Scalp Acne Is a Common Condition That Isn’t Talked About — Here’s What You Should Know
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- Scalp acne is often caused by clogged pores or stress.
- Salicylic acid or medicated shampoos may help address the issue.
- A dermatologist discusses how to treat scalp acne.
Acne exists in many forms, and while breakouts on or near your face are typically the focus when it comes to discussing treatment options, acne can show up on virtually any area of the body — including your scalp.
If you’ve ever experienced greasy or oily roots, you probably know that sebum on the scalp works the same way as sebum on your face. That means the pores on your head can also have product buildup, bacteria, dirt, and oil, resulting in pimples. Understanding where your scalp acne is coming from and how to treat it can be confusing, so if you’ve come across a few bumps on your scalp and don’t know what to do, we’re here to help.
We spoke to a dermatologist about a few things you should know about scalp acne, including what causes it, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
What Causes Scalp Acne?
Scalp acne is very much like acne you might get on your face or anywhere else. “Just like acne on other parts of the body, scalp acne can occur when the pores get clogged by sebum (the skin’s natural oil) and dead skin cells,” dermatologist and SEEN Hair Care founder Iris Rubin, MD, tells POPSUGAR. “Residue from your hair-care products can also clog pores.”
This type of acne can also be the product of stress, which can increase cortisol levels and result in more sebum being produced from the scalp or face. As Dr. Rubin notes, bumps on the scalp can also be caused by folliculitis, which is when the hair follicles become inflamed because of potential infection. If your acne persists, you should probably see a dermatologist to rule folliculitis out. “This may look like scalp acne, though is important to treat, as there can be associated infection,” Dr. Rubin says.
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