Cysts are closed pockets or sacs full of fluid, air, pus or other solid material. They can develop on anyone, including children. Cysts can be embarrassing, especially if they occur on an easy to notice spot such as your child’s head. In order to properly treat your child’s cyst, it is important to understand why they occur.
A cyst can develop anywhere on your child’s head including the scalp, face or eyebrows. It can vary from very small to up to 2 inches in diameter. A cyst can be yellowish, white or pigmented in color if your skin is dark. In some cases, you may be able to see a small blackhead or hair follicle stuck in the middle of the cyst. When squeezed, the cyst can produce a thick, cheese-like substance.
Your child can develop a cyst if one of the hair follicles on her head becomes clogged with oil or hair. An abrasion or wound can damage the hair follicle and create a cyst. Alternatively, an oil glad can rupture beneath the surface of the skin, resulting in an acne-like cyst. Cysts can also be the result of a developmental effect, where the stem cells that were supposed to form hair or nails become trapped as a cyst on the head. In addition, some conditions, such as Gardner’s syndrome, can also contribute to head cysts.
If your child’s cyst is not bothersome, you should leave it alone. However, you must visit a doctor if the cyst is painful, extremely inflamed, becomes infected or breaks open. A doctor can inject the cyst with a corticosteroid to ease inflammation and help it heal. He can also lance the cyst and allow the contents to drain. Antibiotics or topical steroids may be prescribed to speed up the healing process and reduce swelling.
Although cysts on your child’s head aren’t typically dangerous, you must see a doctor if the cyst begins to grow rapidly or develops in a spot that is consistently irritated by something, such as where your child’s glasses lie. Your child will not usually require much recovery time after a cyst is surgically treated or drained. He should be able to return to school normally after a weekend of rest.