Acne on the scalp…? Delightful!
But, did you know it could also be folliculitis?
Folliculitis is an infection/inflammation of the actual hair follicles caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. However, both scalp acne and folliculitis present very similarly, so are easy to confuse.
In the case of folliculitis, these spots tend to be itchy, quite small and appear in clusters. Scalp acne is where the spots are scattered all over the scalp and are typically larger.
In scalp acne, spots may appear as whiteheads, blackheads, as postules/papules, or even cystic which can be uncomfortable. Sometimes, when severe, the pimples can become crusty and sore.
If your scalp acne is presenting as cystic (lumps under the skin), is persistent, your scalp is covered in them and/or they are developing blackened crusts, speak to your doctor, otherwise you may run the risk of permanent scarring.
If you have spots around the hairline, this may be regular facial acne, particularly if you already suffer with the condition.
But, what are the scalp acne causes? Why is it happening? Does scalp acne cause hair loss? And, how can you get rid of scalp acne for good?
Regardless of where your skin is on your body: it’s skin! That means spots can turn up everywhere… Including the skin on your head! Scalp acne usually occurs when the hair follicles become blocked with oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. They then become infected, and thus spots occur.
Our scalp is covered in oil glands, so scalp acne can be common. However scalp acne causes and things that can make the condition worse include:
-Excess oil production during your menstruation cycle
-Oil heavy hair products that are causing build-up
-Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
-Some contraceptive pills
-Not washing your hair enough
-Eating too much dairy
If you suspect it’s hormonal, PCOS, or contraceptive issues, it may be worth raising with your doctor or dermatologist, as over-the-counter solutions might not be helpful. If you suspect clogged pores though, it’s time to start upping your scalp care routine…
If you think product build up and blocked pores are contributing to your scalp acne, it’s time to upgrade what you wash your hair with and how often you wash it too. This is the main way to help alleviate the spotty situation you've got going on…
You want to get your hands on a sulphate-free shampoo (sulphates are notorious for pore clogging!) that’s formulated with natural, anti-inflammatory ingredients, like Cel’s Microstem Shampoo. Our shampoo uses Ginseng Stem Cell Extract to help exfoliate the hair follicle which is essential for follicle unblocking, and Saw Palmetto which works by cleansing the scalp, and in turn then leaves hair with more body and volume.
Cel Pro Tip: Don’t rely on dry shampoo either! Along with oil build-up, hairstyling products like dry shampoo can add additional clogging to the follicles. If you have spots on your scalp, dry shampoo must only be used on a temporary basis or your scalp’s pores are going to suffer and your hair’s going to go lank, limp and thin from continuous blocking. If you have to use it, make sure to wash it out at the earliest opportunity.
If you’re dealing with spots on your scalp, you should be washing your hair every two to three days until it settles and you’re on top of your cleansing regime.
Another great tip to implement is using your fingers to massage the scalp when lathering the shampoo! This will help apply some gentle pressure to the skin and aid the shifting of additional dead skin cells and product build up… It’s also very relaxing!
There isn’t a definitive relationship here, but it certainly doesn’t help with hair growth.
If hair follicles are blocked, growth can be made more difficult and if left untreated, may result in the thinning of hair. Growth rate is more affected by hormonal imbalances, but if a pore is blocked, it’s certainly going to slow down/reduce the health of the hair strand trying to grow.
If you pick the spots on your scalp however, this can cause hair loss, as scarring and hair follicle destruction can occur from your prodding and squeezing. Resist the temptation, or talk to a dermatologist first if it’s causing you distress!
Scalp acne doesn’t have to be a part of your day-to-day. If upping your washes and bettering your shampoo doesn’t work, make sure to make an appointment with the doctor or your dermatologist.