During a lazy evening, you may come across movie shows where you see doctors popping cysts on their patients’ heads. You may already watch plenty of blood and gore movies, but nothing may prepare you seeing those giant pimples on other people. Unfortunately, these phenomena are not just exclusive on TV, many people around you experience these occurrences every day.
What those giant cysts you see may refer to scalp acne. Many people are surprised, and some of them are asking if can you get acne on scalp and what causes it. If your head is itchy and you feel a bump, then you may want to know more about this medical condition.
About Scalp Acne
According to Carlos Charles, a dermatologist in New York, the pimples that are scattered and felt throughout the scalp is the acne. At the same time, the inflammation around a follicle of hair is called folliculitis. People who have frequent pimple breakouts on their faces may commonly experience these two medical conditions.
Everyone knows what pimples are, but if you were imaging them appearing underneath your head or around your head, you might want to see if they are something that you can ignore or if it’s time for you to get help from a doctor.
On a more technical definition, scalp acne is an inflammation of the hair follicles. The condition is usually caused by bacteria, infections, fungi, or allergies. Some people may experience the traditional pimples appearing on their hairline if they frequently have breakouts on their faces.
For salon owners, other people may confuse scalp acne with seborrheic dermatitis. This causes the serum on the hair to be overactive, which causes large flakes of skin to come off. People may think that they are having too much dandruff problems when it’s seborrheic dermatitis that they need to address.
Others may have pilar cysts that are harmless since these bumps are filled with keratin that the hair follicles give off. However, experts agree that one should be very careful about self-diagnosing any medical problems since the conditions may be a symptom of something more severe.
For people who have dandruff and worried about having acne breakouts, then the experts agree that there’s no direct link between the two. However, the people who have more sebaceous activity and tend to have an overproduction of oil on their scalp may also be prone to breakouts. If you want to read more about sebaceous activities and glands you can click this link here.
What You Can Do
The skin on the head is very much like that of the face. An overdrive of hormones can result in clogged pores, and genes may cause other instances. If the condition that you have is genetic, you can work with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment option that suits you. The genetic one is harder to treat since it can involve prescribed medications, special shampoos, and other over-the-counter products to combat the breakouts for life.
On the other hand, if the bumps stemmed from clogged pores, then treatment is easier. If you think about this, you should never go to bed without washing your makeup first. The oil, dead skin cells, and excel products will result in acne the following morning. On a similar level, if you use shampoo products that are heavy on your hair and you don’t rinse properly, you are also inviting acne to your scalp.
Do Products Cause Acne?
There are a lot of factors that can be considered as to what caused the bumps on your hairline. This can include your genes, diet, and even the products that you are using. If you are building up on shampoo, creams, and other products on your hair without properly rinsing them, then they can be a cause of acne to some extent.
You don’t have to worry though as there’s no need for you to skip out on a good shampoo. As long as you are compatible with a certain product and have been using it for some years with no problems, then everything is fine. However, if you just tried a new product and you notice some zits and pimples on your scalp, then there might be something wrong with it.
What you can do to make sure that your hair and scalp will not retain any product is to get a cleanser. You can also get a shampoo brush since using your nails to clean your head can be irritating to the skin. You need to have products that are safe and gentle, and they should also be useful in treating breakouts.
Things Not To Do
You should never try to pop or squeeze the pimple unless your dermatologist does it. Your doctor should be the only who can try to pick the breakout since they have a better diagnosis of what’s happening on your scalp. They also have the right tools, techniques, and skills that can prevent infections which lead to more breakouts.
Other people may have the impression that they are getting rid of the bump when they try to pop it, but this is not a good idea. In some instances, trying to prick a pimple may lead to inflammation and will cause the bump to go deeper into the skin. When the acne is buried more in-depth, then this can prolong lesions, and the whole problem may become worse.
Treating your Scalp Acne
Washing the head once a day while lathering with medicated shampoos can work with some people. Most use the products that are specially formulated for severe scalp problems. Some of these have salicylic acid, sulfur, and other antibacterial ingredients.
Some of the medicated shampoos are available online without the need for a doctor’s prescription. They can clean and wash away any debris, excess oil, and dandruff which prevent the bumps from returning. The most common ingredients to look for include the following:
A. Glycolic Acid – This is an ingredient commonly used to rejuvenate and exfoliate the skin. This is an odourless alpha-hydroxy-acid that came from sugarcanes. It is used as a kind of chemical exfoliant that will wipe away the dead skin cells leaving a smoother and younger-looking scalp behind.
B. Salicylic Acid – This is another ingredient that is effective as an exfoliator. Aside from this, it can effectively control the production of sebum. Many dermatologists use products with salicylic acid for years. This is effective in treating conditions such as acne vulgaris.
C. Ciclopirox or Ketoconazole – For those who experience excessive dandruff, buying a shampoo with ciclopirox or ketoconazole can help them get rid of their problem. These two ingredients can get rid of dead skin cells effectively while leaving the hair smoother.
How to Apply Prescribed Shampoos
You should always follow the instructions of your dermatologist when it comes to prescribed shampoos. The application is the same as that of regular shampoo, but you need to have a certain level of precaution to avoid any side effects. The application process includes the following:
- Wet the hair from roots to tips. Do this thoroughly and ensure that no area is dry.
- Massage the shampoo on the scalp and spread the product to all the areas of your head gently.
- Leave the lather on for two minutes
- Use lukewarm water and rinse the product thoroughly
- You should use the product daily or thrice a week, depending on what your physician tells you.
- Precautions to Observe
- Close your eyes when rinsing and avoid contact of these products as they can be harsh
- Thoroughly rinse every lather as any product left behind can cause additional problems later on.
- Avoid scrubbing your scalp with your nails
- If the condition does not improve or if you feel more bumps, consult your physician.
- Always read the label of the products for any other precautions, directions, and warnings before you use them.
On the other hand, while shampoos are extremely helpful in combating oily scalps, you need to be careful that you are not overusing them. If you begin to feel bumps, it is helpful to look for products that contain glycolic acid that you can apply directly to the breakout. The acid can help eradicate bacteria and eliminate the pimple once and for all.
Home Remedies to Treat Scalp Acne
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people are already using apple cider vinegar to rinse their hair after shampooing. However, few know that this remedy can also help with keeping the scalp healthy. Apple cider vinegar can restore and balance the pH levels of the hair. It also has a lot of antioxidants that can counter the free radicals on your scalp. Not only this but using apple cider vinegar gives you a boost since it has astringent properties.
Applying it to your hair
- Dilute three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water.
- After using shampoo and conditioner, gently pour the mixture on your scalp and spread it to other parts evenly.
- Leave it for 2 to 3 minutes then rinse everything thoroughly.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can treat your acne in a natural way. This essential oil has antimicrobial properties that make it an excellent cleansing agent for fungi, bacteria, and viruses. You can read more about the effects of tea tree oil on your hair here: https://www.healthline.com/health/tea-tree-oil-for-hair.
If you experience dandruff or excessive itching, then the soothing effects of the tea tree oil will help you to stop scratching. Others use products that can spot-treat the acne with no side effects.
How to Apply
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cup of jojoba oil or any other carrier oil.
- Mix them well and rub them to your scalp.
- Leave the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Thoroughly rinse everything afterwards.
3. Jasmine Essential Oils
Jasmine oil is an excellent ingredient that can combat any outbreaks in your body. It has benzoic acid that peels off dead skin cells that are the leading cause of breakouts.
How to Apply
- Dilute a half cup of grapeseed oil and two teaspoons jasmine oil together.
- Massage the mixture directly on the scalp.
- The oil from the grapeseed should not clog your pores. Many people say that grapeseed and jasmine combined help clear severe acne. This mixture contains linoleic acid and vitamin E, which is useful in removing blemishes from the scalp.
How Long Should You Wait Before Seeing Results
For a typical treatment, it can take up to eight weeks to clear out all the bumps on your scalp. If you follow your dermatologist’s instructions thoroughly and couple them with home remedies, then you can expect favourable results in the next few weeks.
After clearing out the bumps, you should consider continuing your treatment plan to avoid recurrences. Your physician can prescribe a gentle shampoo that you can use every day. You can use instant conditioner and other essential oils that are effective in treating scalp acne. Most researchers agree that mild shampoos and conditioners do not affect the growth of your hair in general, so there’s no need to worry.
How to Prevent Scalp Acne?
You need first to determine the cause of the scalp acne before you can make changes to your lifestyle. If clogged pores cause them, you should look for products that are not heavy on your hair. Some shampoos can easily be rinsed off, and they don’t cause build-ups. Other products to steer clear from can include waxes, clays, and hair sprays that are full off additives.
You should also avoid products that have comedogenic ingredients. These ingredients are known to cause clogged pores, and they are not recommended for those who have sensitive skins. Most of the popular comedogenic ingredients found in shampoos are sulfates so you might want to check the labels first.
You should practice washing your hair after exercising, wearing helmets or headgears, and other activities that caused you excessive sweating. You can try changing your pillowcases, remove makeup, and change shampoo if necessary.
A Final Word
Breakouts on your scalp can be perfectly healthy, and it should not be a cause for concern. You may first think about the possible causes of the breakout and try to clean your scalp with a gentle product. If nothing works, then it is the time to visit your dermatologist for a more comprehensive treatment plan.