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What Is The Best Shampoo For Scalp Acne


We’ve all dealt with those infuriating and embarrassing zits that decide to pop up on any part of our face on random occasions. 

But what feels even more dreadful is when these pesky breakouts decide to set up a camp on our scalp.

Yes, even if it sounds completely absurd, acne scalp is a common concern that many of us deal with. 

Being unaware about it or trying out some googled remedies can worsen the situation for you. 

So, if you’ve recently observed some painful bumps on your scalp, hop in for some much-needed help. 

Understand all about what scalp acne is and how to get rid of it.

Table of Contents:

  • What Is Scalp Acne?
  • Causes Of Scalp Acne
  • Measures To Get Rid Of Scalp Acne

What Is Scalp Acne?

Like the rest of our body, our scalp is also susceptible to dryness, itchiness, inflammation, and acne. 

As per dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD, Sadick Dermatology, New York City, scalp acne occurs due to clogged pores and hair follicles due to over excretion of sebum or build-up of residue. Though it commonly appears along the hairline but can strike anywhere on your scalp. 

scalp acne, acne on scalp, acne in hair, hair acne

The overdrive in sebum production by the sebaceous glands can be affected by both internal and external factors.

Trichologist Dominic Burg, the chief scientist at Evolis Professional, states that washing your hair and cleansing your scalp with an effective shampoo can help you get rid of scalp acne. 

Apart from shampoos, a few other tips can help you keep your scalp prevented from this itchy woe. 

Causes Of Scalp Acne

Understanding the causes of scalp acne and what triggers it can help you know exactly what to avoid and how to care for your tresses in a better manner. 

Here are a few prime factors that might be the cause of your scalp acne:

  • Excessive production of sebum by sebaceous glands 
  • Regular use of products enriched with comedogenic ingredients
  • Infestation of bacteria or fungus in your scalp
  • Irregular washing off your hair leads to a build-up of dirt and residue
  • Wearing headgear, scarf, or hat for too long
  • Humidity that might cause you to sweat too much
  • Stress
  • Consumption of oily food items

As per Shari Hicks-Graham, a board-certified dermatologist in Columbus, Ohio, people with oily textures and scalps are more prone to these pesky breakouts. 

Measures To Get Rid Of Scalp Acne

Combating pimples and breakouts on your scalp isn’t all that complicated. Here are a few recommended tips that can help you get rid of scalp acne. 

Regular wash-days

If your scalp is prone to oiliness, make sure to wash your locks every other day. Even if you skip shampooing once in a while, make a routine of at least thoroughly washing your air every day, especially after exercising. 

Be careful with your shampoo

As per Neal Schultz, a New York City dermatologist, your choice of shampoo plays a huge role in determining the health of your scalp. It’s really important to go for an anti-inflammatory shampoo to cleanse your scalp and let it stay for a few minutes after lathering and before proceeding to rinse it out. 

Dr. Anna Guanche, M.D. F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist, founder/director of the Bella Skin Institute, states that shampoos enriched with the goodness of apple cider vinegar are effective against scalp acne. 

Infused with antibacterial, acidic, and keratolytic properties, ACV enriched shampoo feels super smooth on the scalp, makes your hair appear fuller, and also diminishes the appearance of inflamed zits on your scalp. 

ACV shampoo

The activated charcoal and keratin shampoo from WOW Skin Science is another safe bet to tackle scalp acne as the formulation is enriched with all the right ingredients that promise a healthy and nourishing scalp. 

Avoid picking and popping

Just like any other zit that appears on our face, pimples of the scalp should also be never picked as it can lead to the bacteria infecting your scalp and worsen your situation. 

Keep your hands off all the breakouts, no matter how itchy, swollen, or inflamed it gets.

Regular exfoliation

Opting for a gentle product to exfoliate your scalp once a week can help you get your scalp thoroughly cleansed. 

Also, it can soothe your irritated scalp and do damage control concerning the breakouts of your scalp. 

Tea tree oil is one effective product that has been found to treat acne. But be sure to use the product in moderate quantities. 

Steer clear of greasy hair products

Regular usage of thick and greasy hair care products can clog your hair follicles and add to the damage. Though these products might be hydrating, they can also lead to the build-up of excessive dirt, grease, and oil in your scalp. 

Over-the-counter products

A few over-the-counter products containing the right ingredients can prove helpful in dealing with scalp acne as well. 

Some ingredients that you can look for are Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, Ciclopirox, and Ketoconazole.

Pay attention to your diet

A detailed review of diet and acne suggests that diet plays a huge role in the production of oil as well as inflammation and acne. 

Try limiting your consumption of carbohydrate-rich food items to prevent scalp acne. 

Also, your diet should be enriched with essential nutrients, which include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, and antioxidants. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can shampoo make your scalp break out?

Yes, several chemical-infused hair products such as shampoo, hair styling gels, and sprays can clog your pores and leave residue behind. 

How can you treat acne on the scalp?

Medicated shampoos and scalp treatments formulated especially for clogged pores can help you treat breakouts of your scalp.

Can stress cause pimples on the scalp?

Yes, just like facial acne, stress can also trigger pimples and zits on the scalp. 

Dwelling on your scalp acne won’t benefit you but treating these pesky breakouts can become effortless with the right products and tips. 

Scalp acne is easily treatable like the zits present on any other part of your body. But, if the pimples of your scalp are accompanied by extreme pain and swelling, wait no more and consult a dermatologist for proper evaluation. 

Do not let a tiny zit or bump on your scalp freak you out, treat it and prevent further eruptions with the right products and recommendations.

Geetika Kapoor

Deeply passionate about writing, I’m a freelancer and have been working on several writing projects for several domains across the globe since last three years. I love reviewing different products ranging from skin care products, perfumes, body lotions, feminine products, hygiene items and several others. An English teacher by profession, I love interacting with kids and discovering different personalities as well. When I’m not writing I spend most of time reading novels, listening to songs, solving tricky puzzles and travelling around the world to my favourite destinations. Collen Hoover and Nicholas Sparks are my all time favourite authors. Their writing leaves a deep impact and stays with me for long.

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