Are you tired of fighting scalp acne?
Acne on scalp is not quite noticeable – unless your hair is short. As a result, most people tend to overlook zits on their scalp.
However, if you’re trying to learn how to get rid of scalp acne, you will soon realize that the problem can be painful, annoying, and even lead to unsightly hair loss.
That said, scalp pimples tend to occur when the skin pores on your scalp become clogged with oil and dirt. Eventually, this will cause your skin follicles to swell up and become infected with bacteria unless you clear the clog.
This blockage may also be caused when your sebaceous glands become overactive. This might be as a result of heredity, stress, hormonal imbalance, or poor diet. It can also be as a result of surface debris, which is caused by the excessive use of oily products or poor hygiene.
Table of Contents for What Causes Painful Pimples on the Scalp
- 4 Things to Remember About Scalp Acne
- Propionibacterium Acnes (p. Acnes) Defined
- Staphylococcus Epidermidis Defined
- How to Prevent Clogged Pores
- How to Prevent Head Acne Without Risking Your Health
- How to Drink Plenty of Water Without Suffering from Dehydration
- Multani Mitti Defined
- Why Pores Get Clogged (4 Reasons)
- 26 Acne Fighting Foods Your Taste Buds Will Love
3 Additional Resources For Fighting Acne
- Acne Skin Care Comparison Charts
- What Causes Pimples On My Body? – Part 1
- What Causes Pimples? – Part 2
Top 14 Ways to Treat Scalp Acne – InfoGraphic (Free Gift)
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What Causes Pimples on Scalp?
SHORT ANSWER: What are the Main Causes of Pimples on the Scalp?
There are many causes of pimples on head. These cases depend on a variety of factors including but not limited to:
- Propionibacterium acnes (p. Acnes)
- Staphylococcus epidermidis
Propionibacterium Acnes (p. Acnes) Defined
Otherwise referred to as Cutibacterium acnes, P. Acnes is a slow growing aerotolerant anaerobic and Gram-positive bacterium that is linked to acne; it also causes endophthalmitis and blepharitis.
IN-DEPTH: Why Do I Have Pimples on My Scalp?
To understand what causes pimples on scalp, it is essential that you understand that the hair follicles on the scalp often get clogged with oil and skin cells. As the oil and dead skin cells continue accumulating on the scalp, they may serve as food for the bacteria on your head. Eventually, this turns into acne.
This will mostly happen among people who have scalps that are naturally oily or who tend to sweat regularly. Among these people, the best way to prevent the painful pimples on scalp is by washing your head as many times as possible.
If you only rinse your hair with water, you will not be able to get rid of the oil that is trapped on the scalp. The most effective way is to use detergent-like molecules so that one part attracts oil and the other attracts the water.
Getting a pimple on scalp may also happen when your hair follicles, or pores, get clogged. This occurs when naturally-occurring oil (which keeps your skin moisturized) and dead skin cells, as well as bacteria, get into your pores. Since the dead skin will not be able to exit the pore, this may result in a variety of acne. The most severe forms tend to contain more bacteria.
The inflammation may also be caused by any of the following organisms:
- Propionibacterium acnes (p. Acnes)
- Staphylococcus epidermidis
Staphylococcus Epidermidis Defined
Staphylococcus epidermidis one of the more than 40 species of Gram-positive bacterium that normal to human flora (typically on the skin) and less common on mucosal flora
How to Prevent Clogged Pores
Of course, there are other reasons why your pores may clog. These include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to wash your hair frequently enough or to clean your scalp
- Product buildup from shampoo and other hair products, like hairspray and gel
- Waiting too long to clean your head and hair after working out
- Wearing headgear, hats, and equipment that cause friction against the scalp
Being healthy and sanitary can help you ensure that your pores do not clog up.
TAKE-AWAY: Overall, there are many different reasons why you might have pimples on your scalp. Understanding these causes of scalp acne is the first step in finding the appropriate solutions to your problem.
What is The Most Effective Scalp Acne Treatment?
SHORT ANSWER: What Is the Best Way to Treat the Pimples on My Head?
- Drink More Water
- Get Some Sun
- Sleep Longer
- Avoid Hot Water
- Don’t Over-wash the Hair
- Use the Right Shampoo
- Ditch Conditioners
- Swap Pillow Cases
- Clean Your Hair Brushes and Combs
- Shower After Working Out
- Quit Smoking
- Eat Healthily
IN-DEPTH: How Does Scalp Acne Treatment Work?
Whether you have pimples on hairline or pimples on back of head, there are different ways you can treat them.
The key to the best scalp acne treatment, however, lies in ensuring that your pores do not get clogged. This is because the buildup and blockage of oil on the scalp causes acne.
It is also essential that you keep your scalp as clean as possible. However, you should also check to ensure that the conditioner or shampoo you are using (as well as any other hair products) are not responsible for the pimples in hair that you have:
The key to treating scalp acne is to prevent your pores from clogging. It’s the oil blockage and buildup that causes acne. Keeping your scalp clean is important. But you’ll want to make sure your shampoo or conditioner isn’t causing your acne trouble.
Consider the following basic treatments for scalp acne:
A: Drink More Water
One of the simplest ways to get rid of scalp pimples is by drinking water all through the day. Water will hydrate your skin and flush out all the waste matter your body generates. If this waste matter is not removed, it may cause such issues as pimple breakouts.
If you can, therefore, ensure that you drink anywhere between 6 to 8 glasses (or 2 to 3 liters) of water on a daily basis. You can even flavor your drinking water by consuming skin-soothing teas like mint and chamomile.
How to Ensure You Drink Enough Water
- Add flavor to your water
- Always choose mineral or sparkling water over soda and other unhealthy beverages
- Dilute every sugary drink you take with ice and water
- Drink one glass of water after each bathroom break
- Get an app and use it to track how much water you drink
- Keep a jug of water close at hand
- Sip some water before each meal
Another great way to treat scalp acne is by exercising regularly. Exercise will help reduce your levels of stress and keep your hormones balanced. This is particularly useful because acne may be caused by wacky hormones and stress.
Additionally, working out will help you sweat – which will encourage sebum to flow freely. In the process, it will unclog any blocked pores on your scalp. Therefore, you should get your body moving a minimum of 3 times every week for more than half an hour.
Stress is one of the leading causes of pimples – both on the scalp and on other body and face parts. Therefore, the more you relax, the less likely it will be that you will develop acne.
Of course, this does not mean that you have to go on vacation every once in a while. Even while doing housework, studying, or working, you should teach yourself how to focus on what you are doing. Simply by being present to the task at hand, you can easily stop worrying about what might happen or what has happened.
If possible, try and get a specific time when you can worry as much as you need to – say, 30 minutes every afternoon. Use this time to fret about everything you have in mind and then let it go to be rid of your worry.
Other ways to bust stress (and scalp acne in the process) include playing sports, playing or listening to music, spending quality time with your family and friends, going for extended walks, gardening, meditating, doing yoga, and exercising.
D: Get Some Sun
If the weather allows, you might also want to expose your skin to some sunshine on a daily basis – even if it is only for a couple of minutes. The natural rays of the sun have incredible healing powers that your skin could benefit from.
However, you should limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. This is because sunlight tends to flare up acne while increasing both redness and inflammation.
E: Sleep Longer
Beauty sleep is the best ways to rejuvenate your skin. The natural cell renewal mechanism in the body also has a night shift, and it works best when you are asleep. In the process, it renovates and repairs the skin and other bodily cells. Therefore, it is essential that you get enough sleep and only wake up when you feel refreshed.
In case you have difficulties falling asleep, consider practicing yoga nidra. This is a form of relaxation therapy that will help you to calm down in both mind and body.
F: Avoid Hot Water
Although steamy hot showers feel good, they may damage your hair and scalp. The hot water will heat strip the natural oils on your head and make your already painful pimples inflamed and red.
Therefore, when you wash your hair, ensure that you use lukewarm water. Finish off with some cool water to close the skin pores on your head.
G: Don’t Over-Wash Your Hair
If you already have acne problems, you should try not to wash your hair on a daily basis. Vigorous and frequent washing tends to irritate the scalp and worsen pimples.
Additionally, if you over clean your head, you may dry out your scalp. It will try to compensate by creating even more oil. The excess oil may cause another flare-up of scale acne.
Instead, you should only shampoo on alternate days or even once every 2 days. If your hair starts feeling oily in between, use herbal rinses to freshen it up. Green tea and mint rinses, in particular, are effective at healing head pimples.
H: Use the Right Shampoo
Instead, use sulfate-free shampoos that are infused with natural fragrances. Alternatively, try and make your own shampoo with such clays as rhassoul and add fuller earth like multani mitti. This type of shampoo is a great cleanser, especially if you have an oily scalp. It will also soak up all impurities and excess oil from your scalp.
Multani Mitti Defined
Multani Mitti is a type of clay or mud that originates from Multan; it is also referred to as Fuller’s Earth or Fuller’s Clay.
I: Ditch Conditioners
If you use a conditioner and you discover that you have pimples on your scalp, you should discontinue it. Conditioners tend to coat the scalp and hair and may even cause excess grease/oil to get trapped in your scalp. However, if you are worried that your hair won’t look too good after you shampoo it, try a hair rinse that will make your hair look beautiful without clogging your scalp’s pores.
J: Swap Pillow Cases
You may also want to change the pillow cases you use on a weekly basis. All the dirt, oil, and sweat from your head seeps into the pillowcase every time you sleep on it. Therefore, if you do not launder the case on a regular basis, you will be sleeping on dirt and sweat, and a breeding ground for bacteria.
K: Clean Your Hair Brushes and Combs
In much the same way, you certainly don’t want to put the dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from your comb right back into your hair. Therefore, you should clean your comb/brush each time you wash your head. The less dirt and oil on your brushes/combs, the less likely it will be that you will have scalp pimples.
You should also desist from sharing your hair accessories, brushes, and combs with friends and family members.
J: Shower After Working Out
Although sweating is good for your skin – since it will unclog your pores – you should not leave it on your head. After the sweat has dried, it may re-clog the pores and worsen your acne.
However, you don’t have to use soap or shampoo to clear the sweat away. A simple shower with lukewarm water and a bit of scrubbing should be able to get rid of the exercise sweat.
L: Quit Smoking
A recent study by the British Journal of Dermatology reported that smokers are about 4 times more likely than non-smokers to get pimples. This is because the nicotine and other harmful chemicals in cigarettes tend to increase skin turn over.
This turnover chokes your blood vessels and makes it harder for your skin to get the oxygen it needs. In the process, the composition of the natural oils from your skin (sebum) will be altered and the result may be your development of acne.
M: Eat Healthily
Your diet plays a crucial role in how well you cure acne on the scalp. Since your skin is the largest body organ and works as an organ of elimination through sweating, problems on its surface show that there is an underlying issue.
Treating your skin from the outside is an excellent way to cure your pimples especially if you adopt a healthier lifestyle at the same time. This means that you should balance all your meals and add nutritious foods that will heal your skin.
Some acne-fighting food suggestions here include:
- Omega 3
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Vitamin A
- Dark leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes)
- Sesame seeds
TAKE-AWAY: From dietary changes and improved sleep to exercise and proper hygiene, learning how to treat scalp acne should not be difficult. As long as you follow the advice above, you should have no problems with pimples on your scalp for long.
What are Some Home Remedies for Scalp Acne?
SHORT ANSWER: What are the Best Home Remedies for Scalp Acne?
- Tea Tree Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Aloe Vera
- Indian Lilac
- Tomato Juice
- Betel Leaves
- Clean Up
IN-DEPTH: Which Remedies Should I Use to Heal the Pimples on My Head?
If your scalp acne is particularly itchy, painful and requires scratching, you should think about using home remedies to cure it. Luckily, there are tons of options here, which include but are not limited to:
A: Tea Tree Oil
This natural ingredient is one of the most effective remedies for scalp pimples and other related issues. Tea tree oil is also a natural antiseptic and will disinfect your pores and dry out your pimples.
You can even use it to kill the bacteria causing acne on your scalp, as well as reduce the itchiness and redness from the condition.
Another natural ingredient that is effective against scalp acne, turmeric contains curcumin a compound with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
Turmeric will also inhibit P.acnes bacteria, prevent pimple scars, and reduce any pain you might be feeling on your scalp.
C: Apple Cider Vinegar
This type of vinegar is also good for fighting acne on your scalp. In particular, it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that will clear hair follicles of oil and bacteria that cause acne. Apple cider vinegar will also restore your scalp’s pH balance to prevent you from breaking out in the future.
D: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera will remove and reduce acne on your scalp. It is also effective at killing the bacteria that caused the pimples, preventing further infection, promoting healing, and reducing inflammation. Additionally, it will maintain your scalp’s pH balance.
A 2010 Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research study found that Aloe Vera has many other medicinal properties that make it a great ingredient to use on your hair, scalp, and skin. These include antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anesthetic properties.
E: Indian Lilac
Otherwise referred to as neem, Indian lilac treats all types of acne – both on the scalp and on other parts of the body. In particular, it has amazing antibiotic and antiseptic properties that will dry your acne out quickly. It will also ease the common symptoms of inflammation, pain, and extreme itching.
In 2013, an Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine study found that neem is effective at treating such chronic skin conditions as warts, ringworms, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
F: Tomato Juice
Tomatoes contain salicylic acid – a natural acid that is effective in treating all types of acne, including scalp pimples. The acid will work by drying up the pimples on your head and aid in curing your condition.
Tomatoes can also reduce the excessive production of sebum – which is one of the main causes of acne on your scalp – as well as maintain the pH of your scalp at optimum levels.
Raw honey, in this case, comes with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. This means that it can help inhibit the growth of bacteria on your scalp. This ingredient will also reduce the pain and redness from scalp pimples.
This popular kitchen ingredient has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that you can count on to deal with the acne breakouts on your scalp because of a bacterial infection.
It can also reduce pain, speed up healing, and soothe inflammation on your scalp.
I: Betel Leaves
Betel leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat different kinds of skin conditions – including skin and scalp acne. This is because the leaves have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that will help prevent and treat pimples.
In fact, a 2011 International Journal of Pharma Sciences and Research study highlighted the efficiency of betel leaf bactericidal activity.
J: Clean Up
You need to take good care of your scalp, hair, and head if you are to effectively prevent and treat such problems as acne. As far as possible, you should wash your hair regularly. This will prevent oily residues from building up on your scalp.
Where possible, get a medicated shampoo that contains salicylic acid. This way, you will prevent future breakouts and combat any acne that might already have infested your scalp.
Other tips for keeping your head clean and hygienic include:
- Always keep away from such greasy styling products as hairspray, mousse, gel, and wax
- Maintain hair clips, curlers, brushes, and combs by keeping them clean
- If your hair is oily, use conditioners sparingly
- In case you tend to sweat excessively, use plain water to rinse your scalp and hair
- Massage your scalp for a couple of minutes every time you wash your hair to loosen up sweat debris and dirt as well as encouraging circulation
TAKE-AWAY: As you have seen, there are several home remedies for scalp acne that you can use. Since most of these ingredients are probably already in your kitchen, take advantage of them to battle the pimples on your scalp.
Concluding Thoughts on What Causes Pimples on Your Head
Back to Table of Contents
One of the best ways to prevent scalp acne problems is by determining the main cause of the condition – such as clogged pores. You may also want to get products for your hair that will not cause excessive buildup on your head and scalp or dry it out. These include clays, hair sprays, waxes, and any other product that is free of certain additives and chemicals.
In particular, stay away from anything that contains comedogenic ingredients. These ingredients will clog your pores, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Examples of comedogenic ingredients include laureth-4 and sulfates.
Last but not least, you should reduce the irritation of your scalp. This may effectively cure the scalp acne you have been suffering from and help you get rid of the problem once and for all.