Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acne on the Scalp

Acne on the Scalp Acne on the Scalp Acne on the Scalp

Overview

When most people think of acne, they envision pimples on the face, particularly on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. However, acne can also appear on the scalp. From mild pimples to large lesions, scalp acne can be itchy and irritating, but with proper care, diagnosis and treatment, you can experience clear skin and a clear scalp.

Scalp Acne

Scalp acne is very similar to acne on your face in most cases. It can consist of blackheads, whiteheads or even large cysts. However, the major difference comes in treatment because topical creams do not work as well with your hair in the way. In some cases, lesions on the scalp are actually scalp folliculitis, which looks very much like acne and can cause itchy pimples along the hairline and on the scalp itself. Treatment for this condition also differs from standard acne treatments.

Causes

Scalp acne can be caused by hormone fluctuations that result in too much oil production. It can also stem from washing your hair too frequently or too infrequently or even using a shampoo that causes irritation on your scalp. Scalp folliculitis on the other hand is usually caused by the presence of a foreign substance like bacteria, mites or yeast on the scalp that produces an inflammatory response.

Topical Treatments

Some topical treatments can be used on scalp acne and scalp folliculitis. For acne, you can use creams or cleansers that contain salicylic acid. Just be sure to wash with a mild shampoo and conditioner afterward to prevent build up and dandruff. Dandruff shampoo is sometimes all that's needed to bring balance to your scalp's oil production and ease your acne. For folliculitis, you may need prescription creams to get the job done like a topical steroid to reduce inflammation or erythromycin or clindamycin to kill bacteria.

Oral Treatments

In severe cases of scalp acne and folliculitis, oral drugs may be needed. An oral antibiotic can kill acne bacteria and reduce your breakouts over time. Isotretinoin or Accutane also provides good results in shrinking your pores and oil glands, resulting in fewer blemishes in the long run. For folliculitis, an oral antihistamine may be need to reduce the body's inflammatory response and to allow topical medications aimed and treating the cause of the breakout (yeast, mites, etc) to work in a more effective manner.

Prevention

Prevention is often the best medicine when it comes to scalp acne and folliculitis. Use a mild shampoo that's oil-free and follow that up with a gentle conditioner. Avoid styling products if you can, which can add oil to your scalp and cause more breakouts. Also, wash your hair at least every other day to remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells and make it a habit to change your pillowcase each week to prevent the introduction of bacteria and oil into your scalp.

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