The skin is made up of millions of skin cells. There is a constant process of regeneration and degeneration of skin cells. The dead skin cells are shed away making way for new skin cells. Skin shedding occurs in upper layer of skin called epidermis.
Whenever this regular process is deranged, some skin issue crops up. Hair follicle cyst is one such minor skin problem which develops when the dead skin cells are not shed as they should from the epidermis. The cyst is also called epidermoid cyst.
Hair follicle cyst is commonly found on scalp, although it may also develop on trunk and face.It usually develops in places which has dense hair growth. The cyst is small dome shaped growth with a smooth surface beneath the skin. It is mobile and you can move the cyst between your fingers. The hair follicle cyst is white or yellowish in color. It is a painless lump under the skin and consists of keratin and fat.
Keratin is a type of protein present in hair, skin and nail. It has small black opening in the center, probably a primitive stage of hair follicle from which the cyst has developed.A thick white caseous material can be extracted from the cyst. If the cyst gets infected the cheesy material has foul smell. Hair follicle cysts are small in size and often they are solitary benign growth.
What Causes Hair Follicle Cyst?
The exact cause of hair follicle cyst is not known. However, the most common reason experts believe is due to skin cells blocking the follicle. Minor injuries to skin can cause damage to skin cells. They can block the area of hair follicle that is lying deep inside the skin. Poor exfoliation of skin is found to be associated with formation of this type of cyst.
- Hair follicle cyst can also develop due to acne. This skin condition can damage the underlying skin structure along with hair follicle present in it.
- As the name suggests such cysts are generally found in areas having dense hair growth. It is therefore more common on scalp and face.
- The cyst can also occur when sebaceous gland is ruptured or it is mal developed genetically. Sebaceous gland produces oil to lubricate the skin and hair. The gland is close to the hair follicles. However, as many believe hair follicle cyst is not sebaceous cyst.
- Frequent minor skin injuries and acne increases the risk of hair follicle cyst.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of A Hair Follicle Cyst
Majority of hair follicle cysts are small and they remain asymptomatic. It means they do not produce any symptoms. In such case, treatment may not be required. Some people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons; while in some it may be a discomfort due to pain and tenderness as a result of infection. In such situation, the cyst has to be removed surgically, although antibiotics may help to alleviate few symptoms.
The symptoms of hair follicle cyst can also be alleviated with natural remedies:
- Apply turmeric paste prepared by mixing turmeric powder and small amount of water. Turmeric has valuable natural antibacterial properties. It helps to reduce inflammation and infection of the cyst.
- A proper scalp and skin care will help to prevent hair follicle cyst. Wash your hair regularly and use a gentle shampoo to rinse away dirt from the scalp region.
- Applying Tea tree oil in the beginning helps to reduce inflammation and also enhance healing process of an infected cyst.
- Homeopathic medicines are found effective in treating hair follicle cyst. Consult a homeopath for treating this condition.