You might think that having acne on the scalp is much better than having the dreaded skin problem on the face. However, scalp acne can come with its own set of drawbacks. For one, it can be very painful — just imagine snagging those inflamed bumps with your comb or brush while styling your hair! Also, acne situated on the scalp that is left untreated may actually lead to scarring and bald patches, which is definitely bad for your crowning glory!
Since acne tends to run in families, you may be at risk of having scalp acne if a relative of yours is suffering from it. But fret not — just because you have it lurking in your genes doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no choice but to live with scalp acne for the rest of your life. Later on in this article, you will learn some of the things that may be done to prevent the problem. But before those helpful tips, let’s learn some really important matters about scalp acne.
Causes and Contributors
Just like with acne elsewhere on the body, acne on the scalp is caused by the same thing — blocked and inflamed hair follicles. You see, every hair follicle serves as a passageway for sebum produced by the sebaceous gland. Sebum is important for the lubrication of both skin and hair. There are times when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, which may end up trapped inside hair follicles due to blocked skin pores. Sebum that fails to escape skin pores produce a bump which may erupt and lead to an infection, causing acne.
Sometimes scalp acne is brought about by the use of hair care products that contain harsh chemicals, leaving the pores on the scalp irritated. Usually, the use of hair styling aids that are too thick may also clog up the pores.
Experts say that there are numerous contributors to the development of scalp acne. They do not directly cause acne, but they serve as triggers in its formation. Some of the known contributors of acne on the scalp (as well as elsewhere on your body) include environmental toxins, stress, and hormonal imbalance. The intake of drugs which contain hormones or cause changes in hormone levels can also trigger scalp acne.
Signs and Symptoms
Just like acne situated on the face, back, chest and other areas of the body, acne on the scalp is characterized by the formation of red and inflamed bumps. The said bumps can be painful especially when touched. What’s more, they can be itchy. Scratching is a no-no as it can wound the skin, potentially causing further problems.
Some acne on the scalp may be visible especially if they are near the hairline or in the area where you part your hair. The bumps on your scalp may also crust and form ooze, and your hair may look matted.
It is very much possible for you to end up with scars on your scalp as well as bald spots if acne is left untreated, most especially if the skin condition is the severe kind. Experts say that scalp acne may lead to what’s known as scalp folliculitis, which is actually a bigger problem than acne itself.
Treatment and Prevention
It can be extra challenging to treat scalp acne because of all the hair that’s in the way. Acne on any other part of the body may be treated with benzoyl peroxide, but it using it for scalp acne may leave the hair bleached. The application of salicylic acid on trouble spots can speed up the drying and healing of acne.
You can benefit tremendously from dodging hair styling products that are greasy if you are prone to having scalp acne. That’s because they can cause blockage of the pores, potentially leading to acne formation. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to stay away from any hair product that contains irritating ingredients.
Remember to wash your hair and scalp immediately after exercising or engaging in any physical activity that causes you to sweat to keep the pores on the scalp from getting blocked and infected. Consider using medicated shampoo that contains zinc or selenium sulfide. If you want, you may add a few drops of tea tree oil on your favorite mild shampoo.