What Is A Hair Follicle Cyst? What Are Its Causes And Remedies?

Hair follicle cysts are basically associated with the involvement of the sebaceous glands, located at the base of the hair follicle and hence are considered to be a type of sebaceous cysts. Since hair follicle cysts are located in the epidermis, they may also be referred to as epidermoid cysts, though true sebaceous cysts are rare.

A typical hair follicle cyst is usually found on the scalp, though it may affect any part of the body. The cysts are usually mobile and smooth. These cysts are usually filled with a protein substance called keratin, which is an important component of hair, skin and nails.

Usually these cysts are painless, though in some cases they may be tender to touch. Typically, a hair follicle cyst may appear as a dome shaped lump, which is usually small and located under the skin. If the cyst is infected, it may be associated with a foul smelling discharge with redness and tenderness around the cyst.

In about one third of cases of hair follicle cysts are solitary; while in the remaining two third of cases, they proliferate and result in multiple hair follicle cysts.

While these cysts are usually benign in nature, in very rare cases, they may become malignant.

What Causes Hair Follicle Cyst?

In most cases, hair follicle cysts are formed from the outer sheath of the root of the hair follicle. While the cause for the condition is not known, experts have suggested these cysts are formed due to budding of the outer part of the sheath root, due to aberration caused genetically. These cysts are found in areas of high hair follicle concentration and hence the scalp is the most common site for occurrence of hair follicle cysts.

Some suggest that the cysts may be caused due to injury to the skin caused by acne or otherwise. In general, these cysts are lined by stratified squamous epithelial cells, which don’t contain granular cells and are usually filled with keratin. Occasionally the condition may be misdiagnosed for squamous cell carcinoma, due to presence of dyskeratotic and mitotic cells.

Natural Remedies For Hair Follicle Cyst

If the hair follicle cyst is not associated with any symptoms, there is no treatment required. However, the cyst may require treatment if it is associated with cosmetic concerns, pain or infection. In such cases, surgical excision and drainage is recommended, though antibiotics and steroid injections may be used to alleviate some of the symptoms. There are a host of natural and home remedies that can be useful in dealing with these hair follicle cysts,

  • Local application of turmeric paste helps in reducing inflammation and also fights bacterial infections. Turmeric is useful in case the cyst is associated with redness, pain or infection. Consuming turmeric internally can also help boost immunity and deal with infected hair follicle cysts.
  • Tea tree oil application during the initial stages of a hair follicle cyst prevents secondary infection and also hastens the healing process.
  • Homeopathic drug Sulphur and Graphitis, taken in low potency and repeated once a day for 15 days can help reduce the recurrence of hair follicle cysts.
  • A healthy scalp regimen, involving regular hair wash, application of coconut oil in the hair and using natural scrub like lemon juice can be helpful since hair follicle cysts are usually found in the scalp. One can try a healthy scalp therapy; however there is no evidence of this being effective in managing hair follicle cysts.

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