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HELP: Why Are There Pimples on My Scalp?

By Alyana Olivar for Belo Medical Group on November 19, 2020

As if facial acne isn’t enough, did you know that there’s such a thing called scalp acne? Scalp acne is primarily caused by the congestion of oil and dead skin cells around your hair follicles. While there are a lot of factors that may cause this condition, it’s a common problem that a lot of people face. Here are some reasons why your scalp is breaking out.

1. Your scalp produces a lot of excess oil.

If you have oily hair, the excess oils produced by your scalp’s oil glands can become trapped in your hair follicles. And similar to oily and acne-prone skin, this could result in developing pimples on your scalp. After all, the scalp is but an extension of the skin on your face.  Practicing good personal hygiene and thorough hair rinsing can do a lot to control an oily scalp.

2. It’s hormonal.

Similar to how women experience breakouts during that time of the month, scalp acne can also be caused by hormonal changes. According to Healthline, hormonal changes can lead to your skin’s increase in oil production especially in teenagers and young adults. If so, it’s time to visit a dermatologist to diagnose if the scalp acne you’re experiencing is hormonal in order for them to prescribe the proper medicated treatment.

3. Your hair products contain oil.

A lot of hair care products—from your shampoo and conditioner to hair masks—contain moisturising oils. While these provide a beautiful sheen to your mane, it could also clog your hair follicles and pores according to the American Association of Dermatologists. It’s not just your scalp that gets affected, you may also notice some whiteheads appearing along your hairline, upper forehead, and neck.

4. You may not be washing your hair often enough.

If you’ve developed the habit of not washing your hair everyday, this could cause pimples to appear on your scalp according to trichologist Anabel Kingsley in an August 2020 interview with Glamour. Wet shampoos help cleanse the scalp and hair of dirt and debris that cause scalp issues. If you use a lot of hair products, like pomades, gels, and sprays, you should be thoroughly washing your hair daily. For workout buffs, showering after a sweat-inducing exercise can also help prevent scalp acne from arising.

5. It’s actually scalp folliculitis.

When our hair follicles get damaged, it allows germs to get inside and cause an infection. The infection will appear in acne-like breakouts, often creating an itching or stinging sensation. Scalp folliculitis often appears along the hairline and commonly caused by constantly wearing tight hairstyles or caps. It could also be a build-up of hair products over time. Usually, mild cases of scalp folliculitis can be treated at home. But if your condition worsens or persists, especially when these pimples have a similar appearance to cysts, then it’s best to consult a doctor for proper treatment.

If you’re currently dealing with scalp acne, don’t panic. Sometimes all it takes is a change in your hair routine, such as by switching shampoos or exfoliating your scalp. For a thorough diagnosis, it’s best to consult a doctor.

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