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How to deal with scalp acne

Cover Media logo Cover Media 23-03-2019
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Acne doesn’t discriminate — especially when it comes to where it decides to set up camp. The bumps can park on your face, appearing on your chin or cheeks. Or, they can pop up on other parts of your body — including your scalp.

Even though it's covered in hair follicles, the scalp is actual skin. Just like your face, it can be prone to dryness, scabbing, scarring, and "scalp acne”, also known as folliculitis, an inflammatory skin condition that affects your hair follicles usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. 

“Folliculitis initially starts as small red bumps that look similar to an acne breakout,” Dr. Ross Perry, Medical Director of CosmedicsUK, tells us. “Over time it may spread to other follicles and the bumps may get larger and more inflamed. For some it can appear as groups of small red bumps like normal spots, some with white heads on them.

“Quite often the area can be sore, itchy and painful to the touch. There can be a number of causes for folliculitis such as dead skin cells or oil clogging the pores, build-up of hair products, not washing the hair properly, wearing a hat for prolonged periods of time without allowing the hair follicles to breathe, having acne, shaving your head and taking certain medications.”

How to treat it

“Cortisone cream can help to soothe the inflammation and tenderness,” says Dr. Perry. “Wash any items which have come into contact with the affected part of your scalp.”

It’s also important to wash your hair regularly to remove buildup from your scalp.

Clear clogged follicles

Cleansers that contain tea tree oil are also great for clearing clogged follicles.

“Try using an anti-dandruff shampoo which contain antifungal ingredients or tea tree oil,” advises Dr. Perry. “If your scalp folliculitis is located along your hairline, gently wash the skin twice daily with antibacterial soap and dry the area with a clean towel.”

Avoid drying out the scalp

Hydrosil, a natural, sulphate free shampoo perfect for dry, sensitive and acne-prone scalps, contains scalp-conditioning honey and the extract of a Sri Lankan vine known for its anti-dryness and anti-itching actions. Soothe a dry scalp with Balmond's Scalp Oil, which contains rich Borage seed oil, tea tree and rosemary, as well as nutrient-rich ingredients to keep the scalp in clean, healthy and well-nourished condition.

Try an apple cider vinegar rinse

Add a product with apple cider vinegar to your rotation, because of its helpful anti-inflammatory properties. Apple cider vinegar can help balance the pH levels of the scalp. Try R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse. If you decide to DIY an ACV rinse, ensure you dilute the pure vinegar with plenty of water if you're treating mild acne, and alternate with shampoo.

Related: Scalp Acne Is Real — & Here's What To Do About It (Provided by refinery29)

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