Do You Have Acne On Scalp? Know The 5 Main Causes Of Scalp Acne Breakouts

Do you get scalp on the acne? Know the root cause of this problem and take the necessary steps to prevent the condition.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Jan 27, 2020 16:12 IST
Do You Have Acne On Scalp? Know The 5 Main Causes Of Scalp Acne Breakouts

Have you ever got a pimple on the head? Pimple or acne breakouts are not limited to face but they can also occur on the scalp. Primarily, poor hair care is the root cause but there are some other reasons as well that trigger scalp acne. Sometimes there is only a couple of acne while sometimes they are scattered throughout the head along with pus and pain. As in pimples elsewhere, scalp acne occurs when a hair follicle or hair follicle sticks to sebum or dead skin cells, which is the natural skin oil that maintains moisture. Bacteria and yeast can enter these pores and cause an allergic reaction in the form of acne breakouts.

Specific bacteria that can cause severe scalp acne are:

  • Fungal infection
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Demodex folliculorum

5 Main Causes Of scalp acne

Dirty Scalp

First and foremost, the unclean scalp is the root cause of many hair problems including scalp acne. When they are dirty and greasy, it makes room for contaminants to house on the scalp which triggers breakouts. You must clean your hair as they get dirty to avoid germ and bacteria buildup. People with oily scalp need to pay extra attention.

dirty scalp

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Hormonal Imbalance

Imbalance of hormones in the body brings many unfavorable health changes, acne on the scalp could be one of them. Pimples on the face are also a sign of hormonal imbalance. You must get yourself tested with a dermatologist to prevent this situation.


PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a disease that is caused due to hormonal fluctuations in the female body. It causes an increase in androgen levels which thus forces an increase in sebum production and oil secretion.

Women who take oral contraceptive pills may also get scalp acne as these pills are androgenic in nature.

scalp acne

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Folliculitis is a skin problem that has a similar appearance as a pimple but these occur in clusters with itchy and small spots. This condition is caused due to fungal and bacterial infections. Along with cleansing(shampooing), you must also exfoliate the scalp to prevent bacteria and yeast buildup.

Product Build-Up

Not just cleaning but a thorough cleaning is important. By this, we mean that you must wash your hair properly to avoid and product residue. Product remnants may cause infection which thus triggers acne. Dermatologists emphasize the importance of washing off hair properly to avoid product buildup. Also, you should not use dry shampoo often as this gets accumulated on the scalp.

scalp acne treatment

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Tips to prevent scalp acne

  • Scalp hygiene plays an essential role in avoiding crusted pores. Whenever your hair gets oily or in times of excessive sweating, you must shampoo your hair to clean them.
  • Use only herbal and hypoallergenic hair products
  • Avoid unnecessary regular use of products such as hair gels and sprays.
  • Eat clean and foods that are rich in Vitamins A, D and E.

Keeping your hair clean is important for hair health but sometimes over-washing them also causes scalp acne. In such a case, you must consult your dermatologist for the right solution.

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