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How to Treat Scalp Pimples

Updated on November 12, 2013

Hair Follicle

What Causes Scalp Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people in their teens and older years. It may surprise someone if they develop acne on their scalp as its not something immediately noticeable. Scalp acne is not different from the rest of the acne that can develop on your body. Your scalp is a part of your skin but is more unique due to the high density of hair follicles and glands that naturally produce oil.

A normal hair follicle has a small sebaceous gland underneath it that produces sebum (oil). Sebum has an important function of keeping the hair in good condition and keeping the scalp lubricated. When the hair follicles of your skin are blocked or clogged up by dead skin this doesn’t allow the sebum to be released into the scalp. The blockage inevitably results in bacteria infecting in the follicle cause scalp pimples to develop.

Can Diet Affect Your Scalp Health?

There are other factors that can influence the overproduction of sebum in the sebaceous glands such as diet.

While many people still think eating chocolate will cause them to grow pimples studies have shown this is not true. In fact, according the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics there is evidence that foods with a high glycemic loads and dairy products can increase the chance of developing acne. Glycemic load is the impact the food will have on your blood sugar level. The foods that have high glycemic loads are white rice, white potatoes, sodas, very sugary snacks, etc. For your overall health it is much better to eat the healthier alternatives such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, natural juices, fruits, and vegetables.

Neutrogena T-Gel

Best Treatment for Your Scalp

Not using the right hair products for your scalp can lead to your scalp being too oily. While most people think of shampoo to be used just for their hair it's important to keep in mind that it has an effect on your scalp as well. If you use oily products there is a chance that it can contribute to scalp pimples developing so next time you purchase a hair product see if it contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps to remove excess dead skin cells and unclog your pores. One recommended shampoo to use is Neutrogena T/Gel, it contains salicylic acid as well as coal tar extract and zinc pyrithione.

Keeping good hygiene, lowering your stress, and eating right can help to prevent scalp pimples from occurring, but for serious conditions medication may be needed. Your doctor or dermatologist can prescribe medication if they feel the symptoms require it. More severe forms of acne may require oral medication to help reduce bacteria. Overtime while your symptoms lessen you may need to use oral medication and a topical cream or lotion. The topical treatments work by preventing skin cells from clogging the hair follicles.

Most common acne medications that are prescribed are:

Oral Medications - Amoxicillin, Tetracycline, and Minocycline

Topical Treatments - Retinoic Cream/Gel, Azelaic Acid, Resorcinol

For women that are pregnant or using birth control its vital to follow your doctor’s or medical professional’s instructions.

Do You Know Your Scalp?

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