Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Best Scalp Acne Treatments

Best Scalp Acne Treatments

Acne is a common problem that can appear on many areas of your skin, especially the face, back and scalp. The scalp presents a unique challenge to treating acne, as most people have a thick coating of hair blocking medications from reaching the scalp. Regardless of the added difficulty, scalp acne is largely treated the same way you would treat acne on any other part of the body.

Salicylic Acid

Over-the-counter products, such as salicylic acid, are the first line of treatment for scalp acne. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent, meaning that it has the ability to break down a protein called keratin, which makes up a large part of your skin. Because acne plugs are made up of keratin, salicylic acid is able to break down the protein, releasing the plug from the blocked follicle. The regular use of salicylic acid also helps prevent acne, as it slows down the rate at which skin cells shed in the follicle.

Topical Antimicrobials

Topical antimicrobials (such as azelaic acid or topical antibiotics) are the next line of defense against acne. Topical antimicrobials are designed to kill the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which contributes to the formation of more serious inflammatory forms of acne, such as acne cysts or nodules. Typically benzoyl peroxide can also be used as an antimicrobial, but benzoyl peroxide can also bleach your hair, making it less desirable for treating scalp acne.

Antibiotics

You can use both topical and oral antibiotics to treat scalp acne. Antibiotics kill the P. acne bacteria. Some antibiotics, such as topical erythromycin, also have anti-inflammatory capabilities. Dermatologists often recommend the antibiotics sodium sulfacetamide and Clindamycin for the short-term treatment of acne breakouts.

Retinoids

Retinoids, such as adapalene and tazarotene, unclog pores and prevent comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) from forming in the follicles. The retinoid isotretinoin is particularly popular for acne treatment due to its abilities to treat all the major contributing factors of acne formation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. These factors include excess sebum oil production, irregular skin cell shedding, inflammation and bacteria.

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