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Clogged Hair Follicles on Scalp: Symptoms, Causes & Best At-Home Treatments


Flaky, itchy skin on the scalp may be a result of clogged hair follicles. It can be a result of different factors. 

An inflammatory condition called folliculitis may also often affect the scalp. Keep reading to find out more.  

Table of Contents:

  • What are the Signs and Symptoms of Clogged Hair Follicles?
  • What are the Causes of Clogged Hair Follicles?
  • Natural Buildup
  • Product Buildup
  • Infections
  • How Can I Treat My Clogged Hair Follicles?
  • Start With the Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Essential Oils
  • Exfoliate Your Scalp
  • Take Cold Showers
  • General Hair Care

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Clogged Hair Follicles?

The signs and symptoms of clogged hair follicles include:

  • Several clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles
  • A large swollen bump on the scalp
  • Rough, dry, and flaking skin
  • Very itchy scalp
  • Tender scalp skin, often painful 
  • Pus-filled blisters 

clogged hair follicle

What are the Causes of Clogged Hair Follicles?

There are 3 main causes of clogged hair follicles. It is vital to know all the causes and determine the culprit responsible for blocking your hair follicles. 

Natural Buildup

Dead skin cells, excessive sebum production, and sweat are the main reasons responsible for causing buildup on the scalp and blocking it.

Product Buildup

Using too many hair products can also lead to clogging your follicles. This is because many hair products contain waxy substances. 

These waxy substances can stick to your scalp if you do not thoroughly rinse it out while washing. Examples of these hair products include hair gels, foams, etc. 


Folliculitis is often caused by an infection of the hair follicles. The main culprits include bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, fungi, viruses, or inflammation due to ingrown hairs.

How Can I Treat My Clogged Hair Follicles?

There are many things you can do at home to reduce the symptoms of clogged hair follicles. Not only that, but you can also prevent them from getting clogged in the first place. 

Start With the Shampoo and Conditioner

It is common for us to stick to the same shampoo and conditioner we always pick without considering our hair type and its requirements. 

There is a variety of shampoos available today to address different hair needs, such as those formulated for dry hair, oily hair, deep cleaning, preventing breakage, medicated shampoos, and so on. 

So, make sure to pick a shampoo and conditioner that best suits your needs. 

For instance, shampoos for oily hair contain lauryl sulfates or sulfosuccinates, which help in removing sebum from the hair. 

For dry and damaged hair, shampoos contain silicones, sarcosine, ammonioesters, alkanolamides, or sodium lauraminopropionate. 

These ingredients help in cleansing the hair without removing excess sebum and hence will prevent from drying it out. 

WOW Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo

WOW Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo is plant-powered by charcoal to remove the buildup of dirt, impurities, oil, whereas the keratin fortifies your strands. 

WOW Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo

This shampoo also consists of a nourishing blend of sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, and aloe vera extract to soothe your scalp and replenish it with moisture. Deep clean your hair to prevent blocked follicles. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

According to a 2014 study, apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties. Since bacteria is one of the causes of clogged follicles, ACV can be useful in preventing bacterial action and help keep your scalp clean. Although, more research is required to prove this. 

Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of ACV in 250 ml of water. Store it in a spray bottle and use it after shampoo. Spray the mix onto wet hair. Massage it gently on your hair and scalp, don't forget the ends. Let it for a few minutes and wash. 

Alternatively, select a good ACV shampoo. 

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Pick WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo to purify, revive, and balance the pH of your hair and bring back its original glory. 

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Infused with raw apple cider vinegar, it helps in thoroughly clarifying and rebuilding your hair. It removes all the excess sebum and buildup. 

Essential Oils

Various studies show that tea tree oil has multiple beneficial properties. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and other properties, which makes it useful for treating and preventing clogged follicles. 

There are many other essential oils with antimicrobial properties like lemon oil, chamomile oil, clove oil, etc. 

Dilute 2 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil with 10 to 12 drops of carrier oil of your choice. Gently massage it on your scalp for 5 minutes. Leave it on for a few minutes—shampoo per usual.

WOW Tea Tree Essential Oil is potent and 100% pure. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, insecticidal & stimulant attributes.

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Pick this oil to prevent or treat clogged hair follicles. Use it consistently for 8 to 10 weeks to see noticeable differences in your scalp. 

Exfoliate Your Scalp

Exfoliating your scalp once a week can help get rid of the product and natural buildup. You can use an exfoliant on wet, shampooed hair. 

Take a small quantity of the product and massage it in circular motions to get rid of dead skin cells and other buildups. 

Take Cold Showers

Taking very hot showers can damage your scalp and make it more prone to inflammation and dandruff. Hence, take cold showers as they are less drying and help in boosting circulation in the scalp, help in increasing the flow of oxygen flow to blood vessels, and make your hair follicles stronger.

General Hair Care

When it comes to general hair care, there is a lot you can do. Always ensure that you avoid hair products with harsh chemicals like parabens. 

Moreover, do an oil massage once every week, wash your hair every few days, and brush your hair every day. Also, plan your workouts accordingly to avoid sweat buildup.

WOW Castor Oil

WOW Castor Oil delivers intense nourishment to your hair and supports its overall health. Use this castor oil as a carrier oil along with your preferred essential oil and prevent blocking of hair follicles. 

wow castor oil

Natural buildup, product buildup, and microbial infections are the leading causes of clogged hair follicles on the scalp. 

To treat it, start by choosing the right shampoo and conditioner according to your hair type and requirements. 

Also, consider trying a home remedy like diluted apple cider vinegar and make sure to maintain a good hair care regimen.

Sangya Shaily

Sangya Shaily is a content writer from Mumbai, India. She loves writing lifestyle, beauty, fashion, and health & wellness-related content, among other things. In her leisure time, she loves to indulge in reading classic literature and spend time with her family.

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