Poor hair care often leads to cysts on the scalp, they feel like pimples and are usually small. This article discusses the condition in detail and its treatment.
Cysts can appear on any part of the body. Cysts on the scalp are sebaceous cysts, which people often fail to notice as it grows very slowly and is usually painless. More often than not it’s a benign condition, which heals on its own. However, occasionally it gets infected and can cause severe discomfort, a scalp cyst in rare conditions may also be found to be cancerous. This article will give you information about the structure and growth, causes, symptoms and treatment of scalp cysts.
Structure and Growth of Cysts
Sebaceous cysts are a sac of cells into which a pus like fluid is filled. This fluid is keratin, a protein, which is also present in the shaft of the hair. The presence of keratin gives the feeling of lumps in the scalp, as the skin around the hair follicle gets swollen. It has a strong foul smell, which makes the scalp smelly. Cysts develop slowly over a period of time and can be soft or hard, they are usually easily movable under the skin and are painless. The size of cysts varies from a few millimeters to five centimeters in diameter, all cysts are initially small, and in rare cases, grow to the size of a golf ball. It is usually white in color and may sometimes appear red due to pigmentation. It is often overlooked, as it grows very slowly. However, it is exposed in people with fine hair or baldness.
Causes of Scalp Cysts
Scalp cysts are commonly sebaceous cysts, which develop when the hair follicle or the shaft from which hair grows gets blocked, this can be due to various reasons. The most common reason being poor hair care, which results in accumulation of oil, dirt and dead cells in the follicles. Sebaceous cysts may also occur due to abrasion of the skin or due to a genetic condition, Gardner’s syndrome. They may sometimes be small and heal within a week, but if it gets infected, it can lead to many complications.
Symptoms of Scalp Cysts
People often do not even observe a cyst, as it is not painful and is usually very small. However, once it gets infected, it can be very unpleasant. The area around the cysts becomes red and sensitive and the scalp may also become extremely itchy. Along with that, a white or yellow fluid, with a foul smell may be discharged from the area. These are typically the signs of an infected cyst. There may also be some hair loss around the area, it is very little and does not lead to balding. All these symptoms can be very embarrassing and lead to low self-esteem, it is important to take medical help to prevent the infection from aggravating.
Treatment of Scalp Cysts
Many a time, it is observed that cysts recede over time, without any medication. However, in case it does not subside or there is growth, do not fear. There are treatments in place, to get rid of these cysts as soon as they appear. Doctors inject steroids into the cyst, if it is very small or else they drain it. Sometimes, as an alternative, antibiotics may be used to treat it. Warm compress may also be useful for the removal of the cyst. In severe cases, doctors will opt for surgery to remove the cysts. Not all cysts are cancerous, however there is always a possibility of cancer, which can be detected by a biopsy. Most often than not, sebaceous cysts are found to be benign.
Under no condition whatsoever, should one try draining the cyst on their own. It will only aggravate the condition that can lead to scars, secondary infection and hair loss. Only doctors can drain it safely, without damaging the scalp. If there is unusual growth over a short period, a doctor should immediately be consulted. The only way to prevent the growth of scalp cyst is by washing your hair on a regular basis to maintain hygiene of the scalp.