Pimples on your face are bad enough, but they’re doubly annoying (and more difficult to get rid of) when they appear on your scalp and hairline. They make it painful to comb or brush your hair, and you can’t dry them up with a pimple patch. Here’s what you need to know about scalp acne and how to get rid of it for good.
Causes of scalp acne
Like face acne or body acne, the zits on your scalp form when a hair follicle gets clogged up by oil or grime. (Dermatologists call this folliculitis.) Anyone can get an occasional pimple, but you can get them more often if:
- You have oily hair
- You don’t properly rinse out your shampoo or conditioner
- You frequently dry shampoos or leave-in hair oils
- You use heavy styling products
Pimples along the hairline can be caused by the same factors, and worsened by other beauty habits:
- Your moisturizer or serum gets “trapped” along hairline by your bangs
- You have bangs or a fringe that covers most of your forehead
- You often wear a hat or helmet
The bacteria that causes folliculitis thrive in hot, humid environments like Singapore. Unfortunately, we’re rarely as vigilant about cleansing our scalp or hair than we are about our skin. And even when we cleanse or tone, our instinct is to focus on the middle of our face – sometimes forgetting the edges of our face, including our hairline.
Avoid causing further irritation
Don’t squeeze or irritate the bumps – just like acne on the face, these can only lead to further infection and irritation. And if you accidentally pop that pimple with a brush, the bacteria could ooze out and spread to nearby pores. (Gross!)
Get a shampoo that can treat scalp acne
Treat forehead or hairline acne like you would any other pimple: acne facial wash and toner. For pimples that are actually on the scalp and hidden under mounds of hair, get a medicated shampoo.
Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo with Salicylic Acid
The salicylic acid calms irritated skin. Bonus: this treats both scalp acne and dandruff!
Tresemme Deep Cleanse Shampoo
Vitamin C clears out pores, while its gentle formula breaks down grime and styling gels.
PHS Hair Science ADV Purifying Scalp Cleanser
Perfect for oily scalps! It controls sebum production and relieves itchy, irritated scalps.
Organix Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
The tea tree oil help zap those zits (and we love the mint’s tingly feeling).
Kiehl’s Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
Aside from tea tree oil, this has herbal extracts like chinchona, ivy, lavender and yarrow . All of these are natural astringents that can get rid of scalp acne, fast!
Make a DIY apple cider rinse
Mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water. Use this to rinse off your shampoo (about twice or thrice a week). Apple cider is a natural astringent and can rebalance your scalp’s PH.