• Dr. Pimple Popper uses tweezers, a scalpel and her famous squeeze grip to pull out the multi-layered contents of a pilar cyst.
• She and an off-camera companion compare the brown-orange debris to a pea and then a baby tooth in size, but that’s just the first step of extraction.
• Pilar cysts are usually on the scalp and the result of keratin trapped in a hair follicle. They can gradually grow to the size of a quarter or a ping pong ball.
The pilar cyst is basically the king of cysts. The scalp formation develops from keratin trapped inside hair follicles, and then accumulates gradually creating a mega-bump that is often irritatingly trapped beneath a tuft of hair.
In a new video, Dr. Pimple Popper—aka, dermatologist and TLC host Dr. Sandra Lee, MD— uses her famous squeeze grip to pop open the orange-brown innards of a pilar cyst from a woman’s head. She and another woman off-camera then trade size comparisons: “It’s like the size of a pea.” “Actually, it’s like the side of a baby tooth.” In the end, Dr. Pimple Popper goes with “orange seed.”
But this was only the first step. Dr. Lee then reaches for a scalpel and tweezers to remove the sack that was holding the keratin cluster. With the extraction of gushy small organic bits, it looks a little like a frog dissection in sophomore biology.
Pilar cysts, also called wens, are benign—and they’re also unsightly, particularly when tucked beneath hair and growing together in clusters, as they sometimes do. The greatest risk is rupture leading to infection, because they can become so large, between the size of a quarter and that of a ping pong ball (just in case you were looking for more comparisons).