Q: I keep getting white heads called sebaceous cysts on my face and have had some removed surgically by a dermatologist. What causes them, and how can I get rid of them?
Dr. Wright: While I can’t tell you exactly what causes sebaceous cysts, I can tell you what has helped many of my patients eliminate them. These cysts are filled with a semi- solid, semi-liquid, oily (“sebaceous”) material that can be dissolved with a combination of SSKI, a saturated solution of potassium iodide, and DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide).
I typically recommend mixing an ounce or two of each together (initially the mixture will become very warm, but it will cool off in two to three minutes), then rubbing a few drops of the SSKI/DMSO mixture vigorously into the sebaceous cyst at least twice daily. Be patient — you usually won’t see any results for several weeks, but if you persist, there’s an excellent chance the sebaceous cyst will disappear over the course of a few months.
Keep in mind that the SSKI/DMSO solution won’t work on cysts that are filled with something other than sebaceous material. It also won’t work on lipomas, which are benign tumors made up of solid fats.
SSKI, which is sold by the name “Tri-Quench” (Scientific Botanicals, Seattle) and DMSO are both available through some natural food stores, compounding pharmacies, and the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary. SSKI is also available by prescription.
One caution: Continuous use of SSKI (or iodine) can potentially slow thyroid function in a few sensitive individuals. So, as always, be sure to work with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural and nutritional medicine if you decide to use SSKI against sebaceous cysts.