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What Are Tension Bumps on the Scalp, and How to Get Rid of Them?

3 mins

Evelyn Carter

Learn everything you need to know about tension bumps on the scalp, their symptoms and causes, and simple home remedies to get rid of them.

Finding bumps on the scalp can be concerning, especially if these bumps are red, itchy, painful, or have pus. If you're experiencing this condition, don't panic. Tension bumps on the scalp are fairly common and can usually be treated at home with a few easy remedies.

Women who wear their hair in protective hairstyles such as braids are the most likely to get tension bumps. However, they're also common in people who shave their heads. While tension bumps are common, dealing with them can still be difficult.

In this article, we'll first understand what tension bumps on the scalp are, what causes them, and how to get rid of them with some simple remedies.

Table of Contents:

  • What are Tension Bumps on the Scalp?
  • Symptoms of Tension Bumps
  • What Causes Tension Bumps?
  • Home Remedies to Get Rid of Tension Bumps on the Scalp
  • Relieve the Tension
  • Drain the Pus
  • Use an Anti-dandruff Shampoo
  • Use Cortisone Cream
  • Keep It Clean

    What are Tension Bumps on the Scalp?

    Tension bumps on the scalp usually appear as a response to some kind of trauma. Scalp folliculitis is the medical name for tension bumps that develop on the scalp. 

    The condition is typically brought on by a bacterial or fungal infection that reaches the hair follicles following trauma to the skin. If you wear your hair tightly in any style, from smooth ponytails to braided hairstyles, you run a significant risk of getting tension bumps.

    tension bumps scalp

    Most people experience tension bumps for a short period, but it can be a recurring issue. The issue with tension bumps is that if they're brought on by fungi and bacteria, they have a natural tendency to spread. 

    Symptoms of Tension Bumps

    Folliculitis begins as small, red bumps that resemble an acne outbreak. They usually begin at the hairline. The bumps may enlarge and become more inflamed as the condition progresses and spreads to other follicles. 

    The following are symptoms of scalp folliculitis:

    • Clusters of tiny, white-tipped red bumps on the scalp
    • Yellowish-brown scabs covering sores
    • Blisters that produce pus
    • Itching
    • A stinging or burning sensation
    • Pain or soreness

    What Causes Tension Bumps?

    Folliculitis is brought on by injury to your follicles, which makes them susceptible to fungi and bacteria that cause infections. 

    The follicles on your scalp can be damaged by a variety of factors, including: 

    • Regularly rubbing or scratching your head
    • Twisting or pulling your hair
    • Wearing tight hairstyles
    • Regularly using hats or helmets
    • Regularly shaving your head
    what causes tension bumps on scalp

    Home Remedies to Get Rid of Tension Bumps on the Scalp

    Now that you know what tension bumps are, their symptoms, and their causes, let's take a look at the five easiest remedies you can do at home.

    • Relieve the Tension

    The foremost thing you must do to get rid of tension bumps on the scalp is to relieve the tension. 

    If a tight hairstyle causes them, open it and let your hair down. Switch to relaxed hairstyles or leave your hair loose for a few weeks. Avoiding tight hairstyles altogether in the future may also help prevent the condition from recurring.

    If the tension bumps were caused by shaving, stop shaving for a few weeks or change your shaving technique. For example, if you have been using a hand razor, you can switch to an electric one.

    • Drain the Pus

    Pus drainage is your body's natural defense mechanism against infections. If you notice white or yellow pus oozing from the bumps, you should promote it to speed up the healing process.

    You can do this by soaking a clean towel in warm water and holding it to the bumps for a few minutes. Then, gently wipe off any pus that was released. You can do this up to thrice a day. However, you must ensure that the towel you use is very clean every single time, so you don't introduce any more germs to the infected area.

    home remedies to get rid of tension bumps on scalp
    • Use an Anti-dandruff Shampoo

    Anti-dandruff shampoos usually contain anti-fungal ingredients such as ketoconazole and tea tree oil. They can clear up the infection and also promote a healthier scalp environment to reduce the chances of contracting an infection again.

    Using a 100% natural shampoo containing green tea and tea tree extracts is a great way to get rid of the infection while keeping your hair soft and shiny.

    green tea shampoo
    • Use Cortisone Cream

    Cortisone cream is a steroid in a cream form that can provide you some relief from itching, burning, and inflammation. It functions by weakening your body's defense mechanisms. It is available without a prescription from the majority of pharmacies or online.

    You can use it up to twice a day in case of mild tension bumps on the scalp. However, ensure that you clean your skin before applying the cream.

    • Keep It Clean

    Since tension bumps thrive on fungi and bacteria, it's crucial to keep the skin as well as your products clean. You can use antibacterial soap to clean the affected area once or twice a day. 

    Apart from that, you must keep your pillows, bedding, hair accessories, combs, and hair brushes clean. If an accessory like a comb or hat comes into contact with the infected skin, wash it right away and ensure it's clean before the next use.

    face washing

    Tension bumps on the scalp, scientifically known as Scalp Folliculitis, are red, itchy, painful, and sometimes pus-filled bumps on the scalp that may initially look like an acne breakout. They're often caused by tight hairstyles or shaving and can spread further with fungal or bacterial infections. The remedies given here are simple and can help you get rid of tension bumps and stop them from recurring or spreading.

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    Evelyn Carter

    Evelyn was involved in the beauty industry as a makeup artist before she turned to full-time writing. Carter has reviewed numerous skincare, haircare and other beauty products. Her experience gives her keen insights into products, ingredients, and their reliability. Her articles are informational content pieces liked by readers and beauty brands alike.

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