Cysts: Warm compress or ice? Please help!

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I’ve never dealt with cysts before, but just last week I detected my first hard lump beneath the skin, which slowly came to a head as a red boil. It was better within three days, but I feel another, larger, more painful one coming up on my forehead. I called my derm, who told me the following:

-Heavy doses of eurythromycin (1000mg daily).
-topical anti-inflammatory

Now, I know the board members here all religiously recommend icing cysts. So I’m in a quandary. My doctor’s brief explanation was “don’t burn yourself, but keeping as warm a compress as possible on it as much as you can will bring blood flow to the surface and facilitate quicker healing, causing the swelling to go down.”

Doesn’t it seem like warm compresses could increase the problem? And yet he was very firm about this, and he’s a well-respected derm.

Any advice? For cysts, should one turn to ice or heat? Thanks so much.

  1. RexMundi added:

    A warm compress is the best route. It dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow, which is very important for healing in the area. Icing the area on the other hand, will decrease blood flow. Lower blood flow in the are may decrease swelling and redness, but that is temporary and superficial and is not actually helping at all.

    I have one of those things you put in the microwave to warm up that are used to ease sore muscles. Those work great for lasting, consistent heat. If you have anything like that, I think it will work great for a cyst.

  2. Wally added:

    Thats interesting. I’ve always heard that icing is better, though it never worked for me. Keep us updated with what you decide to do!

  3. annie added:

    Warm compresses have always been the best choice for drawing out an infection. Why icing has been recommended on many of these boards is very confusing. I was especially surprised to hear it suggested by a dermatologist in the acne cure bk. It was the first thing that made me doubt him. People are so quick to listen to whatever they hear w/out researching it for themselves. If you do a search for heat vs cold in infections, heat is the number one choice. Plus, its a very simple experiment to try on yourself. I have, and ice clearly makes the cyst stay around longer, while hot compresses can have it down within a day if you have time to repeat applications. Cold compresses are best for impact injuries where you want swelling to decrease. Where infection is present, as is the case w a cyst, you want to pull the infection to the surface w heat.