Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Scalp Pimples

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Pimples on the scalp are annoying and often painful. How do they come about, and how do you get rid of them?

Pimples are annoying on every part of the body. Even in those places where you can only see them sparsely, they can be a nuisance - such as on the scalp, hidden under the head of hair.

A pimple on the scalp is often noticed late, i.e., when the spot becomes inflamed and painful, the hair is falling out (because you are constantly scratching the same place), or the affected area under the hair becomes reddish.

Cause of pimples on the scalp

  • If a pimple itches on the scalp, the cause is usually acne or folliculitis, i.e., a bacterial inflammation of the hair follicle. In both cases, you should treat them.
  • If the scalp is damaged, for example, by shaving, the hair follicles are more susceptible to infection - they become inflamed. Symptoms are itchy whitish pustules or tiny pimples and the hair follicle. If left untreated, this can result in larger boils.

Clogged scalp pores lead to pimples.

  • Impurities on the scalp can also lead to pimples. The scalp pores are clogged by dead skin cells or sweat and product residues (such as hair gel, shampoo, hairspray, or foam). Bacteria can also use them to penetrate the pores and cause inflammation. If clogged pores are not cleaned, acne occurs.
  • Hats, caps, and caps can also be the cause of pimples on the scalp. If you rub the skin too hard, the scalp will be irritated.
  • Another possible cause of pimples on the scalp can be an allergic reaction to a new hair product or laundry detergent (we sleep for hours on washed sheets every day!). In that case, you should stop using the suspected product and have an allergy test done by a doctor.

Scalp pimples due to stress

  • A stressful everyday life can also cause pimples on the scalp. Stress affects our hormones, which can lead to an overactive function of the glands on the scalp that produce sebum. This excess sebum can clog pores and cause acne on the scalp. Other hormonal changes (such as during puberty, menstruation, or menopause) can also contribute to pimples on the scalp.
  • If scalp acne is ignored, it leads to itching, inflammation, crusts, and ultimately scars on the skin. Fungal infections can also occur as a result, which must be treated medically.

This helps with pimples on the head

If you have pimples on your scalp, the first thing to do is take care of your scalp! That means: Do not use any cosmetic products (e.g., gel, spray, hair dye) immediately! Hot hair-drying and the use of straightening irons or curling irons should also be avoided for the time being.

Pimples can become infected, especially around the hairline, if left untreated. Antibacterial shampoos can provide first aid. They should have the lowest possible pH ("pH-neutral") and be fragrance-free.

However, before using an (over-the-counter) medicinal shampoo, you should ask a doctor or pharmacist for advice. The itchy and reddened scalp can indicate a disease that needs particular medication to be treated.

Home remedies for pimples on the scalp

As a home remedy - for example, against ingrown hair follicles - a daily ten-minute hair compress made of tea tree and olive oil mixed with sugar to form a peeling helps. It is said to soothe the itchiness and combat the swelling.

Tea tree oil has a disinfectant effect and dries out the pimples. You can also drip it on a cotton ball and treat the affected areas.

A chamomile rinse can also help - at least when it comes to itching. Add a bowl with three chamomile tea bags - or better, chamomile flowers - pour in, let cool (until it is lukewarm), and massage it into the scalp. Then let it dry by itself (do not rinse!).

If the scalp pimples don't go away, it's time to see a doctor - preferably a dermatologist. If spots on the scalp don't go away, they can indicate a disease, such as seborrheic dermatitis - one of the most common skin conditions in which yellowish, oily flakes form on the scalp.

Avoid scalp pimples

But prevention is still better than aftercare:

  • Wash your hair every other day and always after exercising!
  • Avoid oily hair products if possible!
  • Brush your hair regularly to remove dead skin cells!

So pimples on the scalp no longer have a chance.

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First Year Medicine student

Los Angeles, CA

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