Acne is a dreaded word for ones with a pimple prone skin. Those huge bumps can erupt on any part of your face or head. There are many reasons you might experience frequent visits from these pesky pimples. Here we shall discuss the causes of scalp acne and the popular treatments.
Kinds of Scalp Acne
Scalp acne or scalp folliculitis is most abundant near the hairline. This condition may cause small, itchy pimples that could become crusted or sore.
There are several types of acne:
- Mild: Blackheads or whiteheads;
- Moderate: Papules or pustules. These grow underneath the skin surface;
- Severe: Nodules and cysts. These are embedded underneath the skin.
The more severe the acne, the greater the chances for blackened crusts to develop that could leave permanent scars. You can always try home remedies for your acne or over-the-counter ointments from your nearest drugstore. However, if you have persistent acne, visit your doctors ASAP.
Causes of Scalp Acne
There are several reasons you might have a chronic case of the dreaded acne. The most common cause of scalp acne is clogged pores and hair follicles. This happens when sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria enter the skin/scalp pores. The debris cannot exit the pore that causes acne. Other severe forms of this dreadful skin condition contain a lot more bacteria.
Various microorganisms can cause severe inflammation including Propionibacterium acnes, mites, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and fungus.
The prime reasons for clogging of the pores include:
- Infrequent washing of hair or washing of hair insufficient to clean the scalp;
- Build-up due to excessive use of shampoo, oil and other hair products like hairspray or gel;
- Going long periods without washing hair after a workout;
- Wearing any headgear (like hats) or equipment which causes friction on your scalp.
Don’t Pop a Pimple on your Scalp
There are home remedies and solutions you can apply to relieve yourself from acne but popping pimples is definitely not one. Picking or popping your zit might be tempting when the pain becomes unbearable but a move like that could cause permanent scars on the skin by worsening the condition and infection.
Wash your scalp with shampoo regularly with warm water. This can help minimize inflammation and irritation of the scalp induced by hair products, chemical treatments, razors or high heat. If left untreated inflammation and irritation can complicate conditions further. The more you care about your skin and scalp the more you will minimize the problems.
How to Treat Acne on the Scalp?
To eliminate the acne, you need to prevent the cause i.e. clogged pores. The sebum blockage and accumulation can cause acne. Keeping it clean is very important. For some, the frequency required may be a lot more than others. For every individual, the number of times you need to shampoo and condition your scalp varies according to your skin.
If there is a possibility that your shampoo or conditioner is causing the issue then switch to a more suitable product. For mild-to-moderate acne you can try products that hold the following ingredient(s):
- Tea tree oil: antibacterial traits fight acne of all types;
- Green tea and other tea polyphenols can have effects on sebum production and acne vulgaris;
- Glycolic acid: gets rid of dead cells and eliminates micro bacteria;
- Salicylic acid helps exfoliate dead skin and prevents dead cells from entering the pores. Benzoyl peroxide is even better for this purpose;
- Ketoconazole: antifungal properties found in anti-dandruff shampoo;
- Jojoba oil: reduces acne irritation and inflammation. Pain alleviator.
What you need to avoid
To prevent blockage of pores, use less oil-based hair products. Avoid products like clays, waxes, hair sprays or pomades. Investing in a clarifying shampoo that is sulfate-free can do the trick. Clarifying shampoos help in removing dirt, buildup, and oil from the hair. However, do not use too much of it as it can dry out your hair especially if you have colored hair or subjected it to heat. Avoid a product you suspect you are allergic to.
Medications for Scalp Acne
If over-the-counter remedies fail to do the job, you can always consult your dermatologist especially if you notice hair loss. If you can’t visit your dermatologist, use a HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform to contact them.
A prescription might be necessary to treat and reduce inflammation. If the condition persists, or you notice weird rashes or the acne is severe your doctor may recommend one or more than one of the following treatments:
- Oral medications such as anti-allergic or antibiotics;
- A steroid cream or topical antibiotics;
- For severe acne: isotretinoin;
- Steroid Injections;
- Light therapy;
- Clearing pores through physical extractions.
If your pimple does not respond to acne treatment, or it sounds like it could be something else contact your doctor.
Other conditions that could look very similar to acne could be:
- Infection or abscess;
- Skin cancer;
- Seborrheic dermatitis.
Successful treatment can take four to eight weeks. You may be required to keep caring for the affected area to avoid acne from recurring. Doctors recommend using a mild shampoo to wash your hair frequently. Use a mild conditioner to make sure the products do not affect your hair growth.
Scars from acne can take over 6 months to go away and longer if you pick at your acne. Picking at your pimples can deepen your scars and cause bacteria to spread. Gently massage your scalp while you treat acne. Avoid scrubbing and picking at them with fingernails. This can cause irritation and open wounds.
To prevent pimples from erupting over your face and scalp often. Use products that will not perpetrate buildup on the scalp and won’t cause it to dry out. Including hair products like waxes, clays, and hairsprays that do not have certain additives or chemicals.
Anything that increases oil production, acne or inflammation should be avoided if you are prone to acne. Diet is not the prime treatment for acne, however, it could help prevent or reduce occurrences of acne-like pimples. An anti-acne diet comprises fewer carbohydrates. Eat foods that contain vitamin A and D, zinc, omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants and dietary fiber. Eliminate particular foods that oil production from your diet. Keep track of your food and flare-ups in a diary.
James Crook is a passionate blogger who loves to write on health and fitness related topics. Currently, he is working as a blogger for a Physical Health Centra Care. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.