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A scalp cyst is very much like a cyst on any other part of the body. Scalp cysts usually look and feel like a pimple and typically occur when a hair follicle in the scalp becomes infected. In addition to looking and feeling like a pimple, they may also bleed and leak keratin, which is a whitish-colored fluid, similar in appearance and texture to pus. Most of the time scalp cysts are fairly small in size and go away without any medical treatment. It is possible for cysts to become very large and cause hair loss and other problems, but this is extremely rare.
There are several different things that might cause a scalp cyst to form. Some people are genetically predisposed to cysts on the scalp, while other people occasionally get them because of excess oil on the scalp. When the hair and scalp get too oily, the follicles can become blocked, which can cause a cyst to form on the scalp. People who frequently scratch their heads might also be more susceptible to cysts on the scalp because excessive scratching can injure hair follicles. Research also suggests that cysts are more likely to form after a person experiences a sudden increase in testosterone levels.
Most doctors agree the best method of treatment for very small, pimple-like scalp cysts is to simply leave them alone. A person should avoid squeezing or picking at scalp cysts because these actions can irritate the cyst, which might cause infection and swelling. Small cysts will almost always go away with no treatment over time. In addition to not touching the cyst, keeping the hair and scalp clean while the cyst is present may also help ensure it goes away quickly.
If a person's has a cyst staysthat on the scalp for longer than a few weeks, is very painful to the touch, or grows to a large size, it may be necessary for him to see a doctor. Cysts that get worse instead of better and do not go away on their own often have to be treated with antibiotics. Even though it is rare, scalp cysts occasionally grow to be as large as golf balls and must be surgically removed or professionally drained. A person's best chance of preventing these potential problems may be to avoid touching or picking at his cysts and to see a doctor if his cyst doesn't appear to be improving after a few weeks.