How to Treat Scalp Acne in 2024

Although treating scalp acne can be difficult, you can have a clear, healthy scalp by using the right information and treatment techniques. This guide will explain what scalp acne is, how to treat it effectively, its causes, symptoms, prevention techniques, types, and how distinguish it from Folliculitis Decalvans.

1. What is Scalp Acne?

The condition commonly referred to as scalp folliculitis or scalp acne is typified by inflammation of the hair follicles on the scalp. It frequently manifests as tiny, red pimples or bumps that may itch or feel sensitive to the touch. Numerous things can cause scalp acne, such as excessive oil production, dead skin cell accumulation, bacterial or fungal infections, hormonal imbalances, and even specific hair products or styling techniques.

Poor hygiene, wearing hats or helmets, and sweating are some of the factors that can make the condition worse. While severe or persistent cases of scalp acne may clear up on their own, others may need medical intervention, such as topical or oral medications to control bacterial or fungal growth, reduce inflammation, and relieve symptoms. Additionally, you can prevent and manage scalp acne outbreaks by maintaining a clean scalp, using gentle products, and adopting proper hair care practices.

2. Treatment for Scalp Acne

In most cases, at-home care is combined with medical interventions in more severe cases to treat scalp acne.

Salicylic acid: This is a typical Trusted Source component seen in acne-fighting skin care products. Salicylic acid breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells to help exfoliate the skin.

Glycolic acid: This acid can aid in scalp exfoliation and help get rid of bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells.

Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole is an antifungal medication used to treat red or scaly skin.

Ciclopirox: Often included in dandruff shampoos, ciclopirox is an antifungal agent used to treat skin infections.

Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial component, aids in the removal of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, which may be the cause of scalp acne.

3. What Causes Scalp Acne?

Numerous factors can cause scalp folliculitis, also known as acne on the scalp. The scalp’s oily glands’ overproduction of oil, or sebum, is one of the main causes. This extra oil may block hair follicles, which can encourage the growth of bacteria or fungi and cause inflammation and lesions that resemble acne.

Acne can also be caused by dead skin cells building up on the scalp, which can clog hair follicles and exacerbate the condition. Bacterial and fungal infections, like Malassezia or Staphylococcus aureus, can be major contributors to the development of scalp acne. Hormonal changes can lead to increased oil production and an increased risk of scalp acne, especially during puberty or in conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Excessive sweating, wearing hats or helmets for extended periods of time, and using harsh chemical-containing hair care products are examples of external factors that can aggravate the scalp and exacerbate acne. Other risk factors include sharing contaminated hair tools or accessories, not washing your hair often, and poor hygiene.

4. Symptoms of Scalp Acne

According to the AAD, individuals with scalp acne may become aware of:

Bumps or Pustules: One common sign of scalp acne is the appearance of small,