You are brushing your hair extremely gently because there seems to be a tender spot on your head, and suddenly you find yourself wincing when the brush so much so as even touches the scalp; how many times do you find yourself in this situation; helplessly stunned in pain all thanks to a boil on your scalp? Often, ill say. This painful frustrating condition of scalp acne is actually very common, though less common than facial or body acne, but still happens to the best of us. Knowing the mechanism of the boils, and the causes are imperative when trying to figure out a way to eliminate and prevent scalp acne. And you wont be surprised as to why it happens when you read on and find out.
Basically, just like the rest of our body, our scalp, too, has pores that produce oils/sebum which gets secreted to the surface of our scalp. And sometimes due to several reasons mentioned later, the pre-existing bacteria combines with dead skin cells and the sebum and clogs the pore forming a whitehead/blackhead. When it becomes infected due to the bacteria growing within, it starts to get inflamed due to bodily reactions hence forming a tender uncomfortable zit.
There are various reasons that this chain of events takes place leading to scalp acne, some of which are:
- Wearing a cap/hat during an exercise or a game for long hours and not rinsing the head after
- Buildup of hair gels/oils/conditioners/hair spray and other styling products
- Not washing your hair enough, especially in hot, humid weather
[Read Also:Top 5 Ways To Treat Dry Hair and Dry Scalp]
Now that we know why one develops scalp acne and what causes it, lets talk about how to get rid of these aching pimples. Once you finally eradicate all scalp acne, you will have to maintain a clean scalp and keep acne at bay by avoiding the situations mentioned above. But for now, there are simpler home remedies that you can try, there are medicated shampoos/creams/toners and then there are antifungals and antibiotics that are best prescribed by a dermatologist (although I’ll still mention them here and you can discuss them with the doctor).
A list of home remedies that are easy and effective:
- Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and lukewarm water; give your hair a final rinse with this solution after having shampooed your hair. Being an acid, apple cider vinegar clears pores, balances pH and breaks down all build up on the scalp, washing it all away leaving a squeaky clean scalp that gives no reason for a boil to develop.
- Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in olive oil, or better yet, mix a drop of tea tree oil per ounce of shampoo and gently but thoroughly massage the scalp whether in oil base or in shampoo base. Tea tree oil is naturally antiseptic and antifungal and can aid in unblocking pores as well as combating dandruff, which can also be a cause for blockage in the first place. Plus, it soothes the redness and tenderness quite quickly.
- Make a paste of 3 tablespoons of honey with a tablespoon of crushed cinnamon, dab it on the affected area and wash off after a good fifteen minutes. Honey has anti-microbial properties while cinnamon is anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant and collectively, they inhibit growth of bacteria and reduce the redness and pain.
- Crush a clove of garlic and apply it directly to the pimple. Garlic is an antiseptic, hence it can soothe the inflammation, reduce the pain and in time eliminate the pimple altogether.
Over the counter medicated shampoos and toners:
- A dab of a toner that contains salicylic acid onto a cotton wool and applied directly on the zit can also reduce inflammation and hasten the healing of the zit.
- Dandruff shampoos containing zinc, ketoconazole and ciclopiroxcan treat various scalp issues including scalp acne and dandruff
- Medicated shampoos that contain selenium sulfide has antiseptic properties and can prove to be effective when eradicating scalp acne
Prescription drugs that you may need to discuss with a dermatologist:
- Clindamycin or erythromycin are both effective in combatting fungals on the head and eventually healing scalp acne
- Isotretinoin is a powerful drug and should only be taken after consultation, its prescription being long term with none to some side effects.
But prevention is better than cure as per se, and one must need to take good care of scalp hygiene to prevent outbreak of scalp acne. So if you currently have a painful occurrence of acne on your scalp, fight them with the aforementioned home remedies or OTC medications and from then on, work hard to keep your scalp acne-free. Try rinsing hair with a good scalp massage after every workout even if you don’t shampoo daily, which in itself is a big no-no as it strips the hair of natural oils. If you use hair products for styling, again, make it a point to always rinse it out of the hair before going to bed. Either go conditioner-free, or avoid applying conditioner on the scalp as it can cause blockage of pores leading to raw, aching pimples.
Do these, and I don’t see a single reason for you to have that terrible, painful scalp acne that prevents a good brushing of the hair!