A Few Things Worth Knowing About The Scalp Cyst
A scalp cyst is fortunately usually quite small, and more often than not does not cause any particular problem. In many cases however, removal of the cyst is needed. When not done by a doctor or dermatologist, the condition is apt to recur, or infection may result in some cases. A scalp cyst is normally what is referred to as an epidermal cyst, a skin cyst if you prefer. These types of cysts were commonly called sebaceous cysts, but the terms epidermal cyst and epidermoid cyst have come into fashion in recent years.
If you have a scalp cyst it will generally be felt as a small bump, no bigger than a pimple, which often is tender to the touch. These cysts are the result of a hair follicle infection, which can occur if the follicle has for whatever reason become blocked. Blockage may occur because of an accumulation of dirt or dead skin cells, though in some cases may be due to a genetic factor. The blocked follicle then fills with keratin, a protein which is present in hair, and has a white pus-like appearance. The keratin sometimes solidifies forming what is in essence a plug. As the follicle fills, the skin around it will swell, giving rise to the small bump we may feel.
Cysts, when small, are often treated with a medication or antibiotic. When this fails, the scalp cyst may have to be surgically removed. Attempting the remove the cyst by squeezing it is more often than not an exercise in futility, as the cyst contains a sac, and unless the sac is removed, the cyst will most likely return. A scalp cyst should always be treated by a physician or dermatologist should removal be necessary, to ensure the sac is removed, and to lessen the chances of scarring or infection.
Cleanliness Is Effective – Maintaining a clean scalp is one way to eliminate cysts, though this may seem a slow process. Often a shampoo-like medication, used daily or as prescribed, will hasten the process, cleansing the scalp at the same time. Maintaining a clean scalp will also go a long ways towards preventing future occurrences of the scalp cyst. One home remedy, believed to be quite effective, calls for steeping crushed or ground thyme leaves in hot water, placing the leaves in the water while it is still boiling. Once cool, the strained mixture is poured on the area of the scalp where the cyst is present and allowing the “thyme tea” to sit for half an hour before rinsing.
Hair Loss - One effect of the scalp cyst can be hair loss, especially is a number of cysts are present. This is simply due to the fact that affected hair follicles are either plugged or infected. Most of the time the cyst simply pushes against the wall of one or more hair follicles, and when this happens hair will not emerge. Once the cysts have been effectively treated, or surgically removed, normal hair growth will usually resume.
Is Malignancy A Concern? - Cysts are in general benign, but in some cases, if associated with fibromas or lipomas of the skin, may fall into the category of being premalignant. In some instances a dermatologist may perform a histological evaluation of a cyst sac that has been removed, but cases of cancer associated with cysts are really very rare. In those instances where a cyst has become inflamed or infected, a doctor will usually treat it with antibiotics and wait for the condition to subside before attempting to remove the cyst, to avoid spreading of the infection. Waiting until the infection subsides also will ensure a faster and more complete healing process.
Summary - A scalp cyst is normally not of great concern, but the one thing to remember is not to try to physically remove it on your own. It can sometimes be effectively treated with medication or a home remedy, but if it requires removal, let a doctor or dermatologist perform that duty.