A woman who has been living with a huge ‘unicorn horn’ pilar cyst on her head finally has it popped in The Bad Skin Clinic – but not before it covers the top skin doctor in putrid yellow gunk.
Tonight’s episode of Quest Red’s The Bad Skin Clinic focuses on Samantha, from the UK, who for the past two years, has been living with a large, spherical cyst on the top of her head.
But despite hiding it the best she can with her bright multi-coloured hair, she admits that the bump has shattered her confidence.
‘There’s no hiding it. I don’t know what the right word is, probably disgusting,’ she says. ‘That’s just how it makes me feel. Before I was outgoing and bubbly, and now I’d rather not be seen.’
Samantha (pictured), from the UK, who appears in tonight’s episode of Quest Red’s The Bad Skin Clinic, has been living with a large, spherical cyst on the top of her head for the past two years
Sticking out of the top of her head, the lump (pictured) is instantly noticeable, something Samantha has clocked on to when talking to friends
Sticking out of the top of her head, the lump is instantly noticeable, something Samantha has clocked on to when talking to friends.
‘It appeared about two years ago as a really small bump that I didn’t think anything of, and gradually it got bigger,’ she reveals. ‘When I look in the mirror it shouts at me. I just can’t help but look at it. Everybody looks at it when I’m talking to them, it’s upsetting that it’s there and I can’t hide it.’
Alesha, Samantha’s daughter, admits that she’s seen a change in her mum ever since the bump appeared.
‘Before the lump appeared, she was really confident and she’d throw loads of parties all the time, we’d have loads of fun. But it just sort of stopped,’ she says. ‘It’s destroying her self-confidence.’
With her confidence at an all time low, Samantha turns to Dermatological Surgeon and skin superhero Dr Emma Craythorne at her Harley Street clinic to see if she can finally say goodbye to her head cyst and take back control of her life.
Samantha turns to Dermatological Surgeon and skin superhero Dr Emma Craythorne at her Harley Street clinic to see if she can finally say goodbye to her head cyst and take back control of her life. Pictured, during the procedure
The expert numbs Samantha’s head cyst with a local anaesthetic before removing it with the help of an assistant (pictured)
‘So Samantha, apart from the most wonderful Unicorn hair, what have you come with today,’ Dr Emma asks, commenting on Samantha’s vibrant locks.
‘A sideways unicorn horn!’ Samantha jokes, showing the expert the bump on top of her head. ‘It’s a cyst. I’ve been to the doctors and that’s what I got told.’
WHAT IS A PILAR CYST?
Pilar cysts are common growths that form around a hair follicle, and are typically found on the scalp.
They form because the cells in the top layer of skin produce keratin, the protein that gives skin its strength and flexibility.
Normally, these cells move up to the surface of the skin as they start to die, so they can be shed.
But sometimes, these cells can move deeper into the skin and multiply, forming a sac – a ‘bag’ filled with fluid.
They secrete keratin into the middle of the sac, which forms a thick, yellow paste. This can ooze out of the cyst if it is burst.
Unlike other types of cysts, pilar growths strongly run in families, and are largely harmless.
They typically affect middle-aged adults, and women more than men.
Revealing all to Dr Emma, Samantha describes how the bump gets in the way of her everyday life.
‘If I catch it as I’m brushing my hair, it scratches it, obviously, because it sticks out,’ she says.
Expressing her bubbly side through her hair style, Samantha even reveals that the cyst has stopped her styling her hair the way she likes it.
‘I used to have it bright all over, whereas I’ve not been doing it bright at the top because I don’t want to draw attention to the top.’
After asking her initial set of questions, Dr Emma pops on a pair of gloves and her safety visor before inspecting the bump for herself.
‘This does actually look a little bit like a unicorn horn, but just, you know, a little baby unicorn horn where the little bud is just coming out,’ Dr Emma laughs.
But there’s nothing mythical about Samantha’s bump, as Dr Emma explains to her.
‘So this looks like a pilar cyst. They’re very common actually, but they’re not that common that you see them get quite as big as this,’ Dr Emma notes.
All scrubbed up and with masks on, she invites Samantha into the operating room before numbing her head cyst with a local anaesthetic.
Making her first incision into Samantha’s scalp, Dr Emma removes a wedge of skin so she can get at the cyst wall that lies beneath.
‘Pilar cysts don’t tend to be that fibrous and stuck down under the surrounding tissue, they tend to grow as they push everything out of the way,’ Dr Emma explains. ‘They’re just desperate almost to leave the skin.’
Feeling her way around the cyst wall bulging out of the incision wound, the expert prepares to squeeze the cyst out, ideally in one piece, sack and all.
‘It looks like a quails’ egg,’ Mottie, Dr Emma’s Assistant, jokes.
Feeling her way around the cyst wall bulging out of the incision wound, the expert prepares to squeeze the cyst out, ideally in one piece, sack and all (pictured)
The procedure isn’t as squeaky clean as Dr Emma had hoped, as the cyst wall ruptures, covering her in a flood revolting, yellow gunk (pictured)
With Mottie’s help, Dr Emma starts squeezing, forcing the cyst sack to burst through the incision wound. But the procedure isn’t as squeaky clean as Dr Emma had hoped, as the cyst wall ruptures, covering her in a flood of revolting, yellow gunk!
‘It’s amazing, isn’t it? That was super satisfying,’ Dr Emma laughs. ‘It looks like cottage cheese!’ Mottie adds.
As she is shown the dismembered cyst for the first time, Samantha can’t believe her eyes. ‘That has been growing inside of me!?’ she gasps.
With the cyst removed, all that’s left for Dr Emma to do is flush out the wound and stitch it up before sending Samantha on her way. It was only a quick procedure, but for Samantha is means the world.
‘I feel amazing, I can’t believe that Dr Emma has been able to remove the bump,’ she says. ‘It really will make a difference to my life!’
The Bad Skin Clinic airs tonight at 10pm on Quest Red, available to stream on discovery+
This post was first published on DailyMail.