ayurvedic oil massage of the scalp image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com

A cyst is a sac that can be filed with air, fluid or tissue. They can appear anywhere on the body. Scalp cysts can range in size and shape and are typically benign. Learning about the various types of scalp cysts can can exist, what treatment methods are available and any side effects or warnings can help you to understand this type of cyst should you experience one.


There are several types of cysts that can be found on the scalp. One of the most frequently diagnosed type of scalp cyst is an epidermoid cyst. These cysts can be anywhere between a few millimeters to 5 cm in diameter. Typically, epidermoid cysts can be moved under the skin. Sometimes scalp cysts such as epidermoid cysts form because of infected hair follicles or acne.


A common misconception about scalp cysts is that they are all cancerous. While some are found to be cancerous most are not. If you find a cyst on your scalp consult a doctor. Only a biopsy of the tissue can determine whether or not a cyst is benign or not. Once the biopsy has been complete, further treatment options may be discussed.


A scalp cyst develops as a small bump under the skin and grows with time. Sometimes these cysts form from milia or tiny white heads that never come to the surface. Symptoms to watch for include yellow or white drainage accompanied by a foul smell and red or tender areas surrounding the cyst. This could be a sign of infection and should be evaluated by a doctor.


There is no known way to prevent epidermoid cysts but there are solutions to this issue. One solution for dealing with this type of cyst is removal. When an epidermoid cyst grows larger than 5 cm, become infected or ruptures, surgical removal should be considered.


Most scalp cysts start as a small lump and grow over a period of several years under the skin. If you notice your cyst has enlarged substantially over just a few months, consult your physician. Typically epidermoid cysts slightly loose under the skin; if the cyst hardens or becomes immobile under the skin seek medical attention immediately.