Cyst on Scalp, Head, Symptoms, Causes, Pictures, Removal, Treatment & Home Remedies

A cyst on scalp is simply a fluid filled bump or lump that develops just underneath the skin. Most skin cyst are common and harmless and can develop on any part of the body. Bumps on scalp can have different condition which in most case will be accompanied by varying symptoms. Most can be large, itchy and painful.

This topic covers some of the common cause of the cyst, different types of cyst, their symptoms, treatment and how to get rid and remove the cyst. Though most cyst are said to be harmless, proper diagnosis may be required to rule out harmful growths that might develop on scalp. This include such things as cancerous growths on head.

Pilar cyst on scalp

There are different types of cyst that can develop on your scalp. Pilar cyst is one of them. Just like a sebaceous cyst, a Pilar cyst on scalp may appear as a sac filled with fluid and semi-fluid material. A Pilar cyst can be small, large, painless or painful.

A Pilar Cyst on Scalp Picture

A Pilar Cyst on Scalp Picture

Also known as a trichilemmal cyst, a Pilar cyst is a common cyst that forms on the hair follicle. Pilar cysts are common on the scalp. They are often smooth, mobile and in most cases willed with keratin.

Pilar cyst on scalp requires surgical excision to get rid of the cyst. There are different surgical procedures that your health care provider may use to get rid of the cyst. A scar may be left behind after the cyst is removed.

Epidermoid cyst on scalp

Unlike sebaceous cyst and Pilar cyst, an epidermoid cyst on scalp is a cyst where the cyst sac forms from cells that normally occur on the top layer of the epidermis. Though common in young and middle aged adults, anybody can develop this kind of cysts.

Both Pilar and epidermoid cyst on scalp show no symptoms. They can, however, become infected at such point, they become red, inflamed and painful. When infected, a course of antibiotic may help clear the infection.

Like Pilar cyst, epidermoid cyst on scalp are benign and do not spread to other parts of the body. They are harmless and are only treated for cosmetic purposes.

Cyst on scalp symptoms

In rare cases, it might be difficult to tell whether a bump on scalp is a cyst or a harmful growth that requires urgent medical attention. In such cases, proper medical diagnosis is required. See your health care provider once you notice hard, soft or painless growth on your scalp.

Cyst, bump or lump on scalp will in most cases show different symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be very helpful in the diagnosis of what might be causing the cyst. Some people find it difficult to differentiate between cyst, boil, and abscess. A clear distinction, however, is that boils and abscess can be very painful and are often filed with pus which indicates the presence of an infection.

The symptoms of a scalp cyst will as said vary depending on the type and the underlying cause of the cyst. Bumps or Cyst on scalp will most likely show the following symptoms:

  • The cyst  is a round, dome-shaped lump
  • It is often yellow or white in color
  • Will range in size from a smaller to large bump on scalp
  • Will most like appear on other parts of the body (most common with epidermoid cyst)
  • Cyst on scalp can be painless or painful
  • They can turn into a boil or abscess, in such case, they become painful and may be filled with foul smelling pus

Cyst on scalp causes

What cause cyst on scalp? Bumps, lumps, cyst, or pimples on scalp can develop or form for different reasons. There is an array of causes that might lead to such bumps. As mentioned, cysts are common, harmless and can develop on any part of the body.

Regardless of what the cause of the scalp cyst, proper diagnoses is advised. As seen, a cyst can develop into a boil or abscess, it becomes painful, infected and irritating. It may also be filled with foul smelling pus which can be embarrassing and annoying.

Some of the common causes of bumps, lumps or cyst on scalp will include the following:

1. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common cause of cyst and bumps on scalp. Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles that can occur on any part of the body. This condition is however common on beard area, buttocks, arms and on legs.

Folliculitis can be caused by bacterial or viral infection on scalp. You are likely to get this condition if you use a hot tub, work with substance that can block the follicles, or have an infected cut on your scalp.

With this condition, the cyst appears as red pimples with hair in the center. Mild cases of folliculitis can be managed at home with simple remedies such as applying a warm compress and using medicated shampoo.

If however the bumps become inflamed or fail to go away, urgent medical attention may be required.

2. Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is the other common cause of cyst on scalp. Like folliculitis, this is an inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white and yellowish scales to form on oily areas of the body. The condition is common on scalp, face, and inside the ear among other parts.

The actual cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. The cause is however believed to be a combination of stress, genetic factors, weather condition and fungal infection.

The bumps will in some cases clear on their own without treatment. In other cases, however, medical diagnosis and treatment will be required.

3. Scalp psoriasis

Cyst on scalp can also be a sign of scalp psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common skin condition marked by red, itchy and inflamed patches on skin and scalp. The condition is caused by a speed up in skin production process.

There are different type of psoriasis but most can be shown with red, raised or inflamed patches on skin. Other symptoms include:

  • Soreness around the patches
  • Itching and a feeling of burning sensation
  • Silver-white scales on scalp

4. Poor shaving method

Poor shaving and other hair removal methods can also lead to the formation of cyst.  These methods can also lead to the formation of ingrown hair that forms when hair strand fails to penetrate out of the skin or grows back into the skin.

Ingrown hair cyst are common and harmless unless when infected. They can be large or small depending on the amount of sebum, dead skin cell and dirt they continue to accumulate.

A simple warm compress and applying aloe Vera gel may help prevent an infection and speed up the healing of this kind of cyst.

Other causes of cyst or bumps on scalp include:

  1. Poor hygiene
  2. Dry scalp
  3. Stress
  4. Increased sebum production

Cyst on scalp pictures

Depending on what the cause of the bump on your head or scalp is, these bumps will often vary in appearance from one person to the other. Here are some images, photo of how a cyst on scalp looks like.

Cyst on Scalp Picture

Cyst on Scalp Picture

Sebaceous cyst on scalp photos

A sebaceous cyst on scalp will differ from other types of cyst or bumps that might appear scalp. As said sebaceous cyst are common and most will require no treatment to get rid. Maintaining proper hygiene is one of the things you can do to prevent these bumps.

Sebaceous cyst on scalp can vary in size and texture and in some cases, it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, irritation and painful swelling on scalp.

Here is how a sebaceous cyst on scalp looks like.

A Sebacous cyst on scalp picture

A Sebacous cyst on scalp picture

Cyst on scalp Painful or hurts

Large or small cyst on scalp can be painful, hurting and irritating especially when infected. The symptoms exhibited by a cyst will often depend on what the underlying cause or cause of the cyst is.

A cyst can be very painful especially when drained, scratched or popped. Doing this also opens the cyst for a possible viral or bacterial infection that might cause the cyst to accumulate pus and dead skin cell. In such cases, the cyst will become painful, itchy and most possible discharge a foul smelling semi solid content.

A painful cyst on scalp can be a clear sign of an infection. Other symptoms might include itching and irritation. The cyst might also turn red and tender and may feel warm when feeling with your finger. To relieve a painful cyst that hurts you can apply cold compress. All you have to do is wrap some ice cubes in a clean towel and place it on the cyst.

If the cyst continues to hurt, then it is recommended you have your health care provider check it out as soon as possible. Over the counter pain, relievers may help bring down the pain. For infected cyst, oral or topical antibiotics can be prescribed.

Cyst on scalp treatment

Treatment for a cyst on scalp often starts with a simple diagnosis to determine whether or not the bump is infected. A medical diagnosis of a cyst will also help determine whether or not a cyst is cancerous or benign.

When treating a cyst, your dermatologist is most likely to perform a CT scan, ultrasound or a punch biopsy. He or she will then prescribe the appropriate medical option to try and get rid of the cyst and other symptoms accompanying it.

Treatment option of bump on scalp will include:

1. Draining the cyst

Large, painful fluid filled cyst are treated by draining the content out. This gives the cyst time to heal and prevent it from becoming infected if it is not already infected. In most cases, cyst on scalp, face and other parts of the body are removed for cosmetic reasons.

You should not try to pop or drain a cyst at home. This increases the chances of the cyst becoming infected. When a cyst is infected, it becomes red, painful, and warm when felt with your finger. An infected cyst is also filled with foul smelling pus.

2. Surgical removal of the cyst

Surgery is the best way to treat a cyst not only on the scalp but on any part of the body. Without surgery, most people end up develop cyst. It can be on the same site or Ion different part of the body.

To remove a cyst with surgery, your dermatologist may recommend:

  • A conventional wide excision where the cyst is completely removed. This procedure may leave a large painful scar on our scalp.
  • Minimal excision which leaves a small scar or
  • A laser with punch biopsy excision

3. Antibiotics

After the cyst is drained or removed by surgery, your doctor may give an antibiotic ointment to prevent the wound for getting infected. In cases where the cyst was infected, oral antibiotics or antiviral drugs may be prescribed to get rid of bacterial and viral infection respectively.

Sebaceous cyst on scalp removal

Sebaceous cyst are not harmful. In most cases, no treatment is required to get rid of them. When the cyst are however left untreated for long, they may end developing into large bumps that can be annoying and painful. In such cases, urgent surgical procedures may be required to get rid of the lump.

Surgery is the best way of removing or getting rid of a cyst. With surgery, you reduce the chances of the cyst coming back. To safely remove cyst, you need to have the procedure done by a professional health care provider. This way, you reduce the chances of the cyst or wound getting infected.

A dermatologist will recommend a conventional wide excision, a minimal excision or remove the cyst with laser punch biopsy.

Cyst on scalp home remedies

At home, there are simple remedies you can use to not only get rid of the cyst on scalp but also relieve some of the symptoms including itching, irritation, and pain that might be caused by the cyst.

Some of the remedies described below might not work for infected cyst. Before trying on some of these home remedies, you will need to be sure that the cyst is not infected and what type of cyst you have. The remedies can work very well on sebaceous cyst and other bumps like those caused by poor shaving methods.

You can try the following natural remedies to get rid of cyst and bumps on scalp at home. Take caution and seek medical assistance if the symptoms persist and the cyst becomes very painful and irritating.

1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is one of the most effective natural remedy used for different skin disorders. Tea oil is rich in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that might help speed up the healing of a cyst. The oil may also reduce inflammation and relieve itching.

To use the remedy:

  • Gently clean your scalp with warm water and a mild soap
  • Dry your scalp and apply the remedy directly on the cyst
  • For those with sensitive skin, apply small amount of dilute tea tree oil
  • Do this twice or thrice in a day

2. Aloe Vera gel

The other great natural remedy you can use at home is Aloe Vera gel. Like tea tree oil, aloe Vera has strong antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities that might work well when treating a cyst not only n scalp but on other parts of the body.

For popped cyst on scalp, Aloe Vera gel will help speed up its healing. What you need to do is:

  • Cut a fresh ale Vera leave length wise to get the gel
  • Scoop the gel in a clean jar
  • Apply the  gel directly on scalp and leave it on
  • Do this repeatedly  twice or thrice in a day

3. Apple cider vinegar

You can also try apple cider vinegar to get rid of the cyst naturally at home. ACV can be used on infected cyst on scalp that are filled with pus.

When attempting to get rid of swollen, infected cyst apply the remedy directly on the bump and cover it with a clean bandage for a day or two. Apple cider will lead to the formation of a hard layer which can easily be removed to get rid of the pus.

4. Witch hazel

Witch hazel can also help you treat a cyst at home. On skin and on scalp, the astringent properties of witch hazel helps speed up the healing of a sebaceous cyst and another type of skin cyst. Witch hazel is also a great remedy for cystic acne on face.

5. Warm compress

A simple warm compress might be all you need to relieve the pain, itching, irritation, and inflammation caused by the cyst.

Applying a warm compress to a sebaceous cyst or other types of cyst works by speeding up their healing. Increased blood flow to the affected area helps fight infection, prevent swelling and inflammation.


  1. Skin cyst:
  2. Scalp cyst growth:
  3. How to get rid of scalp cyst:
  4. Treatment for cyst:
  5. Cyst lumps bumps on skin:
  6. Home remedies for cyst:
  7. Pilar cyst on scalp symptoms: