Hate Your Scalp Acne? Learn to Get Rid of It Here!


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Bumping your head into the wall for the best ways on how to get rid of scalp acne? Learn how to eliminate this issue all naturally here!


The only good thing about scalp acne is that it’s hidden under your hair; except, of course, when you have short, thin hair. Then hiding it will be quite a problem.

But when you think about it, having a thick layer of hair to cover up your scalp acne is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

It’s great and all that it can be easily concealed, but there’s no point in trying to hide it when you can get rid of it.

Having a thick layer of hair will only make it harder to get rid of scalp acne since you treat it the same way you would facial acne, as they’re the same thing.

Not only is scalp acne difficult to get rid of, but it’s also such an inconvenience. Imagine having to comb your hair only to hit painful pimples on your scalp.​

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Can You Get Acne On Your Scalp?

Scalp acne is very similar to facial acne regarding how it occurs. And just like with facial acne, the main reason for an acne outbreak on the scalp is clogged pores. And yes, your scalp has pores too.

As it turns out, pores are merely openings on our skin which hair grows from. Each strand of hair has a follicle which anchors it to the skin. Attached to the follicle is a sebaceous gland which secretes an oily substance called sebum that helps lubricate the hair and skin.​

This is where the problem starts. When your sebaceous glands produce an excess amount of sebum, it can eventually clog up your pores. As a result of this blockage, the hair follicle may enlarge to form a little bump.

In time, that little bump may rupture, thus allowing bacteria to reach deep into the tissues and cause inflammation. Although bacterial infection doesn’t primarily cause acne, it plays a role in its development.

And as that clogged pore gets infected with bacteria, it eventually develops into painful, pus-filled, red bumps.​

Why Did I Acne On My Head Scalp?

Although I’ve mentioned that scalp acne is the same thing as facial acne, there are still additional factors that contribute to an acne outbreak on the scalp.

Factors such as naturally oily/greasy scalp, hair styling products, harsh shampoos and conditioners, headwear, dirty bed sheets and pillowcases, and stress can all lead to scalp acne.

Further explanation on how these factors contribute to the formation of scalp acne is discussed below.

1. Naturally Oily / Greasy Scalp​

Having a naturally oily/greasy scalp is a another problem on its own. The worst part is that it can lead to many scalp and hair problems such as dandruff, greasy hair, and not to mention, scalp acne.

As overactive sebaceous glands on the scalp produce an excess amount of sebum (your skin’s natural oils), it can make your scalp oily/greasy. That is why people with naturally oily scalps are known to be more prone to scalp acne.

Because the scalp has an excess amount of sebum, it can quickly clog up the pores, resulting in acne. Some factors affect, however, the production of excess sebum on the scalp; for example genes, hormonal imbalances, humidity, and diet.

2. Hair Styling Products​

Although this may not apply to all, what you’re putting on your hair may well be the cause of your acne breakout on your scalp. In fact, breakouts caused by hair styling products are so common, it’s even called “pomade acne.”

Hairsprays, hair gels, and pomades tend to be the most acne inducing hair products seeing as though they can easily clog up the pores. Acne breakouts on the scalp are the result of the buildup of these products over time.

You may also want to watch out for oil-based hair products since they have a tendency to trap the most bacteria and create a breeding ground for them. Also, hair products with a pretty high alcohol content tend to irritate the skin and cause inflammation.

3. Harsh Shampoos and Conditioners​

What we mean when we say harsh shampoos and conditioners are hair products that are loaded with chemicals. Some of these chemicals are known to have a hand in acne outbreaks on the scalp.

One of the chemicals commonly found in shampoos is sodium lauryl sulfate which is primarily known to cause skin irritation and strip your skin of its natural oils and proteins that help keep it healthy.​

The bottom line in all of this is to switch to shampoos and conditioners that have more natural ingredients and make sure to rinse your hair well to avoid leaving residues that can cause breakouts.

4. Headwear​

If you regularly wear hats or helmets, make sure you’re aware of how often you clean them because it plays a huge role in the development of scalp acne.

Left-over sweat that has accumulated from the last time you wore your hat can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria which can increase your chances of developing an acne breakout on your scalp.

And as you continuously wear your unwashed hat or helmet, imagine the amount of sweat trapped within it combined with the natural oils on your scalp. The result can only be clogged pores leading to acne.​

If you can’t avoid wearing hats or helmets, like if you’re an athlete in which wearing a helmet is a necessity, just make sure to wash your hair as soon as possible after using your headgear to avoid further breakouts.

5. Dirty Bed Sheets and Pillowcases​

So aside from hats, the second most common thing your head comes into contact with is your bed sheets and pillowcases. Unclean bed linens are the perfect area for bacteria to grow and thrive leading to more acne breakouts on your scalp.

I mean think about it, all the dirt and sweat that has accumulated on your head for the whole day seeps into your pillowcases. You’re just putting your head on a pillow full of sweat and dirt for 6-8 hours.

To avoid doing so, wash or change your bed sheets and pillowcases at least once a week to keep away the dirt and sweat build up.​

6. Stress

Although stress may not trigger acne, it can definitely make it worse. As mentioned above, our skin produces natural oils called sebum which mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog up the pores and cause acne.

Research has shown that the cells that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones. So when a person who already has acne is under a lot of stress, sebum production increases which leads to more clogged up pores and more acne.

Therefore, the increase in acne might be due to higher levels of sebum produced during stressful times.

How To Get Rid Of Scalp Acne - Treatment and Home Remedies​

Although scalp acne is usually out of sight, it can still be quite bothersome. There’s no reason to keep around something painful and uncomfortable, but that’s where the hard part comes in.

If you think about it, scalp acne is pretty difficult to treat as it’s mostly covered by your hair. So you have to be very careful what you use on your scalp acne so as not to damage your scalp and hair.

Take for example benzoyl peroxide. Even though it’s a popular medication used in treating mild to moderate acne, it’s not recommended for scalp acne as it can bleach the hair.

And with that being said, we recommend using all-natural remedies such as the ones listed below, rather than the usual pharmaceutical route.

1. Tea Tree Shampoo

Tea tree oil works just as well as the top drugstore acne remedy, benzoyl peroxide. It’s a potent essential oil well-known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Unlike other acne treatments, tea tree oil will not strip your skin of its natural oils and cause further damage.

To apply, just pour a few drops of tea tree oil onto a cotton pad or tissue and gently dab it onto the affected area. Leave it for a few hours (or even overnight). Make sure to use 100% pure tea tree oil with a 15% or lesser concentration.

Also, be careful not to overuse it. Even though it’s much more gentle than other harsh synthetic chemicals, tea tree oil can still dry out your skin, triggering your body to overproduce its oils and make your acne worse.

2. Coconut Oil

Beauty experts swear by the efficacy of coconut oil in curing different kinds of skin conditions, including acne.

Coconut oil is produced from the meat of a mature coconut. In order to extract the oil, the coconut’s water, fiber, and proteins goes through a long process of either wet-milling or drying-pressing.

Rich in the medium chain fatty acids capric acid and lauric acid that contain antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, coconut oil helps protect your scalp from acne-causing bacteria.

On top of it, the essential fatty acids of coconut oil that remove sebum build up from your scalp’s hair follicles also strengthen your hair and in keep it silky smooth.​

When using coconut oil to get rid of scalp acne, avoid the unrefined variety that may contain dust particles. It will only further aggravate the condition of your scalp acne by clogging your hair follicles.

Use coconut oil as a pre-shampoo leave-on solution by applying a handful on your scalp. Massage your scalp with the oil, concentrating on areas that are prone to scalp acne.

Leave it on for fifteen minutes, using a shower cap to keep your hair in place. Then, wash your hair thoroughly with a mild clarifying shampoo.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains antibacterial properties which help fight against the acne-causing bacteria. The astringent property of aloe vera helps remove excess oil and dirt from the skin to prevent acne breakout and relieve the pain caused by swelling.

In applying, simply extract the gel from the aloe vera and apply it directly to the acne. Leave it overnight and wash it out in the morning.

As an added benefit, aloe vera is also good for your hair. So not only will you be treating your scalp acne, but also your dry and damaged hair.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed with salicylic acid, which is a common ingredient in commercial acne products.

With the help of salicylic acid, toxins are removed from the pores. It also contains antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals that cause acne.

Make sure to use fresh tomatoes in treating scalp acne. The simplest way to do this is to directly apply it on the affected areas, then gently massage it in for a few seconds. Then rinse with warm water.

5. Papaya

Papayas contain lycopene, which protects the skin from free radicals that cause acne. It also contains vitamin A, which helps reduce inflammation and redness from acne.

Vitamin A also strips pores of dead skin cells which can accumulate to further clog the pores.

Before using, check to see if you’re allergic to papayas. If not, then simply apply the juice of an unripe papaya to your scalp acne for at least 15 minutes. Then wash your hair thoroughly.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the easiest and most popular ways to treat acne naturally. Because of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it kills bacteria to reduce breakouts.

It also helps reduce redness, swelling, and pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

To apply, pour a few drops of apple cider vinegar onto a cotton ball, then gently apply it on the affected area. Rinse it off with water and repeat the process daily.

If you have sensitive skin, dilute the apple cider vinegar with water.

The Bottom Line​

Although scalp acne can easily be hidden, it can still be extremely annoying, especially in treating it. It’s no use trying to hide it when you can rather solve the problem.

And because it’s surrounded by your hair, you need to take extra measures in determining what to apply to your scalp acne.

And as I’ve said before, avoid using product with benzoyl peroxide because it can bleach your hair.

That’s why we’ve worked to provide you with different all-natural remedies that you can try at home to get rid of that scalp acne. Not only is it safe, but it’s effective.