This is why you’ve been getting those itchy pimples on your scalp

Updated on:17 January 2020, 18:39pm IST
If that itchy scalp is constantly bothering you, chances are that it might be a case of scalp acne. Yes, such a thing exists!
Dr Kiran Sethi
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Going crazy scratching your head? Stop doing it RN! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Have you ever had one of those days where you run your fingers through perfectly blow-dried hair, only to feel troublesome bumps on your scalp? While they are barely visible, this scalp acne isn’t just something you can ignore–it’s the same as the annoying, red zits that pop up on your face before every important occasion. And they need as much attention too.

We all know what pimples look like. And to understand scalp acne, all you need to do is imagine those around underneath your hair. To understand how to treat them, let’s get to the root cause (literally) of how they occur.

You’re always on the move
It usually occurs due to inflammation of the hair follicles, thanks to pollution, bacteria or fungal infections.

Also, read: Pollution is causing your hair to fall out! Here’s how to keep your tresses luscious and strong

These aren’t to be confused with scalp dermatitis, which happens due to overactive sebum on the scalp, or cysts that are filled with keratin (hair protein) and are relatively harmless.

You’ve got a case of dandruff
Most people also associate the occurrence of scalp acne with dandruff. While this might be an old wives’ tale, it sometimes stands true.

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This is because those with dandruff tend to have overactive oil glands that product more sebum, making them prone to acne breakouts.

Also, read: My #momsays and science proves: Use lemon juice to get rid of dandruff

Your lifestyle needs fixing
Just like facial acne, scalp acne can also pop up due to stress, hormonal imbalances and an unhealthy diet. To prevent and treat it, make sure you keep all these parameters under control.

You’re using the wrong hair products
Oil-based products like heavy pomades can clog the pores and oil glands, causing a case of scalp acne.

hair wash
Just the right shampoo will make a difference. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Make sure you’re using lightweight washing and styling products if you notice bumps on your scalp.

Also, read: Your hair needs a detox too! Here are 6 expert-backed home remedies to detoxify your scalp & mane

Your hair is super oily
Those with oilier hair are more prone to scalp acne because of the overproduction of sebum from the oil glands. This is because the sebum also facilitates growth for bacteria that cause scalp acne.

While scalp acne usually goes away on its own if you fix your lifestyle and use the right hair products, bear in mind that picking, squeezing and popping scalp pimples is a terrible idea.

This can cause the infection or bacteria to spread deeper into the hair follicles, leading to scarring of skin and even hair loss. The best thing to do is keep your hands off!

Alternatively, you try an in-clinic treatment like a haircial, which is essentially a facial for your scalp that is designed to infuse vitamins and pollution eradicating actives into your scalp. The result is a hydrated, clarified scalp that is free of grease, grime and other pollutants.

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You can also follow Dr Kiran Sethi at @DrKiranSays on Instagram and YouTube

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Dr Kiran Sethi Dr Kiran Sethi

A widely renowned skin and cosmetic specialist in Delhi, she is a Columbia University graduate with an MD from the USA. She further studied in the UK and has a Masters in Dermatology Skills and Treatments and a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dermatology and is also a Diplomate in Cosmetic Science She is additionally American Board Certified with further certificates in Aesthetic Medicine, Cosmetic Lasers and Laser Surgery, and a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Society of Dermatology, American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, European Society of Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dermatology, International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology and IADVL among others.