Acne on the scalp may be easier to treat than you think. On all other parts of your body, acne is primarily cause by genetic and hormonal factors that need medications to be treated properly. However acne on the scalp is commonly caused by harmful habits and hair products.
Acne on the hairline:
Acne around the hairline and outer scalp is especially common in people with skin of color. Acne on the hairline is frequently caused by the use of hair products that are high in oil and grease, for improving the texture and manageability of hair. These products can be highly comedogenic (acne-causing) and can spread to the hairline, temples, and forehead. This causes closely packed comedonal and papular acne. If you use hair products with greasy emollients like pomade or cocoa butter to style your hair, make sure to keep it away from your scalp or you risk breaking out.
Is it acne or dermatitis?
If your pimples are on your scalp (underneath your hair), then it isn’t traditional acne, but rather scalp folliculitis. This is when a hair follicle (the same thing as a pore) becomes infected and inflamed because of either bacteria, yeast, or even a mite. Scalp folliculitis usually goes away within a week or two, but if it doesn’t, you may need to reach out to your doctor to get a special shampoo that contains antibiotics, anti-fungals, or possibly steroids.
Annoying but easily treated:
The scalp may be the most annoying place to get acne. If it occurs along your hairline it is very noticeable and it is more likely to get itchy and irritated. Luckily, acne around the scalp can usually be treated with some small hair product substitutes. Make the changes, see the difference.
- Kaminer, M., and B. Gilchrest. “The Many Faces of Acne.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 32.5 (1995): S6-S14. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/0190-9622(95)90415-8/abstractref>.
- Taylor, S. “Acne Vulgaris in Skin of Color*1.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 46.2 (2002): S98-106. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(02)70213-2/fulltext>.
- “DermNet NZ.” Scalp Folliculitis. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.dermnetnz.org/acne/scalp-folliculitis.html>.