Dermatologist reveals what causes scalp acne and how to prevent it

Dermatologist reveals what causes scalp acne and how to prevent it

-Dr. Abhishek Pilani, MD Dermatologist, Founder- Assure Clinic

Scalpne, derived from two different words: scalp and acne, entails acne formation on the scalp or near your hairline. It is the formation of pimples on the scalp known as scalp folliculitis which is a result of inflamed hair follicles caused either by a bacterial or fungal infection. Scalpne, in some cases, is also caused by yeasts or mites.

Symptoms of scalp acne 

Some of the most common symptoms of scalp acne may include: tiny bumps along the hairline, on the forehead or even at the back of your neck, whiteheads on the scalp or hairline, and painful and closely packed bumps. The bumps, if not treated on time, can become non-healing, crusty sores. You can be prone to scalp folliculitis if you do not clean your scalp properly, keep hair tugged or tie tight ponytails for longer times, and wear hats or helmets that cause friction against your scalp. Also, several leading dermatologists suggest that people who have oily scalp are more susceptible to scalp acne. The extra sebaceous gland activity that produces oil also supports an environment that promotes bacterial growth.

How to prevent scalp acne? 

It is very important to understand how you can prevent scalp acne. The most effective tips are rather very simple and require day-to-day care of your hair. It starts with washing your hair regularly to keep the scalp clean. Over and above that, ensure that you are washing your combs, hairbrushes, hats and pillow cover intermittently. It is also recommended to stay away from oily cosmetic products that can clog your scalp’s pores. Also, avoid the regular use of heat styling tools as they can damage your hair as well as aggravate an already unhealthy scalp. Several studies also suggest that what you eat affects oil production, inflammation, and acne. Have an anti-acne diet, try limiting carbohydrate-rich foods and consume foods that are packed with vitamin A, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, antioxidants, and zinc. Keep a track of what you are eating, especially when flare- ups occur. While it does not directly cause acne, some foods such as dairy or high glycaemic index foods can trigger it.

How to treat scalp acne? 

Scalp hygiene plays an essential role to avoid clogged pores that may lead to scalp acne. To treat scalp acne and prevent further flare-ups, you may consider a dermatologically suggested medicated shampoo which will help you clean the dirt and dust and open up the hair follicles. Make sure that these over-the-counter shampoos that you are using contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, tea tree oil, glycolic acid, ketoconazole, ciclopirox, and benzoyl peroxide as they are effective in treating scalp acne.

When to see a doctor? 

If you are experiencing persistent acne that is causing hair loss, bald patches or severe pain then it is the right time to consult a doctor to seek proper treatment. In addition to this, you may talk to your dermatologist to find out the best hair care routine for your skin.

Scalp acne is treated in a similar way we treat acne on other parts of the body.

Follow your dermatologist’s recommendations and instructions while using topical medications including a daily medicated shampoo.

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