Scalp acne is less common than acne on the face or back, they develop in the same way. Skin naturally produces a protective layer of oil known as sebum.
Sebum makes its way to the skin’s surface through pores, and excess oil, dead skin cells or other substances can clog them. Bacteria multiply in the trapped sebum, forming a pre-pimple, or a microcomedone.
As the microcomedone becomes larger and more visible, it becomes a comedone; a whitehead or a blackhead. The comedone can become inflamed and red, and it may fill with pus: Then, a zit is born.
What Causes Pimples on Scalp?
Causes of acne can be various from lack of hygiene to hormonal and internal disorders. They also vary depending in the age group. Let’s consider possible causes in details:
- Infants also suffer from rash even despite they are kept in sterile conditions. Here the wrong diet of their mothers is to be blamed, as everything that lactating women eat is delivered to their babies through the milk, so pay careful attention to your ration.
- For small children the most common cause of acne is an allergic reaction – to a new food product, care products such as shampoos, animal dander, pollen, household products, medicines and even clothes worn by the child and toys. Therefore be careful with new clothes, toys and products and always take time to make the allergy test before giving them to your child.
- Do not forget that zits can be the sign of beginning of some disease, such as chickenpox, and in this case urgent medical intervention is required. The right diagnosis can be made only by a specialist, so pay a visit to the doctor right away.
- For adolescents, that are the highest risk group, the occurrence of rashes on various parts of the body is associated with the beginning of puberty. In that age perspiratory and sebaceous glands activity is especially increased. For this reason, zits appear not only on scalp, but also on other parts of the body (face, back, chest). Clogged pores cause reproduction of pathogenic microflora inside the hair follicles, resulting in inflamed pimples on scalp. As a rule, teenage acne fully disappears by 18-20 years.
- Pregnant women or women before their period often suffer from acne because of hormonal disorders. However, such disorders can also occur on the background of various pathologies, in particular, endocrine problems. Pimples can also be caused by taking steroid drugs that are often prescribed against autoimmune diseases.
- Among everyday causes of scalp acne can be mentioned lack of personal hygiene or it’s excess. Pay attention to your shampoo or other hair care product and beauty product. You should wash your hair every second day, or, if your hair is oily or you frequently use hair dressing products, you should wash your hair daily to prevent sebaceous glands clogging.
- Any kind of allergy can provoke rash, so make an allergy test for all freshly bought cosmetics.
- Pimples can also be caused by internals issues and immune disorders, for example, digestive problems due to excess of sweets and junk food, or hepatic problems resulting from use of antibiotics.
- This problem can be related to mechanical factors: wearing tight headgear or a habit to scratch your skin.
- Another reason of such skin defect may be stress, fatigue and depression.
So now we have considered the majority of causes of pimples occurrence. The first thing necessary to get rid of them is to define what case is yours and then you will remove them easily.
What are the Symptoms of Pimples on Scalp
- Pimples on the head can be tender, scaly, itchy, inflamed and red in appearance.
- The bumps can be crusty and may be filled with a pus-like material.
- They can also be surrounded by oily or greasy skin.
- In addition, hair loss can occur in the area of scalp around the bump.
- Sometimes, such as when the bumps are the result of seborrheic dermatitis, red bumps and scaling can appear on other areas of the body such as the ears, nose and eyelids.
Reasons for Painful Pimples on Scalp
Inflamed pimples on your head are likely to hurt or become painful to touch. Red pustules can form due to superficial or deep inflammation. Acne that forms on the skull can rapture with activities such as combing and scratching, or even an attempt to pop the pimple. As a result, bacteria reach into the tissues and cause an infection that shows symptoms such as reddening, soreness, pain and sometimes the formation of scabs.
On the lower scalp, heat rash can also lead to red bumps that turn sore and painful or inflamed especially if you keep touching them or scratching the area. Dermatitis can also show as small red bumps on scalp which turn out to be itchy, inflamed pimples on scalp.
These red dots will then become pus-filled and turn into small blisters on the scalp. With time, they are likely to ooze a liquid, dry and form crusts or scabs that may bleed from time to time especially if you scratch them.
Red, painful bumps can appear on the scalp for several reasons. Skin conditions, infections and irritation may cause hair follicle inflammation, leading to pimple-like bumps or rashes and even hair loss in some areas.
Also called ringworm of the scalp, they can cause round, and red, scaly bumps on the scalp’s surface. This is due to the mold-like fungus tinea, which infects the skin and quickly progresses if not properly controlled. Bumps are usually painful with incessant itchiness and may be filled with pus. Ringworm of the scalp requires antifungal medication prescribed by a doctor. Multiple treatments are common.
This is the inflammation of one or several hair follicles anywhere on the skin. It begins when hair follicles become damaged due to external irritation of obstructed follicles. In general, the area appears red, bumpy and pimples on scalp, exhibiting pain as well as itching. Folliculitis decalvans is a condition affecting only the scalp and leads to scarring in which hair never grows back.
A bumpy patch of skin with soreness that may extend beyond the hair line indicates scalp psoriasis. Symptoms are similar to sebhorreic dermatitis of the scalp, in which there is no pain just itchiness and bumps remaining confined by the hairline. This condition can range from mild to severe with thick, crusted plaques accompanying basic symptoms.
Pimples on Back of Head behind Neck
If your pimples on scalp don’t cause pain, skin bumps on the back of your scalp are generally no cause for alarm and are usually caused by several common conditions. If you experience pain or other troublesome symptoms, do not attempt to self-diagnose your symptoms. Contact a doctor or a dermatologist immediately.
Folliculitis is caused by a bacterial infection that results from an irritation of your hair follicles, commonly caused by friction from clothing, tight hair bands or hats. As it is a contagious condition, it can also occur due to sharing hair brushes and combs with another person who has folliculitis.
Unlike folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis is not caused by a bacterial infection. Instead, it is generally thought to be caused by an overproduction of scalp oil, known as sebum, and irritation from common yeast that lives on your scalp, called malessizia. Genetic factors may be involved in sebhorrheic dermatitis, as it generally runs in families.
When Pimples on Scalp Causes Hair Loss
A condition called perifolliculitis captis is a severe form of folliculitis and scalp acne. This condition mostly affects black adult men and rarely children and women. One of the symptoms of the condition is temporary hair loss, a bald spot or hair falling out on the area with the lesions, which eventually results in scarring and forming bald patches.
This problem is corrected with hair transplant, and the root cause of the bumps treated and managed using oral isotretinoins, some antibiotics or even injections of systemic steroids. Scalp folliculitis is an inflammatory disorder of the hair follicles in the scalp.
Scalp folliculitis is characterized by small, very itchy pustules on the scalp, often most troublesome on the frontal hairline. There may be only a small number of lesions or they may be very numerous. They are hard to leave alone because of the itch. They often become sore and crusted.
Home Remedies for Pimples on Head
You can also get rid of pimples on scalp naturally using good home remedies such as tea tree oil, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. However, take care not to try to cure baby acne using home remedies because they can develop problems such as burns or allergic reactions from the ingredients you will use. Here are a few home remedies for you.
Apple cider vinegar
Wet your hair with equal parts of apple cider vinegar and lukewarm pure water. Massage your scalp for about 5 minutes before rinsing. This will clear and open scalp pores, disinfect them and help cure scalp acne and zits, itching, dandruff and even head lice.
Tea tree oil
This home remedy is known to work because of its antiseptic properties. Use it on the scalp to help treat scalp pimples and get rid of dandruff as well. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil of your choice.
While some people argue that coconut oil is an acne aggravating oil, there are many recommendations and reviews of using it as a natural treatment for scalp folliculitis and acne.
The Beauty Gypsy recommends that you mix 4 drops of rosemary and tea tree oil with “6 tablespoons of extra virgin, organic coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil”, and then massage your scalp with it to get rid of pimples that won’t heal.
Best Scalp Acne Shampoo
Shampoos are some of the best for reducing scalp acne and bumps from seborrheic dermatitis. You need to shampoo your scalp regularly but using a mild, medicated shampoo. Removing dirt and excess oil is one way of preventing further development of pimples on scalp. Shampoos that contain salicylic acid or tea tree oil are some of the best in treating pimples on the head.
Among the top best shampoos for pimples on head we have the following:
Sea breeze astringent for skin and scalp
The purpose of this particular product is to remove any excess oil buildup that you currently have on your scalp. By doing this, it will reduce the chances of your follicles becoming blocked which will, ultimately, reduce the chances of scalp acne. It will also help minimize dryness on your scalp, which is essential for reducing the development of scalp acne.
Pros: It is actually remarkably good at what it does.
- It will, in most cases, get rid of your scalp acne pretty sharpish.
- Many people, although this is not related to acne, find that their hair is a lot healthier after using the Sea Breeze Astringent too.
- It is remarkably simple to use, all you need to do is massage it into your scalp and you should be good to go.
The major downside to this product is the fact that it will only work if your scalp acne is caused by excess oil or dry skin buildup.
Levan rose organic jojoba oil
This is pure Jojoba Oil. Take it as a hair tonic, if not shampoo. Anybody who has ever looked into clearing up their acne will know that this is going to do a wonderful job.
Jojoba has a number of different benefits on the scalp. For starters; it will provide a healthy dose of nutrients which will ensure that your scalp is able to repair itself properly and keep itself moisturized. However, its main benefit for acne is the fact that this will help reduce the inflammation which acne causes which will, ultimately, lead to the acne disappearing.
It works, and it works remarkably well. The vast majority of people are going to get at least some benefit from this Jojoba Oil and, from what I can tell, it is one of the purest oils out there on the market at the moment.
Free and clear shampoo
Now, this is not a shampoo built for acne. But that doesn’t mean it won’t help to get rid of scalp acne.
Free & Clear Shampoo has been designed for ‘sensitive scalps’. The vast majority of people who suffer from scalp acne do so because their scalp becomes irritated by their shampoo. This is not going to cause that problem at all.
As mentioned previously, this is going to reduce the symptoms of your acne simply because it is very gentle to the scalp. In addition to this, it will also remove any excess oil build up on the scalp. It also helps preventing pore clogging on your scalp, which is essential for preventing acne.
Neutrogena t/Sal therapeutic scalp acne shampoo
This is the first acne treatment on this list to come from a ‘big name’. It is also the first treatment on this list to include salicylic acid, which, as you may well know, is brilliant at fighting acne.
This particular product will drastically reduce all of that crusty build-up which occurs when you are suffering from scalp acne. In addition to this, it will provide you with a great deal of relief when it comes to itching of the scalp. In short; it is going to be brilliant for your acne.
This is a very effective treatment. Neutrogena have gone of their way to ensure that this has the maximum amount of benefit to the scalp. There are no ‘added ingredients’ which can irritate the condition e.g. added color and preservatives. This makes it fantastic to use.
Sal3 shampoo, therapeutic
Don’t get confused. This is a shampoo that comes in a soap bar format. Sal3 Shampoo is formed of salicylic acid and sulphur; both are brilliant for combating acne. It is simple to use too. All you need to do is rub the bar into your hair and you should be good to go. It is designed to combat dandruff which, when fought properly, will stop your hair follicles becoming clogged and the acne from forming.
How to Treat Pimples on Scalp
In order to get rid of acne and pimple breakouts on your scalp, you should change a few things in your lifestyle, such as avoiding heavy hair products, especially those with are oily because they have a tendency of blocking scalp follicles and encouraging pimples.
- There might be no overnight treatment for the problem, but a good anti-dandruff shampoo will always go a long way in helping you reduce the pimples.
- If the zits are caused by allergic reactions, avoid the allergen or the trigger. Mostly, some medicated hair shampoos as pointed out below will get rid of scalp pimples fast.
- Treat dandruff with baking soda or salicylic acid.
- Get anti-fungal medications, some of which are sold over the counter to counter the effect of ringworm that sometimes causes pimples and hair loss.
- If your head sweats a lot, ensure that you wash and cleanse it thoroughly to prevent buildup in your hair.
- Do not strain your hair too much, especially if you wear braids or extensions. Allowing your head to get air is important in preventing pimples from forming.
Wash your hair with shampoo that helps control excess sebum and grease on the scalp to prevent and remove scalp acne. Regular washing and combing are of the scalp is also a good practice that will help you preventing the bumps.
Treatments will vary and depend on what caused the bumps on scalp. Since some of the conditions that cause whiteheads on scalp are contagious, avoid sharing grooming accessories such as hair brushes, combs, towels etc. This will prevent the rash from developing on your head.
- Scalp folliculitis is treated using a topical antibacterial medication. Some of the over the counter treatments for infected scalp pimples include salicylic acid. Apply salicylic acid on the zit using cotton wool. This will help exfoliate scaly flakes on the scalp, especially if you have dandruff and reduce the buildup that is causing the flare-up.
- When developing from lupus, such scalp sores and pimples are treated using topical treatments such as corticosteroid creams, gels, lotions, foams, sprays and solutions. Others include systemic treatments for cutaneous lupus includes sulfones,retinoids or what is termed as synthetic forms of vitamin A.