The skin’s surface is covered in cells that are constantly being shed and regenerated. As these cells shed or fail to do so, some common skin issues can occur. A hair follicle cyst is one such issue that may arise from the incomplete shedding of the epidermis. Also known as an epidermoid cyst, these cysts are small bumps that develop beneath the skin at the site of a hair follicle.
Hair follicle cysts are relatively common and cause little medical concern. Nonetheless, these cysts may appear unsightly or cause slight discomfort. A hair follicle cyst appears as a small round cyst or bump that is easy to move with the finger. Such cysts are generally white to yellow in color but may appear darker in an individual with darker skin. The cysts range in size from ¼ inch to nearly 2 inches in diameter and can occur nearly anywhere on the body but are most common on the face, trunk, and neck. Hair follicle cysts often have a small central opening, which is the remnant of the hair follicle from which the cyst formed. If squeezed, the follicle may excrete a thick, white to yellowish cheesy material.
Generally speaking, hair follicle cysts form from a small blackhead stuck in the hair follicle. This plug or blockage may be caused by the abnormal exfoliation of dead skin, damage to the follicle, a ruptured sebaceous gland, developmental defect, or heredity. A cyst caused by blockage originating in the sebaceous gland is known as a sebaceous cyst rather than an epidermoid cyst.
Natural Remedies for Hair Follicle Cysts
While surgery is often the typical route for treatment of hair follicle cysts, many natural options can be used to reduce the size of cysts and avoid surgical treatment.
Zinc acetate, gluconate or citrate supplements reduce cyst size and inflammation. Likewise, vitamin E serves as an antioxidant to clear clogged glands when taken daily. Cleansing the area with salt water and massaging it with tea tree oil should also help diminish the clog and cure the cyst.
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