Scalp Acne

Have you been battling scalp acne? If so, you’re not alone – TRUST ME. Not sure what this is? It’s an irritating skin condition that affects everyone at one or another time or acne. We all know that acne is awful and quite bothersome, unpleasant and irritating. It can occur almost anywhere on the body too. Most people get it on their face. Others get is on their shoulders, upper arms, chest and where I’m here to discuss today, the scalp.

This article is all about scalp acne, what causes it, treatments for fixing it, home remedies, and prevention tactics.

scalp acne treatments

What Causes Scalp Acne?

I’m sure you know, that acne (in general) can occur in every stage of your life but it’s  more common in teens, pregnant women, or people experiencing hormonal changes. Untreated acne can leave scars and be the cause for depression and other psychological conditions. So it’s super important to address and if you don’t then you’ll be sorry.

Acne comes is different forms and different types of conditions, all of which affect the oil glands within the hair follicles. Once the glands are overstimulated, they produce an excess amount of sebum which clogs the pores. The clogged pores produce pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, nodule or cysts. Each of these developments is slightly different from the other. Most importantly and none should be popped or squeezed with your bare hands. Doing this can lead to inflammation and infection which will worsen the condition.

Dead cells of the skin accumulate in the pores, they get clogged, causing excess sebum  build up and if a bacterial infection gets into the pores, the result is acne. Depending on the type of infection, different types of acne can develop.

As previously stated, the main causes of acne, in general, are the hormonal imbalances that can occur in various stages of life. Most teenagers during puberty are affected by acne, as the hormones are in overdrive and they stimulate overproduction of oil in the skin. Women (during pregnancy and before menstruation) develop acne and this can lead to scalp acne for sure among other types of acne.

Bad Things About Scalp Acne

Acne on the scalp can get very painful, especially when brushing your hair. This is very uncomfortable and doing so can even cause bleeding, oozing pus and a bad smell that comes from the hair.

Itchiness is also very common, and in extreme cases, bald patches can occur where severe inflammation of scalp acne has occurred. The hair usually go back to normal after the inflammation subsides, but in extreme cases, a bald patch may remain for an extended period of time.

More Info On Acne Of The Scalp

The skin on the scalp is very prone to changes in the oil production. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to be careful when applying different hair products. Not all products are good for  you and some cause more harm than good. In fact, aggressive over-cleaning shampoos remove all the oils from the skin, leaving it dry. In order to replace the necessary oils, the sebaceous glands work overtime, producing excess oil that clogs the pores, ultimately producing acne.

The same goes for products that leave excess oil on the skin of the head/forehead. Greasy hair care products clog the pores, causing acne to occur. That means that people with very oily or very dry skin on the head/forehead are more susceptible to this condition.

What about when you sleep? GOOD QUESTION!


Sleeping on dirty pillows can lead to clogging of the pores on the face, neck, and scalp, causing acne. If you want to avoid that, then you need to be sure to regularly change your sheets and pillowcases in order to remove the buildup, lowering the chances of irritating your skin.


Excessive sweating can lead to clogged pores, especially in extra dirty conditions. The skin on the body is easier to clean, but the skin on the scalp is covered with hair that retains dirt which gets into the pores and clogs them, causing acne. That is why a regular shower is recommended after a workout or working in a humid climate.

Wearing Hats

People that wear hats, helmets or other forms of headgear are more prone to developing acne on the scalp. This is not due to the friction of the caps, hats or helmets, but due to the uncleanliness of the head-gear. My advice is to wash your head soon after taking off any helmet, hat, cap or other form of headgear in order to clean your pores and refresh your skin.


Food has also an impact on acne development as well. Eating processed foods with a lot of added sweeteners or preservatives can also cause clogging of the pores and inflammation of the skin on your face, head, and body.

Good News – There Are Treatments

Even though most acne conditions eventually clear up on their own, especially after the hormone levels normalize. Mot people have no patience and they won’t wait for things to subside. Instead, they ask for quicker remedies, treatments or cures.

If you’re all about fixing your skin as quickly as possible, then here’s what you need to read…I’ve outlined the most common things that you can do to treat your acne. JKeep in mind that not all of these are equally effective. Before you dive into any self-help treatment, be sure to consult a dermatologist so you don’t make things worse.

Treatment tips and options to consider:

  • Antibiotic creams: Designed to kill off the bacteria that causes the infection, thus reducing inflammation and clearing up scalp and other forms of acne. These need to be prescribed by a physician and should not be taken without direct medical advice/care.
  • Oral antibiotic treatments: This is used to treat severe inflammation of the scalp. Be careful when you take oral antibiotics as they can interfere with your liver and toxin levels due to processing. Antibiotics have been known to screw up the vaginal micro-flora, causing yeast infections. They can also interfere with the effectiveness of the birth control pills.
  • Salicylic acid:This acid dries the skin, causing faster exfoliation and removing the dead skin cells. This way the skin gets cleaned and there is a lower chance of formation of acne.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This a very good acne treatment that exfoliates the skin, cleaning and literally removing dead cells and excess oil. It leaves the skin dry and clean. This is really a treatment for a light scalp acne condition, nothing too serious.
  • Hormone therapy: This treatment is prescribed in severe cases, as hormones can cause other serious problems in the body’s normal hormone balance. Which is why it’s important that it be done under the supervision of a professional.

Other Remedies

Even though many people don’t believe in home treatments for acne, there are many simple things one can try which may lead to healing of the scalp. Many home treatments only clean the skin and don’t necessarily kill off the harmful bacteria.

All home remedies are intended for mild cases at best. For any severe cases, one should ask for medical assistance and not risk further inflammation or infection. Here is a list of the most commonly used and most effective at-home treatments for acne of the scalp:


There are things that you can do to prevent acne from developing on your scalp. These things mentioned below are simple enough to remember.

  • Scalp acne should not be scratched, popped or squeezed as this will lead to their inflammation.
  • Regularly wash your head and keep your hair as clean as possible.
  • Spicy foods can often lead to an increase in scalp acne. If you are prone to this condition avoid spicy foods, hot sauces or heavy use of alcohol.
  • Don’t overdo it with the sugar or salt intake in your daily diet.
  • Keep your sheets and pillowcases clean, wash and clean your hats, caps, helmets or other headgear.
  • Use medical shampoos if you have inflammation.This will lower the risk of further aggravating the scalp acne and improve their healing.
  • Drink fluids, but avoid drinks with a lot of sugar, stick to water.


Scalp acne is not a serious medical condition, but definitely an unpleasant one. The recommended treatments and care above are simply a guideline, nothing more. If you stick to these recommendations, eat good and keep your skin clean, you should have no issues at all.

But in the case of severely inflamed scalp acne, seek professional help, don’t wait.

Scalp Acne
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