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Difference Between Cyst and Boil

Cyst vs Boil

When hygienic people are so conscious with their appearance and skin, they do their best to maintain its beauty, smoothness, and suppleness. Our skin is the main barrier from the outside environment particularly infections, viruses, illness, and disease. If we have a break in our skin, we are more prone to acquiring different types of skin illnesses which bothers us and makes our self-esteem less.

Our self-confidence is not only affected but how well we function in our job or in school. One of the two skin conditions we are trying to avoid is a boil and a cyst. Let us examine the differences.

A cyst is said to be a sac that is closed. It has its own membrane plus it is separated from the nearby tissue. A cyst may contain different forms of elements such as fluid, air, or semi-solid material. A cyst is not an abscess because it is a collection of pus. A cyst does not only occur in the skin but also in hollow spaces inside the body. It can be dangerous once it becomes cancerous. It can also grow in muscle tissues. Cysts can be examined through palpation for a superficial cyst while a needle aspiration can be done to test a deeper cyst. An ultrasound can also be utilized for ovarian cysts. A cyst may resolve on its own, but if not, surgery may be required to drain or eliminate it. The cause of the cyst can be attributed due to disruption of fluid, tumors, genetic conditions, infections, among other things.

A boil, on the other hand, is also called a furuncle. It is a condition whereby there is an infection of the hair follicle thus it is called folliculitis. The cause of this or the main culprit is a bacterium called staph aureus. This results in a swollen and painful area on the skin. There is pain because there is an accumulation of pus and tissue that is dead.

There is also what are called as carbuncles. It is called a carbuncle when the boils are already grouped together. Boils, besides being swollen and painful, are warm and tender meaning there is pain upon touching or palpation. The size can be from as small as a pea to as big as a golf ball, believe it or not. We may notice that in a boil there is a white point at the lump; meaning the boil is ready to explode and drain. It can be managed with medications such as anti-infectives. Larger boils are managed with medical interventions for draining. For smaller boils, topical creams are utilized.

Whether it’s a boil or a cyst, people should take care of themselves to prevent further complications.


1.A cyst can occur in hollow spaces and tissues such as the skin, muscles, and organs while boils only occur in the skin with hair follicles.
2.A cyst is caused by many factors while boils are caused by a bacteria.
3.A cyst can be diagnosed by palpation, aspiration, and ultrasound while boils are diagnosed via inspection.
4.A cyst can be managed by surgery or letting itself heal in some minor cases while a boil can be managed with surgery, drainage, and oral medications.

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