Acne treatment Acne treatment

Acne of the Scalp

Acne of the Scalp Acne of the Scalp


Acne affects 40 to 50 million Americans, and although it predominantly affects teenagers, people of any age can get it. It is still not known why some people suffer from acne and others don't, but it is clear that there are four main things that cause and aggravate this skin condition. Excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation all play their part. Scalp acne occurs for the same reasons that acne elsewhere occurs, but it may be harder to treat topically because of your hair.

Excess Oil

Your body produces an oil called sebum to prevent dryness, and during adolescence production increases. If you use pomade to style your hair you are adding more oil to an already oily area. Excess sebum and pomade cannot always be absorbed, so pores become clogged. If you have recently changed hair products and now have acne, stop using it for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference.


Bacteria thrive in moist, warm areas and multiply in the excess oil on your head, causing inflammation. A little inflammation will result in blackheads or whiteheads. As blockages develop, pimples form, and if left untreated they will become infected and filled with pus. Severe acne occurs when the inflammation becomes acute. If you scratch the affected areas you are likely to do additional harm, introducing new bacteria with your fingernails and spreading the infection.

How to Avoid Scalp Acne

There is no way to completely avoid scalp acne, but the American Academy of Dermatology's SkinCarePhysicians website suggests that you keep pomade away from your scalp. Apply it an inch above the scalp or put it on the ends of your hair. Face creams and other cosmetics can also clog pores, so choose oil-free products and use gentle shampoos. Stop using your conditioner for a couple of weeks to see if your acne clears up.

Treatment Options

Acne is not curable, but some foods can worsen your condition. Try keeping a food diary to see what foods, if any, seem to make your acne worse. Most of the medications used to treat acne can also be used on your scalp. suggest benzyl peroxide as the best way to clear up acne, but this may bleach your hair. Other possible treatments include salicylic acid and anti-dandruff shampoos.

Stronger Teatment

If your scalp acne is resistant to topical treatment or you find that your hair gets in the way of creams, you may be prescribed an antibiotic such as erythromycin or doxycycline. A combination of antibiotics and topical treatments can be effective. Some women find birth control pills useful. For large, painful areas of scalp, corticosteroid injections target the pain and assist healing.

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