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Causes and treatment for pilar cysts

What are the causes and treatment for pilar cysts?

Causes and treatment for pilar cysts 

Pilar cysts are a type of hair follicle tumor. They are usually non-cancerous (benign) and can appear on any part of the body that has hair follicles. Pilar cysts are most common on the scalp, calf, and groin.

Pilar cysts are also known as trichilemmal cysts are benign cystic masses that occur as a result of blockage of the hair follicle opening. They are flesh-colored or skin-colored, dome-shaped, and small in size. Pilar cysts are diagnosed clinically and they can be present on the face, neck, armpit, trunk, and scalp. 

How are Pilar Cysts Diagnosed?

Pilar cysts can be diagnosed easily at home based on the signs and individual risk factors. However, you should always consult your doctor for confirmation. They can easily identify the underlying causes that may be more serious than you think.  

Your doctor might perform a biopsy which involves taking a small sample of the tissue from the affected area and sending it to the lab for microscopic evaluation. Sometimes, a CT scan is also advised to rule out the possibility of cancer and other types of cysts.

What are the Causes of Pilar Cysts on the Scalp?

Pilar cysts are microscopic. They can be easily diagnosed by a doctor or dermatologist. They are caused due to the blockage of hair follicles.

Pilar cysts on the scalp are common skin conditions and affect both men and women of all ages. However, they are more commonly found in middle-aged women.

Pilar cysts on the scalp can also be caused by: 

  • Injury to the scalp Sunburn Trauma Surgery Scarring
  • As with any other health issue, prevention is easier than cure.

What are the Treatments for Pilar Cysts? 

The most common sites for pilar cysts are the face, scalp, and neck. The presence of pilar cysts on the scalp usually causes itching, small bumps, pain, and inflammation. 

Pilar cysts usually heal on their own but you can try out holding a clean and warm washcloth to reduce the swelling around it.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat an infected cyst and if you want, you can go for surgery as well.

For surgery, you will be given local anesthesia before the cyst is removed. There are generally two methods of cyst removal:

  • Making a small cut in the skin to drain the materials inside the cyst.
  • Removing the entire cyst without cutting.

Doctors can prescribe oral antibiotics and other ointments to treat these symptoms. We also recommend consulting your doctor if you experience any pain after surgery.

There is no guarantee that cysts will not return after surgery. So, it is totally up to you whether you want to go for surgical removal or prescribed medications. However, always stay alert and keep an eye on the cyst to identify any unusual changes in its structure or unexpected growth.

After the surgery, the doctor will apply a dressing. Avoid wetting and touching the affected area.

How Long Does it Take for Pilar Cyst Removal to Heal Completely?

Stitches might take 4 - 5 weeks to heal completely and if the incision is left open, it may take a few more weeks or even months to heal.

How to Know if a Pilar Cyst is Cancerous?

In very rare cases, pilar cysts become cancerous. However, the only legit way to confirm whether a cyst is cancerous is to have it biopsied by a specialist. It involves surgically removing some or all of the cystic lump. The doctors may look at the tissue from the cyst under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

Who is at Risk of Developing Pilar Cysts?

  • Pilar cysts occur in 5–10% of the population.
  • Pilar cysts occur most commonly in middle-aged women.
  • Pilar cysts may run in families.

Pilar Cyst and Epidermoid

Pilar cyst and Epidermoid are commonly known as “Sebaceous Cysts”. They are overgrowths of skin cells held together in the form of a capsule or lump. They are usually harmless and non-cancerous. These cysts do not necessarily require removal unless they bother you extensively. 

Sebaceous cysts can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the back and scalp.

What to Eat to Reduce Cysts?

Pilar cysts are most commonly seen as an extraordinary growth on the scalp. The cysts can either be developed by themselves or from a hair follicle. Pilar cysts on the scalp may look like small bumps and this is medically known as pilar or trichilemmal cysts. 

There is no way to prevent pilar cysts but one can take precautionary measures to reduce the possibility of developing cysts. Healthy options include eating foods rich in fiber like broccoli, almonds, berries, etc. Lean proteins such as fish, tofu, and chicken. Foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties like tomatoes, turmeric, olive oil, and kale.

Take Away

To prevent infection and potential scarring, you should avoid squeezing the cyst or popping it to drain the liquid. Also, refrain from sticking a needle in the cyst or cutting it by yourself to remove the cyst.