Scalp Acne: How to Treat Pimples on Your Scalp?

Scalp acne

Acne is a skin condition in which hair follicles get choked with the dead skin cells and scalp oil. If you have oily skin, pimples, blackheads or whiteheads and scarring you have a higher risk of scalp acne.

A small and itchy bump on your scalp is a primary sign of scalp acne. Treatments, therapeutic procedures and lifestyle changes can help you get over it. Eating carbohydrates such as sugar can also help you get rid of scalp acne.

Pimples on the scalp are common in teenagers, but the hormonal imbalance can harm people in other age groups too. To know some effective scalp acne treatments, you should know the causes first.

What are the Causes of Scalp Acne?

Genes are the primary causes of acne in most of the cases. But there lie many other underlying factors of this condition. They are:

  • Friction or pressure from cap or helmet
  • Hot or humid conditions
  • Hormonal changes, especially at the time of adolescence and menstruation
  • Submission of certain oils and chemicals
  • Oily, greasy scalp
  • Hair products like hair oils, conditioners and gel, they can block the pores
  • Environmental factors such as pollution
  • Infections
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Certain Drugs- corticosteroids, lithium, estrogen or androgen containing medications
  • Excessive growth of bacterium
  • Smoking
  • Severity of acne is inconclusive
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unwashed oily hair

To your surprise, the fact here is that nuts, chocolates, and fatty foods do not cause acne. Sunlight and cleanliness have no relevance with acne or a pimple on the scalp.

Related Reading: How to Treat Ringworm on Scalp (Tinea Capitis)?

Symptoms Associated with Scalp Acne

Pimples on scalpThe hair on the scalp may not make a pimple to be seen easily.  But some symptoms are readily noticeable. Here are the following symptoms commonly found in the scalp acne:

  • Inflammation and itching of the scalp
  • Red bumps on scalp
  • Scarring or bald patches if left untreated for long
  • Crusting and oozing
  • Mild scalp acne on the face especially forehead
  • Small itchy pustules
  • Infection of the hair follicle, leading to folliculitis.
  • A pimple on scalp is non-infectious form of scalp folliculitis
  • Acne keloid is mostly seen around the hairline at the back of the scalp as a thick band
  • Pomade acne is frequent amongst people who are more exposed to oily hair care products. Areas around the hairline, forehead, and temples are prone to pomade acne
  • Pain while combing or brushing your hair

Acne necrotica is more severe and the rarest form of scalp folliculitis. It is as tiny as the superficial pustules. Apart from affecting the scalp, it may also affect your face and other parts of the body.

Scalp Acne Treatment

The key to getting rid of scalp acne is to block your pores from clogging.

It’s important to keep your scalp clean. But only after you ensure that the shampoo or conditioner you are using will not harm your scalp. Here are the following tips you may follow to get rid of pimples on your scalp:

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is highly recommended home remedy for treating scalp acne. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, aesthetic, and anti-bacterial properties.

Besides soothing out itchiness and redness, it also promotes healing. Aloe vera helps in maintaining the ph balance of the scalp.

  • Take aloe vera leaf and cut it off
  • Then slowly remove the gel from it
  • Apply that gel gently on the affected area at least twice a day


  • You may also mix ½ cup of aloe vera gel and ½ of a lemon
  • Apply it on the affected area
  • Wait for 30 minutes
  • Wash it off with lukewarm water
  • Repeat this process once a day

2. Tomato Juice

Tomato Juice is the universally known as one of the best sources of salicylic acid. Consumption of tomato juice will promote the growth of new healthy cells.

It helps in keeping your skin in better condition. This remedy for scalp acne also helps you to keep your face soft, blemish-free, and glowing.

  • You can apply fresh tomato juice on your scalp.
  • Then rinse off your hair after 10 minutes.
  • Repeat this process daily once a day.

Another option is to:

  • Prepare a mixture of one tablespoon of tomato juice,
  • ½ teaspoon of raw honey and few drops of lemon
  • Dip a cotton ball in it
  • Apply it to the affected area
  • Rinse it off with warm water after five minutes
  • Use this process once daily

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of best home remedy to get rid of a pimple on the scalp. It will prevent the oily scalp that may clog up the pore resulting in acne.

Apple cider vinegar helps maintain skin’s pH balance. Balanced pH levels prevent your skin from germs, pollution, and bacteria.

  • Mix apple cider vinegar with lukewarm water.
  • Wash your hair with this solution.
  • Wait for six to seven minutes
  • Wash your hair with the clean water.
  • Repeat this process every time you shampoo

Use diluted, raw, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar on your hair to get best results.

Related Reading: 12 Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar and How to Use Them

4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a useful remedy for the scalp and hair related issues. It may kill the bacteria and heal the redness and itchiness.

  • Mix five drops of tea tree oil with three tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
  • Apply with a gentle massage on your scalp
  • Rinse off your hair after two hours.

Alternatively, you may use this tea tree oil with your regular shampoo. Make sure you should keep shampoo for a while in your hair before washing them.

To know if you are allergic to tea tree oil perform the patch test before using it.

Related Reading: 10 Essential Oils for Cough or Cold and How to Use them

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is yet another natural ingredient used for the treatment of scalp acne. It is rich in anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It prevents pain and scars.

  • Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder with ¼ to ½ teaspoons of extra virgin oil
  • Make a paste
  • Apply gently on the affected area
  • Wash it off after one hour
  • Use this process once daily

You may take 450-mg curcumin medicines twice a day, but before that, you will have to consult the doctor.

Related Reading: Turmeric Ginger Tea: Benefits, Nutrition, and Recipes

6. Indian Lilac

Indian lilac is none other than neem leaves. With its incredible healing and soothing properties, it will be a handy treatment for scalp acne. It is very helpful in preventing skin problems.

  • Boil neem leaves in two cups of water for 10 minutes.
  • Then grind them and form a paste
  • Apply the mix gently to the affected area
  • Leave it for 30 minutes
  • Then wash your hair with water in which the neem leaves were boiled.
  • Rinse your hair with clean water.

Alternatively, you can:

  • Mix one teaspoon of extra-virgin coconut oil with five drops of neem oil
  • Massage it directly into your scalp
  • Leave it on for the whole night.
  • Wash your hair next morning with the regular shampoo or neem based shampoo.

Mentioned above is the best remedy that one could ever do to prevent scalp acne. These resources are safe and natural, so there will be no side effects of it.

However you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience severe symptoms of scalp acne. Don’t go for the medication until your doctor has prescribed them for you.

How to Prevent Scalp Acne?

Preventing scalp acne is an easy task if you are willing to make a few changes to your lifestyle. For instance, avoid products that dry out your scalp.  Some of the products include clay, hair sprays, waxes containing chemicals and harmful ingredients.

In case you get scalp acne you should identify the primary causes.  The things that can increase the chances of scalp acne are as follows:

  • Selection of the wrong shampoo
  • Regular coloring your hair
  • Deep cleansers
  • Hot water for cleansing

You just have to resist sweat on your scalp to get rid of scalp acne. If you do sweat, then make sure to dry it out as soon as possible. Wash your hair after every activity that leads to sweat generation.

To prevent scalp acne you should take proper care of your scalp. Follow the mentioned tips and remedies correctly for the best results.

If you face any other problem, then take advise of a specialist as soon as possible. Also avoid taking medicines, unless and until prescribed.

Read Next:

“How to Get Rid of Scalp Acne,” Top 10 Home Remedies web site,, last accessed Dec 09, 2017.
Silver, N., & Yuen, C., “Pimple on Scalp: How It Happens and How to Treat It,” Healthline web site, February 13, 2017;
Alison, “Scalp Acne Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Pimples on Head,” Health Hype web site;, , last accessed Dec 09, 2017.

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