Scalp Acne: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Scalp Acne
Scalp Acne

You may underestimate the consequences of pimples on your scalp until the issue becomes really severe. It is more easily to observe hairline acne than those hidden under your hair. Scalp acne is not only unsightly but also a signal of your scalp damages. I bet you don’t expect hair loss or serious inflammation happened to yourself. We would like to equip you with knowledge about the causes, treatment, and prevention of scalp acne.

What is scalp acne?

Scalp Acne
Scalp Acne

Just as it sounds, it’s when pimples (made up of excess oil and build-up of dead skin within a pore) appear on your scalp and also near your hairline.

Causes of scalp acne are usually the same culprits that cause pimples and acne to appear on our face, back and other body parts. You are going to know thoroughly the specific cause from inside to outside.

What causes scalp acne?

Scalp acne looks like small pimples or zits on the scalp and is not limited by the hairline but appears on the forehead and nape also. These pimples can be itchy as well as sore.

Just like pimples on other skin areas, pimples on the scalp occur when a pore or hair follicle gets clogged with dead skin cells or sebum, which is the natural oil the skin uses to keep itself moisturized. Furthermore, bacteria, yeast, or mites can also get into the pores and cause a reaction.

Pimples can be caused by many different factors. Scalp pimples can crop up with a little warning, but they can usually be traced to one of these causes followed:

Hygiene. Oils and dead skin are accumulated naturally, especially in hairy areas like your scalp. People having acne on scalp probably do not wash their hair thoroughly enough and frequently enough. Some do strong activities but wait too long after the workout to wash their hair.

Shampooing Your Hair
Shampooing Your Hair

Hair products. Hair products such as hairspray, mousse, oils, and gels can contribute to an excess of oil and skin reactions on the scalp. In addition, a buildup of products especially leave-in ones shall contribute to the issue.

Headwear. Headwear such as helmets, hats, bandanas, or headbands will trap sweat and oil and dirt on your scalp, leaving a hateful buildup which is a culprit of scalp pimples.

Tight Headband
Tight Headband

Hormones. Hormonal changes, especially in teens and young adults, can cause an increase in oil production that contributes to acne on scalp, face, and other areas of the body.

Makeup. That sounds irrelevant but, yes, women’s makeup can cause an accumulation of oils on their forehead, temple, nape, clogging the pores causing pimples. This issue will likely spread to the scalp area.

Genetics. Acne and pimples on every skin area may be hereditary. If your parents have a history of having pimples, then you’re more likely to have reoccurring issues with these as well.

Scalp acne treatment

The good news is that there are solutions you can consider to help your acne heal. Treating pimples shall take time, yet you can speed up the process with a few tips.

When you notice a pimple or pimples on your scalp, try the following:

Firstly, refrain from touching the acne area as much as possible to avoid dirt and damages. And a word of warning: You should never pop the pimples on your head. Instead, just gently wash the area.

Treat Your Scalp Better

You will need to stay away from oily hair or facial products. Instead, use non-comedogenic products for face and hair, then thoroughly wash your hair and face when the day is over.

You can use anti-acne medication, lotion, or washes, but read the user manual carefully before use. At the same time, rethink your tight and heavy headwear since it shall irritate your acne more. If you install some hair extensions and more pimples appear after that, you may want to pay more attention to your hair hygiene or remove your hairpiece to treat the damages if they are serious enough.

Prevention of the issue 

Scalp hygiene would play an essential role in avoiding clogged pores. A good rule of thumb is to wash your hair thoroughly and follow a right shampooing frequency. Because, for some people, infrequent hair wash can cause acne on scalp. For other people, shampooing the hair too often can unexpectedly strip protective sebum out, which can increase the risk of other contaminants getting in.

To treat scalp acne and prevent further flare-ups, you should try:

Wearing looser-fitting headwear to let the scalp breathe

Shampooing your hair soon after exercises

Try natural, hypoallergenic hair care products. A range of products is available at stores everywhere. If you are not going to ask a doctor, you should try a new product with caution with a little amount first.

Avoiding using too many hair products, such as hairsprays, gels, and other leave-in products. It is also one of the good tips to reduce hair loss.

Getting enough vitamins A, D, and E which are beneficial to skin health.


Scalp acne is a common issue that happened to most of us, but it does not mean we should let it be. It is said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, and we believe that you do not want a tiny issue to become uncontrollably injurious.


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